Growing up in Trout Lake, Rain was born with the river running through his veins. From learning to kayak as a child, to earning his first paycheck as a dishwasher at Wet Planet, he has always been surrounded by the whitewater community. Now, Rain has made his passion for whitewater into his career, and just wrapped up his first season with Wet Planet as a full-time raft guide!

Rafting White Salmon River

Rain guiding on the White Salmon River

Rain’s first introduction to whitewater was a multi-day rafting trip on the Grand Ronde in Eastern Oregon. He was just five or six years old, but not too young to realize the magic of multi-day river trips. He was hooked on whitewater, started kayaking just a few years later, and hasn’t stopped since! Throughout his childhood and teenage years, Rain spend most of his free time kayaking the rivers of the Columbia River Gorge and developing his skills as a whitewater boater. He even took his first River Rescue Certification course when he was just 15 years old!

River Rescue Course

Rain during his first River Rescue Course, age 15

Rain first started working at Wet Planet when he was 16. During his first season, he was a dishwasher and helped out in the kitchen of the Wet Planet Café. His second season was 2020, which looked a little different due to the COVID-19 pandemic. With no Café, Rain mainly worked in the photo room and assisted with various projects in the “base.” After two years of working river-adjacent and developing his whitewater skills on his own time, Rain was ready for the next step: becoming a raft guide.

“I knew that I wanted to guide the next season so I could be on the river all the time”

In 2021, Rain was stoked to get the opportunity to participate in the annual Wet Planet Guide School. He took the first two weekends of the course to learn the foundations of paddle-guiding, utilizing various rivers in the Gorge for training – such as the White Salmon River, Klickitat River, and Hood River. After Guide School, Rain was getting the hang of putting the raft where he wanted it to go. Rain felt that his years of kayaking on the White Salmon River were a big advantage when he started training – he was already familiar with the river, knew the hazards and lines in the notable rapids, and had a solid understanding of how to read water. He started guiding parts of the White Salmon River on ride-alongs, and before he knew it he was checked out by Wet Planet’s staff trainers, and ready so start guiding commercial trips!

White Salmon River Rafting

Having a blast guiding on the White Salmon River

Rain had a lot of fun working on the river all summer long. As with any new job, it came with his challenges, but Rain had a great summer guiding on the White Salmon River and sharing his home river with guests from all around the country and the world.

“My favorite part of guiding is knowing that for the people that I take down the river, it might be the only time they’ll have an experience like rafting in their life, and I get to help facilitate it.”

Rain is excited to keep learning and growing as a guide. His is aiming to paddle hard all winter, with the goal of support kayaking on Class V rafting trips on the Wind River or the Farmlands section of the White Salmon.

Rain Kayaking

Rain kayaking final Falls on the Ohannapecosh River

Now, Rain is kicking off his first winter of seasonal lifestyle. He has plans to head south to Chile for three months to kayak, explore, and get better at speaking Spanish. He’s really looking forward to high water in the spring, and kicking off his second season as a Wet Planet Raft Guide!

Want to join Rain and our team of whitewater professionals next season? Check out our Employment Opportunities!

Author Sharon Saltoon is a kayak instructor and Communications Manager at Wet Planet. She loves being a part of the team at Wet Planet and sharing her love of whitewater on and off the river!