One of my favorite questions to ask people is inquiring as to their favorite part of their jobs. Some people talk about their weekends, their paychecks, their flexible schedules, and occasionally the people that they work with.
Guiding isn’t much different. On our weekends we get to go kayaking. We have great industry pro-deals to spend our paychecks on. Our flexible schedules allow us to go on fantastic adventures in the off season. The best perk by far though, is the people that we are surrounded with.
The outdoor community is an extraordinarily unique one, created by people who are incredibly passionate about what they are doing, and who have consciously made the lifestyle choice and fully embrace it. As time goes on though, the definition of what people in the outdoor industries are passionate about begins to shift, from the sport or environment, to the people that surround them in it. A particular rapid that makes you nervous becomes less significant than the person that you trust enough to follow down it. A gorgeous waterfall is less important than the group that invites you to hike it with them. Morning coffee might be Folgers instead of from your local roastery, but it certainly tastes better when Giani was up at the crack of dawn making it for you.
Sometimes it is easy to get caught up in the swing of the season, and forget to appreciate that support system. We had the opportunity to spend this past week on the Rogue River, just as the Wet Planet Staff Team.
We wore silly costumes, started mid-rapid dance contests, and invented the new sport of extreme SUPyaking.
We stayed up late laughing around the camp fire, and got up early to have quiet heart to hearts in the misty morning light. We taught our favorite sports to others, we made friends with a group of stray backpackers, and we cheered each other on running Rainie Falls.
We learned each other’s history, we set safety for one another, we shared insights about the world and reflections on our way of life. We grew together, an on going process, because we create the reason that each of us chooses to be here. We’ll rejoice with one another over successes and lift each other up through trials, hug each other on rough days and have deep conversations about hydrology on the days that we have to pay our swim fines. In this world of fast currents and short seasons, you’re only as strong as your team, and I’m reminded daily as to why the Wet Planet Team sets the bar a little bit higher than the rest.
Courtney Zink is a part of the Wet Planet guide staff and office team. Her fourth favorite thing about rafting is a tie between midnight runs and sandwiches.