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Showing posts from December, 2008

A Day in the Life of a Guide

A cult classic called "Repo Man" starring Emilio Estevez (Martin Sheen's son and Charlie Sheen's brother) gave Orion's whitewater raft guides one of their best quotes ever --- "A guide's life is intense. . . and sometimes under tarps. . . " The movie quote is simply, "A repo man's life is INTENSE."
In any event, guides of all stripes are survivors. Especially the serious practitioners.
They camp in tents, in vehicles, under tarps, under the stars, behind abandoned railroad cars, in broken down company vans. They dine on what is euphemistically referred to as 'roadkill' --- leftover food from trips --- and wash it down with 'animal' beer, which is otherwise known as Schmidt's, or Schmidty's, rhymes with *****, or any beer proffered them.
River guides hump heavy objects over torturous terrain, or labor up Sahara-like sand dunes with unwieldy metal boxes, in order to set up the kitchen, the communal eating area and…

Leavenworth Wenatchee River Rafting

On a whim, I went to YouTube the other day and typed in "Leavenworth Wenatchee River Rafting". Imagine my surprise when I discovered a six-minute, produced video of a day with Orion on the Wenatchee River out of our darling faux Bavarian Village, Leavenworth.

The video was produced last summer by one of Orion's stalwart regular guests and was a delightful 'inside edition' to the nuts-and-bolts of a one day raft trip. I especially appreciated the humor, even in regards to well-tended, rental wetsuits with a limp rear patch --- there was some reference to an "escape hatch". We work very hard to stay on top of our rental gear (which isn't really rented, but comes with the package) but it is exasperating fussing with 250 wetsuits, both inside and out, to make certain of their total integrity.

The video producer is a guest whom, by memory, I only know as 'Scooter'. He calls himself on his website 'Vespa Boy'. As an organizer of day ri…

River Rafting Pastimes

No reason to be thinking about rafting with fresh snowfall on the ground in Leavenworth, except I just received an invitation to compete in a nationally-sanctioned horseshoe tournament to be held in Petaluma, California, in the spring after finishing third in my division at the World Senior Games in St. George, Utah.
I started throwing 'shoes on a Green River raft trip in the mid-80s.  The Green is a tributary of the Colorado, and this was one of those "busman's holidays" river trips where guides come together following a season of harrowing, heart-warming and hubristic experiences to . . . unwind.  Despite being an expatriate Texan living in the Northwest, I had never thrown a horseshoe in my life.  As a matter of public record, the only horse I ever rode I paid twenty dollars an hour for the privilege to do so.
I cottoned to throwing horseshoes from the outset.
Unlike slow pitch softball, you could be competitive in horseshoes with a beer in hand.  Now, I don't co…