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 up river 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 half way
down where some people stop to enjoy a packed lunch, or a little further
down river, there is a small "back-door barbeque " where
hamburgers and hotdogs are served, or paddle up a creek to swim in the
warmer creek 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 time. They can
be purchased at the raft rental, along with water, ice, cameras, sun
glasses, sun screen and soft drinks.
For almost 3 decades Dennis and Carolee
Enriquez, along with their family 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 their youngest son, Devon Stephenson along with his daughter, Ciara.
Although they kept the name of Rapid Pleasure they relocated to the
Rogue Rafting location which is right outside the park where the rafters
finish their trip. "This is a big advantage because you don't have
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 up
river. The 10-mile trip has about 23 class 1 - 2 rapids, making it one
of the most popular sections of the river.
Leaving Las Vegas in 1980 was the
beginning of a very different life for Dennis, Carolee and their 3 sons.
After opening a Mexican restaurant they leased the back part out to a
rafting outfit. "The next year we ran that business along with the
restaurant. After five years at that location, just below Rogue Elk
Park, we relocated the raft rental to Shady Cove, where we remained for
about 20-years until somebody wanted to buy the property, but not the
business. "We talked to our son, Devon, about merging the two
businesses and we agreed it would be beneficial to all. Devon had been
running Rogue Rafting Company for 12 years now and we have almost 30
years doing the same thing. By merging, it gives us all a breather. This
is truly a family business. With 3 sons and a daughter, along with
Devon's daughter Ciara, we have enjoyed working together and making this
a fun, family business." In the winter, Dennis and Carolee go to
Arizona; Devon has been known to work in Hawaii, go to Cabo or head back
down to Vegas, his old home town; Ciara starts college this year and
they will all chill until next May.
Not a bad life!!