[VIDEO] Armstrong Brothers Take on Goodwin Canyon (1999)

Posted October 18, 2021 by Jack Armstrong: grandson of founder George Armstrong
View time: 3 mins

How did it go on one of the early exploratory trips on Goodwin Canyon? Listen to All-Outdoors owner Scott Armstrong tell the story of him and his brothers taking on Goodwin in 1999. That trip helped place this unique river and canyon into our large repertoire of California river trips available to the public. This has been a wonderful addition which we and our guests enjoy each fall during the Goodwin Canyon Double Runs event.

Opportunity to Explore

About 20 years ago, back in 1999, we had an opportunity to run a section of river that we rarely ran at that time, called Goodwin Canyon. I recruited some guides, which happened to be all my brothers. We went out there and had an awesome trip. We had flips, we had swimmers but the neat thing about this river is that below each of the major rapids, there’s a big big calm at the bottom of them. When you run these intense rapids, a lot of things can happen, but you eventually end up in a big pond.

Running Haunted House Rapid

We got to Haunted House, the last really big rapid. The river narrows down and gets about 15-20 feet wide. It’s a really fun drop into a big frothy whitewater wave. You can be right there on the shore, really close to the boats when they run through the rapid. Sitting there, I had a bird’s eye view of my brothers going. The first one was Gregg – he made it, but at the end didn’t have a lot of people in his boat…everyone had swam but him. The next one was my brother Randy and he flipped. Mark was the last one to go. He ran the rapid how he was supposed to, yet… when he moved from one side of the raft to keep it flat, he ended up sailing out of the boat and took himself out right into the big wave. He had a pretty good swim but came up fine. His raft and crew ran the rapid pretty much without him.

Last Big Hurrah of the Season

Since that trip back in ‘99 we raft the Goodwin Canyon on a much more regular basis. Every fall we run it for a couple of weeks in October as a sort of the last big hurrah of the season for our guests and staff.  We’re not as rusty as we were back then because our guides are a little bit more seasoned and are guiding there regularly. While we still have a lot of action, it’s all fun action and not quite as ‘thrilling’ as that trip back in ‘99 was. These special trips still have that intimate sort of private trip feel that we had with my brothers back in ‘99 and our staff and guests have a great time out there.

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