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Showing posts from 2014

The American Rafting Association

By my estimation, I have trained over 600 river rafting guides in my lifetime.  A majority of them under the auspices of my rafting company, Orion Expeditions, Inc., informally known these days for search engine purposes as Orion River Rafting.

I have a very clear idea of the skills someone needs to become a successful river rafting guide.  After all, I provide the training in order to meet my company's needs for a river staff every season.  My employees must be an extension of me.  I need to feel comfortable giving them the responsibility to escort the general public down a variety of white water rivers.

When the state of Washington opted to look into white water rafting operators in the mid-90s - in response to tragic deaths during a rafting season - I chose to get involved along with a number of other prominent outfitters to head the legislature off at the pass from enacting onerous and unnecessary rules and regulations.  It was clear, due to the tragedy, they were in the mood …

River Rafting Lessons We Learned from the Gauley River

River Rafting Lessons from the Gauley
Sixteen Orion River Rafting guides trekked cross country in a revitalized school bus last September to test their skills on one of the premier white water rivers to be found anywhere in the world - the Gauley River in West Virginia.  The Gauley River, dam-controlled and administered by the National Park Service, offers two sections of river to whet your white water appetite which are not-so-cleverly known as the Upper and the Lower.  The Upper reach of the Gauley, which sports five noteworthy drops, was the section where we spent four lengthy days recreating and - ultimately - getting schooled.


Here is what we learned:
Never underestimate the kindness of strangers.  Whether it was the kind-hearted campers at the put-in who welcomed our oversized rig to crash their party or the boaters strewn throughout the river offering encouragement and advice or the acquaintance of one of our party who was willing to take time out on a Friday to show us all the we…