In the spring of 2013, I moved across the country and headed for the Pacific Northwest. Having just graduated from the University of South Carolina, I was ready to try new things and explore the world. I sought out adventure, a new place to call home, and an exciting position at Wet Planet Rafting and Kayak School in Washington state.
What I found when I arrived was nothing short of amazing. Not only had I become a member of the Wet Planet team, but I was instantly welcomed into the awesome community that is Wet Planet. Having traveled from the southeast and knowing one person – my best friend Clay – I was amazed to find how many new friends I had made immediately after the first meal at SND.
What is SND?! Every Saturday, Wet Planet sponsors a well-known event that joins all staff together – Saturday Night Dinner. We all take turns doing the shopping, meal preparation, and clean-up each week. Yard games are a staple, and meals somehow more delicious than the last are feasted upon with our friends and synonymously our coworkers. Saturday Night Dinners can last well into the evenings filled with laughter, friends, and lots of food. After the busiest day of the week, Saturday Night Dinner is the best way to unwind!
Wet Planet people are not the only members of our community; Wet Planet dogs are a huge part as well! If you come rafting or kayaking with us, you will likely see a cute black lab wandering the shop or yard sporting a “Please Don’t Feed Me” vest! This is Tica of Wet Planet. Her friends Asia, Cooper, Libby, and Charlie can be found following their owners around at work or playing fetch in the yard.
Getting on the water is not only a huge aspect of working for Wet Planet, but it is a huge part of our recreational life as well. Before work, after work, and on our days off, staff working in the office, the base, and on the river get out together and play! Whether that means R2ing (a form of rafting considered more challenging with just two paddlers in a boat) whitewater kayaking, taking the Duo out for a spin (a two person kayak), stand up paddle boarding, or fishing; you can be sure to find us on the water! When our fellow fishermen and fisherwomen have a catch – you will find us grilling, celebrating and feasting together.
A fun and exciting addition to the Wet Planet family happened this season when our Interns from Holland began arriving in July. Jacomijn’s roots in the Netherlands have brought about a Dutch exchange program in the Wet Planet community! We currently have three interns with us between the ages of 17 and 24. Exploring life in the Pacific Northwest, they help with the photography, the café, and the operational logistics while becoming a part of the whitewater community. They are quickly learning to love whitewater, as most people do who find their way in the whitewater world.
Becoming a part of the Wet Planet team is more than just becoming an employee at any organization. In addition to becoming a part of the team, together we have built a community amongst friends who share passions for the outdoors, for the river, and for adventure. In my move across the country, I could not have asked for anything more.
Author Hayley Spear spends her summers in the Columbia River Gorge and enjoys paddling, hiking, and exploring as often as she can.