In Loving Memory of Chris Olsen


It is with great sadness we inform you of the passing of our dear friend and long time guide, Christian Olsen.  Christian’s legacy with Helfrich Outfitters goes back to the days of Dave Helfrich.  He started working for Dave in 1961, and worked steadily through the year 2000 on almost every trip.  In 2001, when Ken purchased the Middle Fork business from his father, Chris continued to work for Helfrich River Outfitters on the Middle Fork and the Rogue through 2010.  He ran the sweep boat for 30 years and then transitioned into a drift boat in his later years.

Among his many incredible accomplishments both on and off the river, Chris boated Glenn Canyon before it was damned.  Chris also spent over forty years guiding steelhead fisherman on the Olympic Peninsula rivers during the winter.  He was a legend in the industry and famous for his many incredible stories about his life on the river.

A gifted guide and fisherman, Chris shared his talents and respect for the river with everyone he came in contact with.  He was a kind soul who loved what he did and the people he met along the way.  We are so honored to have had him as a part of the Helfrich Family and his memory will live on in our hearts forever.



The Flower Power of the Middle Fork in June

Spring time comes a little later up in the Frank Church Wilderness, making June the ideal time for flower children.  During this time of year, you can spot blooms of many different species of wild flowers, such as syringa, camas, arrow-leaf balsam root, elephant head, indian paint brush, and many others.
Syringa is often referred to as “false orange” because of it’s strong fragrance that smells like citrus blossoms and permeates the entire river corridor.  Camas lilies were once an important staple of both the indigenous peoples and early settlers of the region, with many reporting the root to have a flavor similar to sweet potato when cooked.  Indian paint brush and arrow-leaf balsam root are almost impossible to miss, carpeting meadows with flashes of color and texture.
Because of the lush greenery and flora during this season, it is not uncommon to witness incredible sightings of wildlife and migratory birds, such as the brightly yellow and red colored Western Tananger.  You can often find them flying in contrast to the majestic and cascading water falls that run at their fullest at the beginning of the season.
Whether you are rafting, hiking, fishing, or just taking in the sights, June is a great time to feast your eyes on the incredible colors and scenery that come with the springtime bloom.  Don’t forget to pack your camera and grab some once in a lifetime shots!
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