Tag Archive: White Water Rafting

Summer update



Its been a while since my last update, to be honest, with the new year and all of my new life changes I actually forgot about this blog.  But with winter going out the door and summer in sight, I am going to once again try and write blogs more frequently, keeping those of you interested in new adventures in my life.

I moved to Portland, Maine in January, got a job serving, and have been active in writing.  In February I finished writing my second novel.  The first novel is 74,000 words, and the second is around 125,000 words.  I have never been able to sit down and commit to one story for very long, all of that has changed now.

Since February 20th, the day I finished the second novel, I have been on a creative lull.  My hopes is that in updating my blog and writing (even if another style), that it will super charge my creative powers, and help me to pump out a third novel by the end of the year.

While that’s happening, as you may have guessed by my picture, I will be going back to Tennessee this summer to be a white water rafting guide for the second year in a row.  I look forward to the warm and long nights, the hot and adrenaline filled days, and all the crazy, imaginative, intelligent, sexy friends I could want.  I can’t imagine a better way to spend my summer.

As I get ready to pack up and leave, I’ll post more all about it, because one thing I have come to discover is that my life is rarely boring, and never the same twice.


Tennessee Summer Summery


“Fun Run” Trip with fellow guides.

This summer I had intended to post more, however, that was before I realized the demand of work, the time spent with friends, and all the writing that I was doing (outside of blogs).  Whatever I thought this summer was going to be like, it was not, it was much, much, more!

Life in the South was something that I had never known before, sure, everyone hears different things about “down yonder”, but hearing about it, and actually knowing are two different things.  If you know anything about me, you will know that hearing about something is not going to be enough for me, I have to know myself.

That doesn’t mean that I didn’t go into this summer with some presuppositions, wrong presuppositions, but premeditated judgement nonetheless.  I assumed that everyone listened to country music, that people were more concerned with their farms than they were with relationships, people would be less educated in the country than in the cities, and that everyone was conservative when it came to religious and social beliefs.

Although some of those presuppositions proved to be more true than up here in the North (people in general are more conservative down South), people down below were more understanding and accepting than I had experienced before.  Being an openly gay man, I was not going to go back in the closet as I headed to my summer destination, and try to hide my sexual identity down there.  I was afraid though, that when people figured out I was gay, that I would be lynched, or some equally terrible, violent act, and would be leaving within the first two weeks.  After all, I would have given it a shot, no one could have told me I didn’t at least try.

Instead?  I met some of the coolest, nicest, most self-educated people of my life.  I grew in ways that I am sure I won’t realize for years to come.  Instead of listening to country music (which I ironically discovered I liked), I got to listen to new music (Daft Punks new album, Pretty Lights new album, White Panda, STS9) .  I didn’t find people more concerned with their farms, quite the opposite actually, this summer I had to try and find time to spend alone.  We were all such a social outgoing group, that none of us wanted to miss out on any of the fun, spending all our time together.  Education turned out not to be a problem, most of my friends were in college, had been, or were already graduated.  For the ones that hadn’t gone to school, were self read, and could keep intellectual debates going all night, as we often  did.

The summer was a remarkable time, I expected the worst, and was quite honestly given the best.  Moral of the story?  Discover for yourself, don’t judge a book by its cover.


Week One, Done!

Its crazy to me how, no matter where I travel, when people are all thrust into the same situations (ex. Being far from home, not knowing anyone else, and having never done this kind of thing before), how quickly and seamlessly strangers can come together.

I started my summer Saturday (The 11th) when I set out on Greyhound, arrived here Sunday night, and started training Monday morning at eight. Monday through Friday we all (18 total), worked from eight to five, learning completely new skills, learned new things, and really got to know one another. I have technically only been here for six days, but already the other potential guides and I have become good friends. White water rafting isn’t as dangerous as somethings out there, but my fellow trainees and I have a new and humble respect for the water, and what a truly powerful entity that it is. Because of this going down the river has been unifying.

Together, all of us previous strangers, have to work together to get effectively and safely from Put-In to the Out-Post, while learning to be the best that any of us can. We learn from each other, help one another, and all around just bond.

There are people from all over the country working here, and even one Scottish born European. There are several people from Colorado, California, a guy from Washington, a gal from Michigan, a collection from the South, and despite the fact that we are all similar and work well together, we are each unique and offer something special to the table. Our collective skills include Yoga instructor, boulder enthusiasts, photographers, traveling experts, wilderness emergency responders, rafting veterans, nurses, one guy makes and sells hammocks, and mine personally, amateur massage therapist.

As one, we are an amazing group. Most of us have Bachelors if not Masters, and for the ones that don’t, they are still currently in school. If something needs to be done, or someone has an issue with something, we just need to ask around and one or more of us have the equipment or know how to help out. And the best part? We are ALL more than willing to help out!

Training is officially over now, but this next week we will all be doing Turkey Runs (a group of just us potential guides and no senior guide) and Ride Alongs (a potential guide, a senior guide, and actual customers) down the river. We keep this up until we have been “Checked Out” twice (do enough ride alongs and can confidentially maneuver the river with no added help) and then we will be official guides.

The short journey it has been so far has been absolutely mind blowing, and I can only eagerly await what I know will be more adventure to come!

First Day

Having officially finished my first day of white water rafting guide training, I feel confident in saying, I LOVE IT.  I have had my fair share of jobs, several seasonal summer jobs In multiple places, but never has one so struck me. Everything about the job, the rafting, the other guides, the local mountains, have thus far been amazing.
It is still Day One, but I am looking forward to what’s to come.

The first thing that I noticed is that everyone else here is like me. We are all mostly twenty-something year olds, most of us have a degree in something, and about everyone I have talked to has done a little, if not extensive traveling.  In short, we aren’t ready to “grow up”.   That term, “growing up” sure has been changing lately, but that’s a post for another time.
Another thing i realized is that I have SO many opportunities to do things down here. White water rafting, zip lining, cave exploring, mountain hiking, hiking, camping, traveling (Nashville, North Carolina, Georgia), and more exploring thank could wish for!!!

We will see what happens.

As for my first day, I was timid at first. Last night, after having ridden on Greyhound for 25 hours, I arrived in Tennessee and it was colder than I expected. Last night the temperature dropped to 40 degrees or less (tonight is expected to be colder). And I am not complaining about my housing, but I will say they are not made for cold weather… at all.
This morning when I got up, the temperature was not much better. The water was bone chilling. At that point the only good thing I can say is that my body got numb faster, cutting off much of the feelings in my legs.

The first run down the river we were considered guests, I was nervous, my body hadn’t numbed yet, and I was still timid.

The second time down we were expected to do some guiding. I was nervous, but found my years as a child doing canoeing really helped me to “read the water”, and without much incident, we all made it down having done fairly well.

The third time down the river we knew what to expect, our bodies had thankfully lost all feeling, and we knew most of what was expected.  However, we had more incidents than the first two times (but in my opinion it made it more adventurous!!!). One guy fell out of the boat (the first and only for the day, poor guy), all three rafts got stuck on rocks at one point or another, and having feared for loosing my contacts all day, in the last half hour or so, the inevitable happened.
I lost my left contact, but not to waves or water, but because of a branch…
The current dragged us to the left side of the Pigeon River, but as we did, we were dragged through a bunch of twigs and branches. Seeing a potentially hazardous branch sticking tight towards the raft, from my third seat back, I used my paddle to knock the branch out of the way, but because I was watching four feet ahead, I didn’t notice the branch hanging in front of my face.
With eyes wide open the branch expertly knocked me in the face, ripped my contact off my eyeball, and laid me flat against the raft.

Just another lesson learned, another memory for the keeping.
Ill call my day a win.

But before I go, words of advice, DON’T FORGET TO TIP YOUR RIVER GUIDE! 😉