Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Riggins, Idaho

I can now say that I have lived in a trailer, down by the river.

I don't know if I would say I 'live' in there - I just come to sleep after long, playful summer days and nights. In a former life, it was the office for the river company, so it has two rooms and a tiny bathroom without a shower. I pulled up the 'driveway' one night, illumintaing a 4 point buck in the 'backyard'-ish space in the bottom photo. Awoke the next morning at 5 am to the sound of machine gun fire and lightning - a summer hailstorm on a tin roof that knocked our sales network offline for the next four days. You can see traces of it, little white piles of hail on the porch in the top photo.
July 5 was my first day running a commercial trip on the Salmon River. Our company runs 16' Maravia rafts with stern mounted oar assist and paddle support. For non-boaters, that translates to a behemoth, multi hundred pound mass of rubber, with human powered plastic arms that stick out to give the beast momentum.

I started the morning as a passenger in another guide's boat, adding a paddler to his odd number of passengers. Our lines through the rapids were for the most part clean, until our last one of the day. I have now experienced my first, and if I have my way ONLY, commercial flip and class III swim with clients. At least we sent them home with a story, right? :) All things considered, the guests thought it was an awesome adventure.

The thing is, the Salmon, and all of the wild, natural features of this earth are like the God of the Old Testament - no respecter of persons. The elements have no regard for how straight you just went into that wave, what your kid's real age is, or how much those glasses cost. This isn't a plastic coated, hand paved water park. This is a raw vein of water that has carved thousands of feet through the granite and basalt layers of the crust of the planet - play upon its' surface at your own risk. And 99.9% of the time, you'll absolutely love it.

I have found deep peace with my decision to come here. I feel that I am in the right place at the right time, a feeling I have been devoid of for months of years at a time. It was liberating and appreciated for a while, but something in my has docked here and set anchor through the depths to a familiar bedrock. I am home, all is well.


Rindy and Shane said...

Wow Jenn! I've only flipped a commercial boat in training.. never with actual paying customers. That must have been quite a rush! Or pure terror for those milliseconds when you are surrounded by nothing but water and have no idea where everyone else is landed.. and you are totally responsible for them! Glad the only drownings were a pair of sunglasses!

oh.. Belly button: belly button goes out first of the airplane. Breath: remember TO breath and breath through your teeth. Banana: Arch your back like a banana! WE are going again when we are down in Moab for the Family reunion.

Tyler & Katie Rice said...

you are quasi living in riggins right now?! I have drivin through there about 6 times in the last 2 weeks. we just moved to moscow! if you want a different trailer to crash in sometime ... we will have an extra room as soon as things are cleaned.