Dear Kicking Horse River Rafter,
I know we only met once, and it was brief, but I have something to tell you—I love you. Your adventurous spirit and wild heart still bring a smile to my face. Your nervous laughter and darty eyes during morning check-in that later turned into boisterous laughs and a carefree spirit. Your confidence in myself and your fellow rafters was a beautiful thing to watch unfold. You weren’t just a random person in a black wetsuit and orange lifejacket sitting in my red raft. You were a fellow rafter, a friend. And I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart. Here’s why…
Without you my job wouldn’t exist. I am fortunate to wake up every day and call the river my office is because you chose to take your vacation. Time is precious – but you committed your free time to spend a day with me and my colleagues – and I can’t thank you enough. The river is my home, my sanctuary, my life and folks like you let me continuously bask in its beauty
You make it all worth it. Being a river guide sounds glorious, I know. But I’m going to let you in on a little secret: Over half of our job is spent off the water. Tasks like hanging wetsuits, washing boots, gluing rafts until the wee hours of the morming are not exactly what rafting dreams are made of. But showing up to work to smiling faces like yours every morning is nothing short of amazing. And the five or so hours that I actually get to spend on the water with you each day are MAGICAL. Your excitement about nature and adventure is contagious and I can’t help but grin as you hoot and holler through the wave trains.
And let me tell you, your transformation on the river was inspiring. You might have been a little nervous at first, but you learned to trust, and go with the flow, and you were a rockstar. I saw you face your fears out there today – It was beautiful. You unplugged from life even if only for a day and you changed. And that is what keeps me coming back year after year—that look in your eyes after you finally let the river into your soul. The Kicking Horse has that effect on people
You taught me about life. I want you to know that while I looked super focussed on the river most of the day, well I am! But I’m also trying to engage. I was listening to every word you said And I’m wiser because of it. You were the 70-year-old man who took me under your trembling arm to give me advice on living with intention. You were the 45-year-old woman who told me I could call you mom. You were the 16-year-old girl who decided that you wanted to be a guide instead of a model.. You were the 7-year-old boy who said, “this is the best day of my life” after giving the oars a try.You were open, honest and authentic…how could I not fall in love?
Your Kicking Horse River Guide