Bracing Yourself On the White Salmon River in Husum, WA
As user-friendly as a Class-IV rapids get, the White Salmon is never dull. Fed by Mount Adams' melting glaciers, this tumultuous river near the beautiful Columbia River Gorge is one of the Portland area’s most popular rafting destinations. Novices join commercial tours, while pros organize individual outings—most “put in” at BZ corner and wind through the canyon to a 10-foot drop at Husum Falls. Throughout the summer, inflatable vessels veer dangerously close to glistening boulders the size of cars, then glide through verdant forest between basalt cliffs, providing a gentle reprieve from surging adrenaline. Old-timey pulleys and remnants of other strange machinery are visible in the forest, like crawling robots frozen in time by rust and oxidized beyond recognition. The pastoral scene is occasionally broken by the unified shouting of other neoprene-clad rafters downriver, bracing for the icy dunk at the base of the waterfall and cheering when their team emerges intact.