“What does your fall look like?”
My answer to his question was a personal revelation. “I have nothing planned for the rest of my life.”
Obviously, that will change. There are plans in the making, and I know sometime within the month my life will move over to Idaho. I will start generating a living, and plans will be made.
But for now! Nothing! A blank calender faces me! I am happily, joyfully, unemployed and free. “Enjoy it,” My friend said to me. “It may be the only time in your life this happens.”
And I am enjoying it, and taking on opportunities I wouldn’t be able to do otherwise, such as hopping on a trip run by another company. My friends were working it and they had two guests cancel last minute. So, having nothing better to do, I hiked into camp on the first day and joined the trip.
What a wonderful time. Not only did I get to spend time with friends but I got to see how another company ‘does things’ on the river. It is good experience to be an observer once and a while.
I got some bonus experience too when on day three we passed a boat that had been wrapped on the ‘Can Opener’ rock in China Bar rapid (see photo at the end). The boat was a rental, so private boaters were the responsible, rather, irresponsible party. The guides and I got the very fun opportunity to try and get this boat unstuck from the Can Opener while our guests unsuspectingly explored the Rogue River Ranch.
I wasn’t very involved in the process, other than setting up duckie (aka inflatable kayak) safety downstream. One of the guides paddled another guide in a duckie to the downstream side of the boat where he jumped on and began wiggling, pushing, prying, de-rigging the frame, deflating outside tubes and cutting out the webbing that connected the floor of this poor boat. Finally, the boat came loose and we floated it down to our lunch spot to surprise the guests.
Being the river guide with no agenda on the trip I got the honors of rowing the boat. The boat itself was OK but the frame had been bent and mashed up the holes for the oar locks. We cam-strapped a spare oar onto the frame and forced an oar lock into the the other side of the frame. I was ready to go through Mule Creek Canyon and Blossom Bar.
And I made it, wonky set up and all. It was a good test of my skills to have to row an unruly boat through tough water. The confidence booster was just what I needed to end my season on.
At the end of the trip the TL generously gave me a small cut of the tip from the trip. “I don’t know what you expected,” she said “but thanks for your help.”
I laughed and told her and the crew that allowing me to eat the food and play on their trip was what I was really grateful for.
“I didn’t expect anything,” I said. Then it occurred to me “I work for free; it’s how I make my living.”