Raft Guide Stories:
Georgie Tankersley recaps her first adventure as a Raft California guide taking part on our annual Spring Training/Advanced Guide School Trip!
As I hear the rushing water rage downstream my heart beats a little faster. We eddy out on the right bank of the Scott River and walk downstream toward the roaring sound of the water. Upon the first glimpse of What Would Jesus Do, the name we gave to this torrential stretch of water, I wear a huge grin. As a boater my instinct is to find the best line through. Everyone else, all fifteen experienced river guides, is doing the same. Each person brings something unique to the conversation. Standing on the riverbank is one hundred years of river running experience. If there is ever a perfect time to run difficult rivers, challenge your skills, and push your limits, now is that time. I tell myself that as I climb into the boat with three others and head downstream.
At the end of a day we all exchange our stories of the day and tell them as many times as others will listen. Reliving the adrenaline and challenges we put ourselves through. Some have known each other for years and others are just exchanging names. Whether you are new to the group or an old friend, everyone is welcome. We started our weeklong adventure with a briefing on the goals for the trip. We were there to challenge ourselves, gain experience, and get to know each other. Plus run some really rad rivers! What stuck out to me was the emphasis on maintaining a positive learning environment. This is a group where someone can grow and be challenged in an encouraging social environment.
One of my favorite parts of the trip was getting in boats with different people each time. Every guide has a distinct style. A variety I hadn’t seen elsewhere. Seeing how other experienced guides run rivers has given me ideas on how I can incorporate some of their style into mine. To try different things and find what works best for me. On our off water time we familiarized ourselves with each other’s gear, what we used and why. We talked about communication and even decided on an important change in hand signals. We were able to experiment and find a system to run rivers that works for us.
Everyday during this advanced guide training trip was an adventure. In five days I saw three new stretches of river. Some of witch was harder and more intimidating than anything I had been on before. Everyday I learned something new and everyday was ridiculously fun. To be honest, it was a bit intimidating. There were times I felt that I should be pushing myself more. I don’t want to be the weak link. The best part was nobody else thought that. Everyone was stoked to be there, stoked that I was there, and I was stoked they were there too. The inclusiveness has been a welcome home.