Decades spent guiding have taught us one thing: whitewater changes lives.
We’ve seen worries wash away from business men, genuine play incorporated back into a mom’s day, and new raft guides travel the world exploring river cultures for a more fulfilling life experience.
It all started with attending a Guide School. Below are our top 7 reasons why this year’s Wet Planet Guide School can do the same for you.
1. Raft all the best rivers in the Columbia River Gorge for less.
The Pacific Northwest is one of the wettest regions in the country, as well as one of the steepest. With 12,000 ft volcanoes dropping to sea level and rain falling throughout the year, whitewater rafting in the Columbia River Gorge is arguably the best in the country.
During our eight day Guide School you’ll get to experience all the greatest rivers in our area, for less than the cost of individual day trips. Half of our days in Guide School are spent on these rivers, from the White Salmon River to the Hood River to the Wind River to the Klickitat River, helping you to experience the incredible range of whitewater rafting trips in the local area.
2. Quality time with the raft guides who are living the dream (and want to help you do the same).
Lance has traveled through Mexico with his kayak in tow. Gianni guides on the east coast’s infamous Gauley River every fall. Susan is learning Mandarin for her next expedition to China. These are just a few of the expert Wet Planet Staff who will teach you all about running rivers.
Some are sponsored kayakers, winners of vertical challenge competitions, or magazine cover models. Others guide mountaineering trips on Rainier, work as NOLS instructors, and instruct for Rescue 3 International. All are pretty fun to hang out with.
While they teach you the technical skills of navigating whitewater, basic rescue training maneuvers and the group dynamics of a raft trip, you’ll inevitably garner some hints of their passion and enthusiasm for life.
They are “living the dream,” and for eight days at Guide School, so can you.
3. Multi-day trip secrets revealed.
Planning a vacation can be hard. Planning a multi-day rafting trip through the wilderness of southern Oregon’s Owyhee River can be just as intimidating.
This is the second year we’ve added a 4-day multi-day trip down the Owyhee to the Guide School. We will unveil the secrets of multi-day river guiding, helping our guests see that it can actually be easier once you know the tricks. Learn to wow your group with a scrumptious meal, pack a boat with ease and efficiency, and paddle or row a raft through exciting waves and rapids.
4. Gain confidence in the face of challenge.
Our lives are riddled with difficult decisions and challenging situations. We can either try to avoid them, or embrace them with confidence.
When guiding a raft, important decisions not only need to be made fast but must be made with absolute confidence. Guide school helps students to trust in their own decisions, even when the outcome is not obvious and the consequences are greater. After navigating through whitewater under the guidance of our expert staff, you will inevitably find that making every day decisions is easier and your confidence to approach difficult decisions is greater in all that you do.
5. Simplify and focus on what makes life so blissful.
Multi-day raft trips are quickly becoming the best way to spend precious vacation time due to their simplification of life’s necessities and immersion in the country’s most beautiful locations. Once your bag is packed and you push off the beach, you quickly begin to see that you don’t need fancy gadgets and expensive toys to enjoy life’s beauty. In fact, you may even see that they get in the way of it.
Immersing yourself in the spectacular scenery of the “grand canyon of Oregon” can also help attachments to material goods and future plans slip away. Learning to guide a raft down Oregon’s Owyhee River is the best way to start a more fulfilling life, focused on blissful experiences, friendships and natural beauty.
6. Sleep under the stars, paddle through canyons, and soak in hot springs.
Honestly, what could be better?
Each night, after learning how easy it is to cook with a dutch oven, the night sky opens up to reveal a twinkling backdrop to lull you to sleep. Drifting around each river bend you descend deeper into the colorful desert canyons in a continual 360 degree view of paradise. You pull the raft to shore after splashing down amazing rapids to take a soak in natural hot springs surging from the earth’s crust.
Icing on the cake: the entire 8-day Guide School is LESS than the cost of a commercial Owyhee 4-day raft trip. Why wouldn’t you sign up?
7. Learn to lead.
Leadership is the cornerstone of nearly every form of success. By stepping up your whitewater experience from a guest to a guide, you will learn what it takes to lead a group of people into the unknown.
The development of this skill on the river easily transfers over to other elements of your daily life. Raft guides speak in front of groups with more confidence, make quicker and smarter decisions, and influence the experience and opinions of others. There’s a reason why whitewater rafting has been a top activity for corporate team-building outings.
Guide School at Wet Planet will help you take the wheel to learning both the hard skills and techniques of raft guiding, as well as the soft skills of leadership and confidence.
Most of all, Guide School is eight days immersed in the best river rafting in the Northwest.
Author Susan Hollingsworth writes for Wet Planet Whitewater, Canoe & Kayak Magazine, American Whitewater, and any other river-related publication she can find.