And Down The River We Went: From Customers To Raft Guides

Have you ever been on a rafting trip, looked at the raft guides and thought, “Wow, this would be an awesome job”?

Well, not only did that happen to me, my wife got hooked, too!

Hi everyone, my name is David Barkley and my wife, Cheri, and I are among the newest members to the ACE blogging team. We discovered ACE and whitewater rafting via the ACE website.

Here’s a brief synopsis:

For several years, we had talked about going whitewater rafting.

Growing up near the ocean, we came to love being in the water, doing things one does in the ocean, but all the rivers nearby in southeastern North Carolina were just wide slow moving bodies of water with hardly any waves at all. They were not very interesting to navigate on except for their natural beauty and wildlife.

We kept putting off a whitewater rafting trip for one reason or another until that fateful day a few years ago. We were up in West Virginia visiting some relatives (my wife is related to both the Hatfields and the McCoys – more on this in a later blog), were surfing the internet for things to do in West Virginia, and I saw whitewater rafting on the ACE Adventure Resort website.

We had just gone on an ATV ride up near Matewan, West Virginia, and our adrenaline and excitement level was way up. The route back home to NC took us very near ACE and we swung by to see if a trip was available and what we could expect.

The people there were refreshingly friendly, helpful, and we booked a trip for the very next day. They didn’t give us the typical “OK, another tourist here” reaction in comparison to people we have seen working at other vacation destinations.

The next morning the trip check-in was informative, we met our guide, had an exciting bus ride, learned how to paddle a raft and, well, down the river we went.

Whoosh, what an adrenaline spike, including raft surfing the big wave holes! Yes, that day we both also became members of “the New River Swim Team.”

We got back to ACE at the end of the day, went straight to the office, and booked a trip for the next day. We went on to take a total of 13 trips that year, go through guide training the next season, and now work for ACE on the same rivers we came to love as guests.

I look forward to exchanging adventures, ideas, and thoughts with each of you. I was wondering, how did you come to find out about ACE? What was your first experience like?

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