Monday, May 28, 2012

Spikebuck, Shark's Tooth, and Satan's Suckhole

I always try to think of some interesting way to start a blog post.  Today I’m not feeling incredibly creative so I’ll throw up a headline of sorts:

Hypothermia Strikes Young Woman While Training to be a Raft Guide!

Actually, I only experienced a minor case of hypothermia and it was only for a few hours. But now I bet you want to know more about my life the past few weeks. :)

My elbow healed up.  I think what happened was I tore some of the tendons in my elbow.  Not rowing for awhile allowed it to heal up and I’ve been able to function normally.  I have an elbow brace now which makes me look pretty darn hard core if I do say so myself. 

Most days around here are the same.  Wake up around 6:15am; eat breakfast and get ready for the day; get on the river by 8:00am; lunch; more river time; dinner; wash dishes; play games/watch a movie; bedtime around 10:00pm.  We’ve had several groups every week that we take down the river with us, but for the most part we’re doing a lot of training.  And the only way to train to be a raft guide is to do it.  In order to guide a boat down a river smoothly you have to know what to avoid, when to turn you’re boat, and what to tell your paddlers.  It’s kind of like a big remote control car, but not really… Either way, the more you do it the more you remember what to do. 

The other exciting thing we’ve done is Swiftwater Rescue Training.  Last Wednesday-Friday the new guides from VFH and some guides from other companies in the area took this course.  On Wednesday we spent the day watching videos of what we’d be doing and going over some rope systems we’d be using in the coming days.  Thursday was hypothermia day!  We spent the morning swimming through class 3 rapids in the headwaters of the Arkansas (aka: really, REALLY cold snowmelt).  Even with a wetsuit on, a person can get quite chilly.  When we took a break for lunch I found it hard to eat my chicken salad sandwich because my hands were shaking so terribly.  It was quite comical but also frustrating.  That afternoon we spent some more time in the water and by 5:00pm I was never so happy to see my dry, cotton underwear!  Friday was also spent in the water but mostly working on scenarios such as foot entrapment, rescuing swimmers, and boat flips.  Because of that we didn’t spend as much time in the water and I didn’t get that cold. 

Yesterday I guided a boat of 4 of my fellow guides from Pinnacle to Parkdale on the Arkansas River.  It’s about a 9 mile stretch that we will use for ½ day trips.  It went really smoothly and I’m feeling really confident about guiding groups down in the near future!  Despite the fact that I’ve never been a huge fan of water, I’m really enjoying my summer job so far!

View of the Royal Gorge Bridge and the Royal Gorge Train
while rafting through none other than the Royal Gorge

An exciting run through Five Points

Getting ready to hit the water

I think that’s about all that’s new and exciting to tell you about.  I still don’t have a picture of me guiding a boat… hopefully in the near future!  Until then enjoy the other photos and feel free to ask me any questions (I try to explain things clearly but that doesn’t always work). 

One last update: The Anderson’s are still looking for a house.  Right now they’re camping out with the rest of us but I know they’d love a more permanent spot to live. 

Until next time, have a good one!

ps... the title of this blog entry was inspired by some of the rapids I pass through every day on the Arkansas River.

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