What We’ve Learned So Far …
by Veronica Crosier
The clock on the wall of the Tan Building shows 7:31 a.m. marking the beginning another of raft guide training day here at ACE. Not a soul is late for its arrival.
Today we run the Lower New. Twice. Oh, and the trainers hand over their guide sticks to us. Scotty O., one of our trainers, says today’s lesson focuses primarily on voice projection.
I speculate this is because when the trainee who’s ridden the river fewer times than you could count on one hand begins guiding a raft of trainees into a class IV rapid, the chances of careening toward something not nice will be fairly high. And so he or she must able to project loudly in order to be heard over the terrified cries and frantic yelling of those in the raft.
Anyone else have butterflies?
Our first trip goes super-smooth. Many of the trainees really step up to the plate. We’re giving commands with authority, motivating our crew, and even fitting bits of history and humor into our guide spiels. To top it off, the sun even surprises us by showing its shining face for a few moments after two consecutive brisk and cloudy days.
The second trip finishes with equal success. Our trainers agree that everyone has shown improvement. As we bounce up the mountain in our bus one trainee remarks that this is the chattiest our group has been since the start of training. She’s right.
Looking around the seats, only smiling faces and bright eyes can be seen conversing excitedly amongst one another. So perhaps the purpose of voice projection wasn’t to be heard over the shouting of four-letter words, but rather to be heard over the cheering and celebrating amongst ourselves for rapids well run.
Lesson of the Day: Keep your eyes on the horizon and your paddle in the water.