If you were driving by Husum Falls on the White Salmon River last night, you would have noticed a huge crowd of river people gathered on the bridge and on the banks of the river cheering while ridiculously costumed river guides paddled all sorts of craft over the 12 foot waterfall. These guides were part of the 2008 Raft Guide Olympics on the White Salmon River, a yearly event where guides and boaters from the White Salmon gather to compete in a variety of events that test their raft guide skills. Sort of … in reality, Guide Olympics is just a big party and a great evening of fun.

The evening started off with a head to head raft race over Husum Falls, with 5 companies participating. I botched Wet Planet’s chances for a win by dropping my paddle at the put-in. The raft was paddled by Dave, Giani, Ryan, and me – minus the one paddle. Although we weren’t in the lead as we charged over Husum Falls, it was still super fun. At the bottom of the drop, we just kept paddling through the chaos, as some of the other rafts had more swimmers than paddlers remaining.

The next event, and possibly the highlight of the evening, was the Husum Huck. The event was simple … paddle anything that floated over Husum Falls. The paddlers with the most style and creativity (costumes counted) would win. No one really declared a winner, but everyone had fun. The paddlers definitely put on a show for the spectators. Wet Planet started the event off by paddling an inflatable pool pillow thing called the “Oasis Island” over the water fall. This ridiculous idea was Caitlyn’s brain child, and she shamed more than one scared guide into riding on the island with the comment, “I just work in the office, and I’m going to do it.” So, a bunch of us piled on and swam the thing over Husum Falls, making sure not to forget a whole bunch of pool toys while we were at it. It was hysterical … and fun. We even did it a second time. Through some stroke of luck, none of us were injured.

After the Husum Huck, I headed home. For many others, the evenings competitions continued late into the night, with events including the obstacle course, bite the box, raft tossing, and the popular late night trip-talk competition.

It was a super fun evening, and it was great to see so many guides from the White Salmon getting together to have fun on the river. With close to 100 people participating, this was probably the biggest guide olympics yet. Next year’s should be even better!

– Todd @ 05:48 PM