I’ve logged maybe 50 river miles to date, if miles count for the girl without oars or a paddle; the girl who sits on the front of the raft with a beer, working on her tan. I’m the girl who ensures the beer cooler stays full and cold, the one who makes note that it’s strapped on in an easily accessible manner. Pulling over to shore each time a member of the crew is empty would surely put a damper in the adventure.
My experience with rafting consists of several trips down the lazy John Day river in Oregon (a yearly, overnight adventure complete with guitars and pancakes), and a wild and scenic adventure on the Snake River in Hell’s Canyon last summer. That adventure was a three-day trip with four boats, two people on each, and more gear (and beer coolers) than necessary. My boat was manned by a rookie and myself, so the Class IV rapids were extra fun, considering the life threatening circumstances of sending two know-nothings down a river with holes large enough to sink much larger boats. We came out alive, sober and well, of course, with nice tans.
But all that’s about to change.
I’ve signed up to take a raft guide training course with A1 Wildwater in Fort Collins, where I live and study now. Assuming I don’t completely f*** up between my one week of study and logging the 50 river hours required by the state of Colorado to be a guide, I’ll have a job when I finish. This means the cooler will have to stay behind, for the clients on the boat are trusting me not to flip it over, or to wrap it around a bridge or a rock (if I do that I’m probably out of a job, and a tip). I’m still hoping to get a tan out of the deal, but I’ll be rafting down the Cache la Poudre in the scenic Poudre Canyon, where the water is straight snow melt, so the wet suit I plan to wear might ruin that idea completely.
Not only will I need to learn how to read the water and to pack and unpack boats and equipment, but I’ll need to become certified in first aid and CPR, just in case. We do only half-day and one-day trips, so I’m hoping not to need these life saving skills, but it’s always good to be prepared. And since the Rockies had quite a bit of snow last winter (and are continuing to get it), the river will be flowing quite rapidly. But I’m up for the challenge. In fact, I’m really looking forward to it. Plus, if I do crash the boat, I promise to still be the girl who knows where the beer is at the end of the day.
So, who’s on board (after I learn how NOT to flip the boat)? Come visit Colorado!
Visit Colorado: I’m a Whitewater Raft Guide!