17 October 2012

College Outdoors Fall Break Raft Guide Clinic

After class last wednesday I headed straight to Sequoia, a warehouse on South Campus where College Outdoors stores all of their gear. Our group of 15 students and leaders left at 6 to drive the 3 hours to the Deschutes River, stopping quickly on the way at the Huckleberry inn on Mt. Hood where we all ordered the "famous" Huckleberry milkshake. They were absolutely delicious. After our pit stop we headed off again as soon as we could so we arrived in camp with time to set up our tents and kitchen before the sun set.

All four days of Fall Break we rafted the Deschutes (Thursday through Sunday), waking up every day at around 6:30 in the morning and going to bed at around 8 pm. One of my favorite things about camping outdoors is that I wake up when the sun rises, sometimes even before, and I go to sleep when the sun sets. I have none of the normal daily distractions that I have at school, such as the computer, homework or work to worry about or get distracted by.

Each day we ran the same stretch of river. Because the trip was a Raft Guide Clinic, our leaders thought it would be better to run the same stretch so that we could learn how to navigate the river and more specifically the rapids more easily. Each day we would have one leader who has guided professionally before, in our raft, and all the other students and I would take turns guiding with the leaders help. The last day, however, all of the leaders were in one raft, and all of us who went on the trip to learn how to raft guide were in the other two rafts. We guided the whole river by ourselves (except for one large rapid near the end).

Before this trip I had only gone rafting once before in my life. So going from that, to learning how to guide a rapid, and succeed at it, was really cool. Besides rafting, and guiding, we also learned how to throw a rope to someone if they fell out of the boat and needed us to pull them to shore. We learned how to flip boats over in case a rapid flipped the boat and we needed to get it up right again. And finally, we learned how to swim from one eddy to another crossing the "zone of helical flow" where the water is extremely strong and hard to get past.

Swimming from one eddy to the other
Below are some more pictures from the trip. Hope you enjoy.

Until next time,


The whole group.

Learning how to blow up a raft
Our Kitchen set up at camp
Trying to get out of my drysuit. Harder than it looks.