Editor’s note: Gentle Podunk readers have for all intents and purposes watched Her Royal Highness and Odd Number grow up. I know you’ll join me in my motherly awe and adoration when you read HRH’s tale of running the mighty Alsek River in Alaska.
First Times: Life Lessons From the Upper Alsek
As I checked my boat’s rig for the fourth time over, I tried to calm my breathing amidst the ominous roaring in the background, reminding me of what was to come. It was the biggest rapid I had ever run, though I was adamant not to admit it when the guests asked me if that was the case. Seth was still downriver scouting the rapid, talking over with the rest of the crew as to what the game plan was going to be. I knew what I thought the game plan was supposed to be, but after over a decade of running rivers, I knew one thing for certain: that sometimes you need to have a plan A, B, C, D, E… It wasn’t that I was doubting my river running competency, but it was the sheer magnitude of the situation that kept me on edge. Matthew was beside me on his boat, putting on his drysuit. I was trying not to make eye contact to avoid confronting how nervous I felt that I looked. I was ensuring every piece of gear had multiple strap points on it; tightening my frame down; reviewing that my oar leashes were properly tied; stowing away my loose cockpit items; replacing the weight of where my guests had been sitting with gear bags. We decided to have everyone but the guides walk around the massive rapid, and we instructed one person to sit at the entrance, using their bright orange PFD and neon yellow rubber rain suit as a marker of where we needed to make our big initial move….
To read the rest of HRH’s post go to the Wilderness River Outfitters website https://wildernessriver.com/first-times-life-lessons-from-the-upper-alsek/