When Rafting Meets Romance

I was looking for some blog inspiration and I found it — wearing a plastic helmet and P.F.D. Her name is Sharon.

She brought her adult son and daughter, as well as her slightly-nervous-son-in-law on a Premier Lower New trip. We met at ACE’s put-in, made brief introductions, and headed for the current.On the surface, Sharon didn’t appear to be the perfect blog inspiration. She was enthusiastic, but enjoyed letting her kids do more of the talking. They had interesting lives and stories, but pieces of information about their mother kept coming to the surface.

When her daughter, Sarah, talked about her mother providing venison (deer meat) for the family, I couldn’t resist some prying. It turns out that Sharon is an avid hunter and fisher-woman. She enjoys those hobbies with her boyfriend.

And here is where the “Rafting Romance” enters the story.

Sharon met her boyfriend, Joe, at ACE on a rafting trip 15 years ago! She was a recent divorcee and joined a chartered bus trip heading for West Virginia with the goal of meeting everyone on the trip.

By the end of the weekend, she had nearly accomplished this task, but there was still one last “unapproachable” guy. She forced herself to make conversation and they ended up sitting together for the 11-hour bus ride home.

“We’ve been together ever since,” Sharon said.

Now, believe me, I’ve had a few moments on the river that nearly brought me to tears, but this was certainly the happiest of those moments.

The rest of the day was filled with sunshine, good rapids, interesting stories, and fun people. I really couldn’t ask for a better day on the river.

For the last rapid, the slightly-nervous-son-in-law was sitting closer to the front of the boat and declared that he would like to do more rafting. Brandy, another nervous boater, had decided to jump from Jump Rock and also swim through a swimmers’ rapid. So I’d say it was a success!

And the experience reminded me how I’m not just providing a trip down the river. I might be part of a budding romance, a blossoming hobby, a burgeoning life change. Okay, I’ll get my head out of the clouds; you get the picture.

But if you’re thinking what I’m thinking, you’ll put together a “singles trip” of your own or join up with a group and come to ACE. Need some inspiration? Here are my top five reasons why whitewater rafting makes a great first date:

1. No worries about your outfit — we provide the rafting apparel.

2. The group setting helps keep the conversation moving.

3. Food is provided, so there’s no stress over ordering, paying, etc.

4. The scenery is better than the best movie theater and the action is not digitally produced.

5. When a “hottie” helps to pull you back in to the raft (seemingly saving your life), romance sparks will fly! Just try to keep it PG!

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