Springtime means different things to each individual, but for me, it’s time to migrate to West Virginia. I’m back for my third season of river guiding, and I couldn’t be more excited.When I got into town, I rushed to my river managers and said, “Give me some work!” But to my shock, they handed me a rake and a shovel. No, it’s not new river gear, nor have I been demoted. The fact is, vacationers seem to be making weekend trips this time of year, which leaves Monday through Thursday open for creative work opportunities.
If you’ve read this blog, you know that ACE is always adding buildings, activities, landscaping and roads. They labor and toil all winter long to get ready for the next season. But with deadlines looming, they’ll take all the help they can get to finish the projects.
And most of us guides don’t complain because we like paychecks as much as anyone else. So I thought I’d share some of the behind-the-scenes raft guide life that has very little to do with whitewater.
My first adventure was helping to clean out the mud obstacle course. What an oxymoron, cleaning up a mud pit! But we wanted to get the worst of the leaves and sticks out of the pits so that visitors could have the optimal brown-water experience.
Later that day, we smoothed out the mulch around the ropes course. Wow, that’s a tall tower! I’m very impressed by you folks who climb that thing. And now you’ll have a nice clean view of the ground below you, if you dare look down.
When the spring rain came back, we found some indoor work. You’ve probably heard about the new Welcome Center. It’s going to be an amazing improvement on the former building.
And whenever you visit us, I want you to notice the shiny oiled walls and ceiling because some of us guides spent a lot of time applying that stuff. I’m not sure I’ll ever get all of the polyurethane off of my skin, but the rooms look great.
So that’s what’s new in the raft guide life. I’ll check in again soon with some true river stories, if they ever let me on the river.