Since 1982, the summer weekends have been pretty crazy for the folks at Rapid Pleasure Rafting Company. They load people into the vans with the rafting gear on trailers and drive approximately 10-miles upriver to the fish hatchery, located just below Lost Creek Dam. After getting everyone settled in the rafts, along with basic instructions, the white water cowboys are on their own for the 3-3 1/2 hour trip down the beautiful Upper Rogue River, complete with an abundance of wildlife, and lots of fishermen trying to hook that big salmon! Stops along the way include a park about halfway down where some people stop to enjoy a packed lunch, or a little further downriver, there is a small “back-door barbeque ” where hamburgers and hotdogs are served, or paddle up a creek to swim in the warmer water. (The river temperature varies from about 46 degrees in the spring to 56 degrees in the summer months. The creek water is usually about 10 degrees warmer.) Water fights abound on the river, so an ambush could happen around any corner. Although we try to provide water guns with the rental, we do run out during our busy times. They can be purchased at the raft rental, along with water, ice, cameras, sunglasses, sunscreen, water shoes, beer, and soft drinks.
For 4 decades Dennis and Carolee Enriquez, along with their son, Devon Stephenson, have operated Rapid Pleasure, the oldest of the 5 rafting companies in the Shady Cove area. In 2006, they merged Rapid Pleasure with Rogue Rafting, which was owned and operated by Devon along with his daughter, Ciara. “The big advantage is not having to wait for a pick-up: you just leave the gear and walk out of the park and we are right across the street.”
“I love being in this business because everyone is laughing, smiling and having a good time, states Dennis Enriquez. “We advertise this as a do-it-yourself, family fun section, a little adrenaline rush without getting you in trouble. It’s like driving a car, you have to look where you’re going, don’t get too close to the river bank where trees and low hanging branches could scrape you. We can point out sections of the river from the van and give special instructions during the 15-minute ride upriver. The 11-mile trip has about 23 class 1 – 2 rapids, making it one of the most popular sections of the river.
Not a bad life!!