Saturday, July 08, 2006

Whitewater Rafting vs Raftin'

I really need to go whitewater rafting... stuck in the office, in front of the computer, working for the paycheck that's never enough; I really need to be on the river... Fourth of July has come and gone and I read news reports of the crazies in Sacramento on the Lower American River.

The urban giant flows through Sacramento and attracts the most hideous group of hillbilly idiots during the 4th. With IQ's lower than a potato (sorry to all the french fry lovers) the 4th draws the young and stupid out for "fun in the sun" with their inner tubes and plastic rafts, except it usually means the cops are out in droves trying to prevent the idiots from harming themselves and each other.Summer rafting trips

American River trips

What a contrast... what a difference it makes to go from that scene to the beauty and challenge on the South Fork American River or the wilderness trip on the Middle Fork American. There, W.E.T. River Trips took several families, groups and corporate trips on various whitewater sections of those rivers during the long four day holiday (did
anyone work on Monday?). No alcohol is ever permitted on the rafts and it really makes a difference in the way people conduct themselves. Paddling participants are really into the beauty and serenity of the river itself. More reflect on the challenges of the whitewater and how to negotiate the difficult rapids. The focus is on the river; not drinking or drugging yourself to oblivion.

Our professional whitewater guides enjoy the youthful exhuberance of rafting teens and newcomers who bring new eyes to the river. Those people are given an opportunity to really appreciate nature and the true beauty of dynamic rivers. Now, I'm not saying that the urban river in Sacramento is not beautiful... au contraire mon amis... it is one of the jewels of California. That broad river meandering through the state capitol in Sacramento has inspired more artists and paddlers than probably any river in the state. It's just that hooligans have disrespected its soul and have desecrated its face with slovenly behavior, dumping garbage and waste on the beautiful beaches and water. I'd like to grab all those people and drag them up to the whitewater sections just an hour from Sac... just to show them what real rafters do: respect the river, challenge it on its own value and preserve its natural state as much as possible.

Whitewater rafting has changed so many people's minds about the process of rafting. More people have had life altering changes because of a simple rafting trip. I've seen our guests challenge whitewater rapids, love the sport so much, that they go out and buy an inflatable kayak to paddle on urban rivers and other waterways throughout the country. It is a soulful endeavor and I really need to get my "fix" soon. I need to be out there paddling, rocking with the raft over the waves, lazily floating under Mr Sun and challenging a whitewater rapid. Summer is definitely here. And hopefully, the shameful behavior in the valley will either be legislated away or the river gods will finally put a stop to it.

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