North Fork American was kicking last Sunday. Another late put-in with the flow on the downside at around 2,700 cfs. Most of our guests were great paddlers and in good shape. Only trouble we had was a language barrier. How do the guides manage guests who may have a language barrier? Basic commands are easy to relay during the safety talk through interpreters and sign language; but how do you convey all the nuances of every situation ie, falling out of a boat, high-side, flips, wraps, swimming to an eddy, etc etc. As the safety talk unfolded, each guide takes his guests into his raft and continues with more conversations involving safety and their individual styles of guiding. Each question was greeted with nods and acknowledgements as the guides ran down commands and indiosyncracies of their own particular guiding techniques.
One thing that would really help is letting us know that there may be a language barrier. It would give us an opportunity to make sure that the interpreter was there during the safety talks. Though our international participants on our trips may speak English, I wonder how many really understand all the information for our whitewater rafting trips. We ask trip leaders to give us a heads-up and also help us during the safety talks by clarifying those nuances with their friends and our guests.
This upcoming Memorial Day Weekend looks like a busy one for the American River outfitters. All three forks are looking good. The Middle Fork American is still a bit high, but both the North Fork American and South Fork are looking like great runs this weekend.