This Week’s Photo Showcase: Advanced Guide School On the TuolumnePosted May 12, 2006 by Robyn Suddeth
On Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday this week, All Outdoors conducted an advanced, high water guide school on the Tuolumne River. Flows varied between 7400 and 9000 cfs, and we rafted the whole river each day.
The main idea behind the training was to refine high water technique and, as Adam put it with a big grin on his face: “expand some of your comfort zones.” All of us that were supposed to row boats down through Clavey Rapid on the second and third days had already experienced high water trips the year before, but not on flows as big as we would be facing in those three days.
And so, mornings consisted of some very nervous guides quietly rigging their boats while everyone else caught up on winter-time gossip, big meetings about team boating and what to do in the case of a flip or swimmers, and last minute reminders from veteran guides that we were all out there ultimately, of course, to have a good time. (This did little to still the butterflies flying around in everyone’s stomachs.) Some of us may have even wondered, “Why am I here again??”
I had lucked out and managed to avoid taking my own boat until the third morning, giving me an extra day to get all the lines solidified in my mind. But I was still a nervous wreck in the morning, taking five minutes to adjust my oars and asking Adam how to rig my frame. (Something that I’m perfectly capable of doing on my own.)
That’s the beauty in the challenge though. We all pulled together, told each other that we knew they could do it, that if anything went wrong we’d all be there looking out and helping to clean it up. Adam told me specifically to put “little Robyn” away and rig my frame exactly the way I knew how to. And then we rowed and paddled, sometimes smoothly and in perfect partnership with the water, sometimes in a frenzied panic, for the next hour and a half until we made it through Clavey.
And then we were there… that magical place on the Tuolumne just downstream of Clavey Falls, when you can breathe your first breath of relief all day long, laugh about whatever excitement had ensued upstream, and smile in elation and pride about an incredibly challenging and powerful day. And you are reminded: “This, is why I’m here.”
These pictures are from our time both on the river and hanging out together the nights in between. I couldn’t be happier about the community of people I’m working with this summer. The experience wouldn’t be near as magical without them…
Some Black and Whites From the Scout at Clavey Falls:
Pam and Joe Not Looking Nervous At All!
Boys Being Hardcore:
The One, The Only, Clavey Falls:
Evenings Hanging Out in the Warehouse at Casa Loma:
Fun With Food:
The Best Part Is All That Laughter…
Lunchtime At Indian Campground:
Soaking It In:
Matt’s Hero Stance (Leftover From Those WWF Days)
Some Needed Relaxation:
Our Last Few Hours On The River:
Pam, aka “Mama Bear”, taking us home:
Drew thinking about the hard life we all lead:
Adam not looking too happy about relinquishing those oars:
Ryan giving me a big, bright smile: