Every year as Gauley Season approaches, memories of past Gauley trips come to mind. I feel my heart rate pick up a bit and then I realize I am already holding my breath.But wait, we’re not at Insignificant or Lost Paddle Rapid yet. Take a moment and breathe again. We’re still on the bus.
The adventure of a Gauley Season river trip begins on the bus ride!
What makes rafting trips even better? The people who come for Gauley Season! Due to the more advanced paddling skills needed and the age requirements, the younger children are not on the bus. This in itself leads to some interesting conversations among guests and different, more adult-oriented safety talk presentations by the trip leaders.
For starters, the noise levels on the bus is typically doubled or tripled. Everyone realizes (or starts to) it’s a big whitewater party and THEY are the guests of honor on the bus. There’s no singing of “The wheels on the bus go ’round and ’round.” We may be on a school bus, but we’re not going to school! We’re going for the big ride, and it’s time to make some noise!
Or on the way back, with the adrenaline still raging though our veins, hardly anyone can sit still. I have seen many different scenarios play out on the bus, even thumb wrestling to decide a contest tiebreaker, complete with loud cheering from their fellow raft members.
Once, when there was a debate over who was a better paddler, guests started chanting “skin to win!” and this really big guy stood up, took his shirt off, and started swinging it around over his head! Everyone was laughing, hooting, and cheering for him. It is a fun time and as a river guide, it is good to see guests let go, relax, and just enjoy being themselves. Isn’t that what we all really need?
The bus ride in itself is also interesting as even the bus ride can seem like a class V rapid! Our experienced drivers are also part of the thrill of a Gauley River trip. Then the adrenaline kicks back in all over again, at the video tent when everyone watches their boat run the rapids, complete with more loud cheers, laughing, and good times.
Does anyone have some great or funny stories to share from the bus ride to or from the Gauley River?
Let’s get fired up!. The water is rising and Gauley season is here!