Friday, October 7, 2011

Chetco River Journey: From headwaters to the sea

Rafting the Chetco River. Slade Sapora
Slade Sapora grew up exploring the tide pools of southwest Oregon's Wild Rivers Coast and swimming in the Chetco River.  He says he's "fascinated by the natural world we are a part of and passionate about the scientific understanding of it’s endless complexities."

At 36 Sapora may be the first person to have charted the entire length of this rugged, beautiful little Wild and Scenic River—from the Chetco's headwaters in the Kalmiopsis Wilderness to the Pacific Ocean at Brookings/Harbor.

We love his quote from the Curry Coastal Pilot's account of his journey down one of the wildest rivers in the West:
"The Kalmiopsis Wilderness, which the Chetco passes through, is a vast and rich natural area that belongs to all of us—the source of the river that gives life to the area we call home."
The full article ran in the August 02, 2011 edition of the Curry Coastal Pilot.  It's no longer available without a subscription. Go to Chetco River: From headwaters to the sea. Here are some excerpts:
Slade Sapora of Brookings stepped from his light pack raft Monday and onto a parking lot at the Port of Brookings Harbor.
He was chilly but happy after a 50-mile solo raft trip from the Chetco River headwaters.

Sapora, 36, was on the Chetco for seven days. It wasn’t an idyllic float down the river. He had to bushwhack several miles across terrain with no trail, and frequently strapped the raft to his backpack to portage spots where the river wasn’t navigable.

He had to avoid rockfall from steep canyon walls rising 2,000 feet from spots where the river was just a trickle in its most remote wilderness portions.

He even had to stare down a black bear that popped onto his path 50 feet away.

Sapora believes he might be the only person to have charted the entire length of the river, starting with a five-mile cross-country hike from Vulcan Peak to the Chetco’s headwaters at Madstone Creek.

Sapora isn’t an expert rafter. He describes himself as a wilderness junkie who simply enjoys being in beautiful natural places.

The Kalmiopsis Wilderness which the Chetco passes through is “a vast and rich natural area that belongs to all of us – the source of the river that gives life to the area we call home,” Sapora said.

He had plenty of stories and memories of lonely wilderness and starry night skies.

“I’m not a big crazy rafter,” Sapora said. “My passion is just getting out into the wilderness.”
Read the full article.

Visit Slade Sapora's blog and see some of his beautiful photos from his Chetco River: From headwaters to the sea journey.