A Day Boaters Diary

Posted on Wednesday, Aug 27th, 2014
A Day Boaters Diary

Daaaay Boater! That’s what I would hear every time I did something wrong. Being a first year multi-day guide, I would hear this a lot! I didn’t know how to pack for a week-long raft trip. I had no idea how to cook Eggs Benedict. I never set up a Groover. My appetizer presentation was less than spectacular. Needless to say, as a first year multi-day guide, I had a lot to learn.  

Last year, as a day boater, life was easy. Load rafts, greet guests, conduct a safety talk, show the guests a great time on the river, do a little interpretive talk, get to the take out and go home and do it all over again the next day -- piece of cake.  

Multi-day boating is much different. I had to learn how to read and understand the trip manifest, write thank you cards, follow the pre-trip packing protocol, pack the truck, the cargo boat, etc. We would travel to the put-in ahead of our guests in the “cage truck.” I would try to read up on the natural and cultural history of the river for interpretive purposes, but somehow always get side tracked listening to the other guides reading Cosmo articles on how to spice up one's sex life. We would arrive at the put-in to pump and outfit the rafts and duckies. Eat cold chicken and macaroons, drink beer, and fall asleep under the stars. 

The next day, we would choose our rafts -- cargo, lunchie, oar, and paddle boats. We would greet our guests, conduct safety and ducky talks, and get out on the water. These guests would not come and go so quickly, so we would need to get to know them on a deeper level than the day guests I was accustomed to.  We played “name games” so we could actually address our guest accordingly for the next week. 

I had to learn how to set up the kitchen, set up tents, cook Dutch Oven dinners and desserts, organize games for both kids and adults, keep drink coolers stocked, and keep the appetizer table looking presentable. I didn’t get to go home to sleep in my own bed, I would share a beach with my fellow guides on Paco Pads and stay sandy for two months. No privacy while working multi-day trips, that for sure! I had to learn how to wake up very early to get coffee brewing and the dining room set up after a night of games and drinks. We would serve amazing breakfasts that I would never make at home. Then, we would need to break down all the hard work we did setting up camp and pack up the rafts again and do it all over again, and again, and again, and again. 

Multi-day guiding was a great experience for a day boater such as myself. I will never forget all the experiences and learning opportunities I had this summer. I will always remember my guests and my fellow guides that taught me so much this summer and how to conduct oneself as a multi-day guide. Perhaps most importantly, I was reminded as a multi-day guide just how few things we really need in our lives to be happy. I was very content to live without internet access, iPhones, computers, televisions, automobiles, walls, ceilings, and such. I think our guests get that feeling too.  

I hope that every guide gets the opportunity to work as a multi-day guide at some point in their guiding careers to get these experiences. And I hope that we get as many people out of the cities and onto our mulit-day rivers as possible so we can get more people to fall in love with the same rivers we love.