Hellgate Jetboat Excursion On The Rogue River In Oregon

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With only a few weeks remaining before leaving Oregon to head south before the snow flies, we nearly managed to miss squeezing in the Hellgate Jetboat Dinner Adventure before the end of their 2010 season. Fortunately, we were able to book a dinner cruise 6 days before they closed for the year. And while the weather was absolutely gorgeous the day of our trip, it rained for 4 of those final 6 days – so we were really appreciative that our timing was so great!

We had heard fabulous reviews of both the adventure as well as the food, and Hellgate’s reputation lived up to everything we were told and more. We arrived early to get a good spot in line, because seating is on a first come, first served basis and we wanted an end seat and had no problems with our pick of which row.

Our driver was a most excellent tour guide, knowledgeable and informative without boring us to tears (as is too often the case for me when partaking in a formalize tour.) Balancing a great sense of humor he had everyone on the boat laughing, marveling at the wildlife and anticipating the antics promised for the ride home.

We saw a bald eagle, blue heron, a beaver dam, deer, and beautiful scenery and landscaping along the way as our boat drifted courteously past fishermen and then sped up in the remote areas of the river. And while the tour had an agenda, it also was flexible enough to accommodate stopping for something unexpected so we didn’t miss out. Once such instance was a fisherman who was pulling out a gorgeous salmon nearly half his size and held it up for us all to snap photos.

Now, Marina, Morgan and I thought that the highlight of the trip was going to be the fabulous food, served family style at the O.K. Corral; but what we weren’t expecting was the awe-inspiring trip into the Rogue Hellgate Canyon itself. The majestic rock formations and the rapids that were quickly picking up speed was breathtaking. And suddenly the anticipation of dinner was put on hold for a greater moment in time. Taking in the beauty of it all held the entire boat of 50+ observers speechless at the wonder of it all.

When we had traversed as far as permissible given the tides, we turned around and just outside of the canyon returned to the dock at the base of the O.K. Corral where our dinner was waiting. And what a feast it was! After a fun hay wagon ride to the top (some people walked, but I’d reserve that for the athletes and those far more fit than I) we were greeted by a well-trained staff, prepared to cater to our every need and make sure that no one walked away hungry.

We began with a relish tray, followed by honey-mustard dressed salad, corn bread, dinner rolls and country biscuits. And then the platters of BBQ chicken and ribs started circulating along with the veggies and potatoes – it was a feast fit for a king and with 3 boats having arrived simultaneously, over 150 guests were served in unison like a well orchestrated show. And no Oregon meal would be complete as we have come to learn, without the Marion Berry Cobbler! What a feast and the quality was outstanding!

But perhaps the best treat of all was the open air lodge overlooking the grassy green fields as the deer descended for their nightly trek and put the crowning touch on it all!

Then, after dinner the rest of the fun began as we sped back home with extra emphasis on the 360 turns in the water and the “wing man” of the other boat playing tag back and forth along the way.

We’ve had a huge number of summer memories and this one with Hellgate Jetboat Excursions will be right at the top of the list as the most fun-filled of them all!

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We went full-time in 2008 in a 37ft Itasca Suncruiser and in April 2010, we upgraded to a 42ft Safari Continental which Greg drives and I now follow behind in an Excursion, towing a 20ft cargo trailer with our ATV & golf cart tucked inside. (More About Us...)
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