Earlier this week I proclaimed with joy that I had actually registered for Raft Guide School at the Whitewater Center, after months of going back and forth about it. Well, I had three very unexpected surprises on my first day today.
First, despite originally thinking he would not be able to, Sal registered last night (a few minutes before orientation started!) and joined me for Raft Guide School. I would’ve had fun regardless, but I’m not going to lie: getting to share the experience with someone, and with Sal in particular, made this a truly incredible beginning.
Second, despite originally thinking he would not be able to, one of my favorite raft guides/trip leaders at the Whitewater Center is one of our two instructors. Again, I would’ve had a great time doing the class regardless of who was there, and our other instructor, who I didn’t really know from previous rafting trips, turns out to be a really cool guy to learn from and raft with. But there IS a great relief in having a trusting and comfortable pre-existing relationship with the instructors.
And third… I really didn’t have the slightest clue of just how much fun this would be. Yes, I expected to enjoy it… But really, I couldn’t have imagined how much I would love a long day of nerve-racking, muscle straining, frustrating, exhausting work out in the sun. I quite honestly would’ve paid the registration expense just for today alone, and considered it money well spent.
Originally I had not planned to work at the U.S. National Whitewater Center as a Raft Guide — I have a full-time job already, and certainly don’t plan to leave that job to work at the USNWC. I figured at most, I would get certified and then go up rafting on weekends when I felt like it, and be willing to take a crew out if I was there and they were short-handed.
But after conversations with the staff, it looks like they plan to be crazy busy and short-handed during the Summer, particularly on the weekends when I don’t normally work a regular schedule on my job, so I may end up getting regularly scheduled part time weekend work after all. If I’m going to go out rafting, I may as well get paid to do it, right?
And now, if you’ll excuse me… I’m going to go fall over. Did I mention that it was a tiring day?!