All Roads Lead to Rome. And many of life’s roads lead to the river for our tribe of river people. Coincidentally, the town of Rome, Oregon, is also the put-in for the Owyhee River, arguably Oregon’s most spectacular river with canyon’s that are debatably more majestic than any street in Italy’s Rome. And, the annual Wet Planet Raft Guide School takes place on the Owyhee river. Are you on your way to Rome?
If I had to pick one thing in my life that changed everything, it has to be my decision to learn how to go to whitewater raft guide school. I enrolled in guide school about a year after I left my job as an investment banker in New York City. I had been kayaking for about a year and had already fallen in love with whitewater, but I knew that I wanted more. I wanted to find a way to challenge myself, to share my love for whitewater with other people and become part of the river community. Guiding brought me all of these things and more.
Whether you want to acquire the skills to take your family and friends rafting, pursue a professional career in the outdoor industry as a commercial whitewater rafting guide, or simply spend a lot of time on the river, I would encourage everyone to enroll in a raft guide school!
Annual Wet Planet Raft Guide School
Wet Planet’s guide school starts this Spring on April 8th. It begins with two weekends on classic NW rivers. In those first weekends, we focus on exposing the aspiring raft guides to different types of whitewater while teaching paddle guiding skills. On April 27th, we depart on a 4-day trip on the Owyhee River (water levels permitting). As we float into this spectacular desert canyon, we focus on rowing techniques and multi day camping. By the time you’re done with our guide school, you will have guided rafts down difficult whitewater and learned how to set up an expedition style camp in the wilderness.
What’s so special about Wet Planet’s Raft Guide School?
1) Learn skills while exploring classic Northwest whitewater for the best price
Wet Planet’s guide school is simply one of the most cost effective ways to experience some the Northwest’s most classic rivers, while learning raft guiding skills at the same time. In our guide school, we spend four days on multiple different sections of river including the White Salmon River, Klickitat River in Washington and the Hood River in Oregon. We then cap off the trip with a four day overnight expedition style raft trip on the Owyhee River in Eastern Oregon, starting in …. Rome! The beginning of the rest of your life – as you will enter our world wide river community!
The cost of the entire guide school is $795. If you break down the cost of by day, it is less than $100 a day. In fact, it is cheaper to go through the Wet Planet guide school than a standard commercial Owyhee trip AND you get four extra days of rafting. We do this for the love of the river, and to share it with others.
2) Meet new friends
Guide school is one of the best ways to meet new friends and bond. There’s just something about the excitement of rivers and wonder of whitewater that will bring you together. It’s one of the best ways to meet interesting new people who share your passion for spending time in the outdoors, enjoy the excitement of whitewater and the awe inspiring spectacle of nature that only floating down a river can take you to. Over the years, the best river trips that I have been on were always great because of the diverse yet like minded people that I was with. The whitewater community is special, and it brings folks from all walks of life together.
3) Learn from the best in the field
The Wet Planet guide school instructors are some of the best experts in the whitewater industry. They’ve cumulatively guided for decades all around the world, studied outdoor education, managed rafting companies, and have all found their home here at Wet Planet. There are endless tricks to the trade they can teach and share with you, and they have so many stories to tell to illustrate the colorful river life that captivates us all.
Veteran Wet Planet lead guide Giani Benevento has headed the Wet Planet Guide School program for the last 8 years. If you’re looking for experience, he has been rafting commercially for over twenty years on some of the county’s hardest rivers. He’s traveled the far reaches of the world with his raft and equally legendary raft guide brother Mike Benevento and has multiple first descents to his name. He also happens to be the best multi day rafting cook around.
Not only has Seamus guided all over the country and world, he has a masters in outdoor education and is currently guiding rafts in New Zealand.
Nicole’s river resume is at least as impressive, having guided all over the world including Australia, Costa Rica, Honduras and New Zealand. She also worked as a River Manager for multiple large established rafting outfitters in the country.
If you’re going to learn how to raft guide, you might as well learn from the experts, and enjoy hearing all the tales about all their river explorations over the years.
4) Explore beautiful places
Imagine yourself sitting in a hot spring. You’re listening to the water flow through the rocks of the nearby Owyhee river. Above you are deep desert canyon walls and a spectacular display of stars. Now imagine yourself deep in the basalt canyon of the White Salmon river. You’re rocketing down steep rapids as you notice the old growth forest that lines the banks. In our guide school, you’ll get to see all of these places and more.
From the beautiful turquoise glacial runoff of the white salmon to the epic desert canyon of the Owyhee, we guarantee that you’ll be blown away by the sheer beauty.
Intrigued about becoming part of this river community too? Check here for detailed information about Wet Planet’s guide school.
Author David Seal escaped his job as an Investment Banker in NYC many years ago. He now enjoys a life as a professional in the Outdoor Industry, as a ski patroller at Crystal Mountain, WA in the Winter, and as Wet Planet’s River Operations Manager in Spring, Summer and Fall, managing the guide operation while also staying close to the river when guiding rafts, teaching kayaking, and teaching River Rescue classes.