Guides are often asked about their off-season work. For most of us, the off-season is spent looking forward to the next summer and doing odd jobs to pay the bills. This past winter, I really focused on staying in “river shape.” Swimming and running helped me maintain some physical fitness.But I found it difficult to keep mentally focused and excited about the upcoming season. My “real world” winter job didn’t really offer many adventurous challenges, aside from commuting.
And family holiday dinners can be dramatic, but not in the whitewater sense. So I turned to literature. Yes, most guides can and do actually read!
There are some great books out there about travel, adventure and the people who love those things. Mark Twain’s “Life on the Mississippi” offered some straight-forward inspiration to get back on a boat.
There are a few chapters on the process of “reading” river features that reminded me of my day-to-day challenge in the back of the boat. And the way he appreciates and describes the colorful characters he met made me reminisce about the great guides and guests that I have encountered.
A more recently published book that I enjoyed this winter was “The Lost City of Z: A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon,” written by David Grann. It has history, anthropology, adventure and a whole bunch of inspiring feats.
As I read about the death-defying Percy Fawcett, I realized that I should never complain about a few blisters and mosquito bites here in the relative comfort of West Virginia.
So if you like to relax in the sun with a good book, try out these two or any of the other millions out there. Get your “adventure fix” amidst the pages and then come visit us to try out the real deal!