The life of a whitewater raft guide on the New River or the Gauley River isn’t for everyone.
But if it’s right for you, there’s a lot going for it. Here, in almost no particular order, are the 10 best reasons to be a raft guide at ACE:
10. Do it all. Yes, we run the river a lot, but there’s plenty of opportunity to guide pretty much everything at ACE, from ATVs to Caves.
9. The bad weather. Some people don’t like bad weather. Guides embrace it. After all, this is about the experience, and the fact is that bad weather brings people closer together.
8. The good weather. Of course, if you spend 100 or so days out on the river, you’re going to see the outdoors in its finest attire.
7. Knowing what’s going to happen before it happens. Guides aren’t phsycic (mostly). We just know the river really well. So when that hit is coming up, we know just how awesome things are about to get.
6. Accomplishment. Getting in that surf hole? It’s not easy. Practice and teamwork go into every move on the river, and we help that happen.
5. Kayaking. We love rafting. But when you live at the river, there’s some opportunity to go solo (with friends, of course). Kayaking is a really satisfying way for guides to get out on the water.
4. The smell of neoprene in the morning. Granted, it’s an acquired appreciation.
3. Training. There’s always something to learn. New guides get insider info that’s passed down, and it just keeps going. It’s kind of like our own oral tradition.
2. Gauley Season. Most guides go down the New River all season long, so when Gauley Season rolls around, it’s like Christmas and your birthday all rolled up, for about 6 weeks.
1. People. As a guide you meet every kind of person, from every corner of the world. The friends you make on the river are some of the best people you’ll ever meet in your life.
There are more. Being a whitewater raft guide has its ups and downs, just like anything else. We just get a lot more ups than most people.
If you ever get the itch to find out if you can cut it out on the river, we train new ACE guides every spring. It’s not easy, but it is rewarding, in ways that you probably don’t expect.
See you on the river