Requiem for a Rafter: A Tribute, Ascents and Rentals | The Source Weekly - Bend, Oregon

Requiem for a Rafter: A Tribute, Ascents and Rentals

At home on the RogueFarewell Eddy

Like so many in the local outdoor community, I was saddened when Eddy Miller lost his life two weeks ago during a hike after a day of rafting on the Middle Fork of Idaho's Salmon River. Saddening because even though I wasn't a close personal friend of his, I was looking forward to getting to know him better after spending four days with him on the Rogue River in May.

During our Rogue trip, Miller lived up to his well-deserved reputation as a consummate rafter and outdoorsman. Standing, as he liked to, while rowing invoked old school rafting at its best. But he was on the river for more than just for the rowing and whitewater. Miller reveled in the natural surroundings. And after a day on the river, he proved a model of efficiency in getting the night's camp up and running smoothly.

He looked the part of the outdoorsman, his wiry, tan, well-muscled body set off by a shock of pre-mature white hair.

As the trip unfolded, he revealed his family's unique connection the Rogue. It's detailed in his grandmother's diary, a copy of which he gave me, chronicling a four-month long Miller family stay on the river in 1929. It proved a fascinating read.

A preface to the diary by a grand-daughter recalls how things got off to an inauspicious start when the family headed to their land above the river. Some went overland by pack train while others headed down river by boat.

"Dad and Charlie took the safe trip by boat with the stove, the guns, fishing rods, etc. The pack train had no trouble but the boat dumped at Russian Bar and lost the works."

The family rebounded from the loss eventually erecting a sawmill and using the lumber created by it to build a cabin high above the river at a place they dubbed, "Happy Hill."

As we drifted down the Rogue in May, Miller pointed out Happy Hill and other places that played an important part in the 1929 adventure. His joy in relating the family history on the river bore proof that it had to be in his genetic makeup to be so at home on the Rogue.

The result of having Miller along on the trip and sharing his family's history on the river made it easily one of my most enjoyable Rogue trips ever. It's one thing to float a river. It's quite another to have it and its environs brought to life through personal history.

Eddy Miller was one of those truly lucky people who became immersed in nature while young and let it become a guiding force in their life.

To The Summit; To The Roof of The World*

Apa Sherpa summitted Mount Everest for a record nineteenth time on May 21. Apa, who became an expedition porter when only 12 years old, remains Nepal's best-known climber but now lives in Salt Lake City having emigrated to the U.S. in search of a better future for his family.

In a related story, Rainier Mountaineering, Inc (RMI) guide Dave Hahn summited Everest on May 23. It was his eleventh successful climb of the peak.

But wait, there's more. Another RMI Everest team led by Peter Whittaker, reached the top of Everest on May 19 . The team consisted of Ed Viesturs, Gerry Moffatt, Jake Norton, and John Griber. Viesturs is the only American to have summited all fourteen 8000-meter peaks without bottled oxygen. It was his seventh trip to the top of Everest.

* The famous line intoned by Orson Welles in his narration of the film "Americans on Everest," the story of the 1963 American expedition to the peak.

And While We're In The Himal

Last month, Swedish extreme skier Fredrik Ericsson, 34, embarked on the first leg of his dream of becoming the first person to ski the world's three highest mountains: Mount Everest, K2 and Kangchenjunga. First on his list is K2 which is considered the toughest challenge of the three.

Ericsson has already skied down Peak Somoni, Shisha Pangma, Gasherbrum 2, Laila Peak and Dhaulagiri. He will attempt Kangchenjunga (8586m) this fall and Mount Everest (8850m) in fall 2010.

Bike Rents

Well traveled Bend bike nuts take note. has expanded their bike rental service to 157 North American cities. If you go to their site, you can select a destination, plug in travel dates, note the type of bike desired, and reserve the specific model that suits your needs. RentaBike offers comfort, road, kid's, and mountain bikes as well as recumbents.

The cool thing about this service is that it allows you to skip the ship-the-bike hassle and take only your cycling shoes, helmet and riding gear along when you fly away.

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