Rogue Life

Mary Papale – Rogue River Journeys

Mary Papale is an owner of Idaho River Journeys and Rogue River Journeys. She oversees their Middle Fork of the Salmon operation with her husband, Bob, and often visits the Rogue in the fall after their Idaho season has wrapped up. She winters in Point Reyes, California.

The Interview

What is your connection to the Rogue River?

I first ran the Rogue around 1983 on a private trip organized by my husband, Bob Volpert. We have had a permit on the Rogue now for many years and I have done lots of fall trips after our Idaho season.

Describe your line of work

During the river season I am based with Bob in Salmon, Idaho and help manage our Middle Fork fishing and rafting business.

How long have you been recreating or working on the Rogue?

32 years

What are your favorite qualities of the Rogue River?

I like the ferns that line the river trail, the color of the water, and the many interesting rapids.

Favorite spot on the Rogue?

My favorite place is boating through Mule Creek Canyon. It’s always different and to me is a little bit spooky!

How has the Rogue River changed your life?

Every river that I have boated has changed me. The Rogue was one of the first longer rivers that I ran and it taught me about being outdoors for an extended period of time.

Does the Rogue River have a personality?

It’s a lush river that continually changes and surprises me.

Do you have any memorable stories about the Rogue?

I recall some very intense moments on the Rogue River. Mostly from a trip I did when my eldest son was 6 months old. To get out of the rain with him, I hiked for miles along the river trail. He really enjoyed the hike and even though he was only 6 months old he never cried. I was a little nervous about running into a bear but we never saw one that day in the woods. I was very surprised by how the trail would loop so far back from the river. It took a lot longer to get to camp then I planned on. I was really glad to see our group at the end of the day.

Any last words?

I’m looking forward to my next Rogue River trip.

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