Blue Sky was founded in 1997 by Pete Giordano and started offering rafting trips in the spring of 1998. Pete grew up camping a lot and always sought out moving water on these trips. After a few casual rafting trips (Wolf River, North Umpqua), Pete took a beginner kayak course with the Oregon State Outdoor Program and immediately fell in love with the challenge and adventure of kayaking. After a move to Colorado, Pete joined a rafting company there as the business manager.
Pete returned to Oregon in the spring of 1998 to start his own rafting company. Blue Sky Rafting started from scratch with just 2 rafts and two guides offering day trips on the Sandy and North Santiam Rivers. After petitioning the Forest Service, we received a Special Use Permit in 1999 to offer white water rafting trips on the Upper Clackamas River. Up until 1999, there were no commercial trips on the Clackamas after June. Access areas and facilities were very limited and didn’t function particularly well for some trips.
Much of our early focus was figuring out the best logistics for full day and half day trips. We eventually decided on several new access areas which allowed us to vary the trip time and length depending on water levels. After much work with the Forest Service and Portland General Electric, 3 of our access sites were improved with better parking, boat ramps and bathrooms.
Our lunch began as a deli lunch which we carried with us and setup at several different spots along the river. This was the model Pete learned in Colorado. After listening to our clients, particularly on chillier days, we eventually created a bar-b-que lunch and settled on our current spot just above Hole in the Wall Rapid.
On the river, we are always looking for new spots to play and explore. The Upper Clackamas is a dynamic river which offers high water rapids in the spring with big waves and powerful currents. Later in the summer the river is spring-fed with fun, technical rapids and crystal-clear water. Rapids change over the years and create new opportunities and challenges.