Great Training Opportunity!
Just wanted to share an opportunity that I was offered. As I posted in a couple of threads, I am an intermediate rafter with a 14 foot cat. Been running the Deschutes, Klickitat and John Day rivers here in the PNW. On my "to do list" are the Rouge, lower Salmon, main Salmon and Snake rivers but I have not felt that my boatman skills were where they should be for these bigger and more technical rivers.
One of my resources for river info on the Klickitat is Zollers based in BZ Corner on the White Salmon just south of Trout Lake, Washington at the foot of Mt. Adams. I was speaking with a guide about any updates on the infamous "tree of doom" on the Klickitat and we got to talking about their rafting guide school.
I sent an email to the owner about attending this class but had a twist. As I am always running a rowing rig and not a paddle boat, my needs are different from what they offer in their school. I had posed the question about taking the class but in my rig.
I received a an email with a great alternative proposal. For a reduced cost, they offered to put me on a gear boat with a coach to run a 3 day 79 mile trip on the Snake River through Hell`s Canyon. I would be at the helm the entire trip receiving hands on coaching every step of the way running at higher flows and bigger rapids than I have yet navigated.
In exchange for this special course and lower cost, I will be a regular crew member in the sense of river and shore duties which for me is a bonus as there will no doubt be all kinds of things that I can learn to streamline my own private trips.
I am stoked about this opportunity for many reasons. One is obviously the "on the job training" to improve my skills on the river and two is the opportunity to run one of my goal rivers the first time under supervision. This will make my first solo trip through Hell`s Canyon much more confident and relaxing. All I have to do now is make sure I get the personal days from work approved.
The plan is May 31`st through June 2`nd and I am thinking this is going to be some pretty big flows and rapids like Granite and Wild Sheep should be huge. Total cost to me is estimated at $375 and that includes transportation to and from the river. I can`t organize my own trip for this cheap when you factor in gas and shuttle and food for the trip.
I am hopeful this class will boost my confidence in my own skills to tackle the other rivers on my list before going for the "grand prize" which is Cataract Canyon!