Earlier today, the Northwest Nomad rafted the Sauk River with Triad River Tours. Short version of my experience: it was awesome. Long version: keep reading.

I wasn’t able to get any pictures on this tour because any phone or camera taken on the rafts is basically guaranteed to get destroyed. So ye, my fair readers, shall have to get by with my textual account only. I shall strive to use an inspired pen with which to charm your optical ears.

I’ve rafted Washington whitewater twice before. Both experiences were fun, but a little tame. When I read that the Sauk would be Class 3–4 and that there was some degree of legitimate danger, I assumed it was being exaggerated as a way to boost appeal. I was wrong about that.

Portions of the river were tame, and those were nice because I got to take in the beautiful scenery surrounding the river. The North Cascades are awe-inspiring mountains. I’d be tempted to say the trip would even be worth it just for the views.

Between the tame portions or river were stretches of rapids with names such as Jaws and Whirlpool. These rapids were a lot of fun and had enough wild parts that it got my adrenaline flowing. I bent forward at the front of the boat, howling like a jack ass and paddling euphorically.

Some of those in the back of the raft told me that they were slightly less thrilled. They had fun, too, but if you’re looking for the biggest rush, you want to go to the front of the raft.

Our guides were laid back, fun guys, but also professional and knowledgeable. I never doubted their expertise They shared plenty of whitewater-rating-guide insider jokes, such as this:

“What do you call a river guide without a girlfriend?”

“What?”

“Homeless.” (Badoom doom!)

The highlight for me was when we were allowed to jump out of the raft and into the water to float down a short stretch of rapids. This situation was far hairier than I expected it to be, and I swallowed a lot of the Sauk.

It was invigorating, though, and I’m sure will be my best memory.

This experience was the best whitewater rafting experience I’ve had. I definitely recommend it.

You can check out Triad here: https://triadrivertours.com/