Wet Planet Rafting Decal

Valerie’s introduction to whitewater was as a guest during a college spring break trip in the Smoky Mountains in 2016. Before the trip finished, she asked her guide about the job experience and was convinced to one day guide on a river too. 

As a Northern Michigan native, outdoor recreation like camping, swimming, and kayaking were a regular part of her upbringing along the freshwater coast. Whitewater, though, was a completely foreign concept to her and much of the Midwest. Due to her lifelong goal of working in the zoological field, Valerie attended Northern Michigan University to pursue a biology degree. For a healthy work-life balance, Valerie found herself spending her free time taking weekend SCUBA diving courses, hiking and exploring the beautiful Upper Peninsula, and trying to catch waves surfing on Lake Superior when the autumn gale winds visited. As she’s said on more than one occasion, she needs to be by the water. 

Valerie’s guiding career started in 2020 at the exact same company she first rafted with as a guest. Over the past four years, Valerie has spent her summers rafting in the Smoky Mountains, Montana, and Northern California. In the off-seasons she has worked as a zipline and ATV guide, fisheries technician monitoring endangered salmon, and odd jobs to fund her travels all while fitting in some time to raft and boulder with her fellow “dirtbag” friends that are scattered around the nation. She’s worn many hats and helmets over the years and continues to collect more as she loves learning new skills. 

As a nomadic person with a goal of visiting every state and national park, Val is thrilled to finally experience the White Salmon with Wet Planet! During the summer, you can find her working as a day trip guide, sharing her abundance of enthusiasm for rafting and all the people she meets along the way. After work expect to see Val honing her kayaking skills with all the amazing kayakers who call Wet Planet home. 

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Raft guiding has by far been Valerie’s favorite job as no two runs or work days are alike. Each raft season has taught her something new about the sport and gifted her lifelong memories, friendships, and mentorships. Some of her favorite things about river guiding are educating guests about the local biodiversity, seeing nervous first-timers overcome their fears, connecting with new people from all over the world, and the truly special type of camaraderie and community the river brings together. 

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Interested in becoming part of the Wet Planet Team? Check out our Employment Opportunities.

Join Valerie on the river:

You can join Valerie on both half day and full day trips on the White Salmon River!