For some river guides, the move to river season is as simple as driving their car with the few belongings they have to the warehouse. For the ones that have a semi-permanent residence in the winter, this process can be a bit more complicated. Either way, river guides get excited when their season comes around! Here's how we prepare to head back to our summertime homes.

A few months out:

First of all, guides have to decide if it is worth paying rent all summer to keep their winter residence and store their stuff there. Very few guides I have met actually do this. Once it is decided that the guide is moving (yet again!) they need to figure out a time limit. For those that work seasonally this may mean a month or two between ski season and river season, but for those of us that are students, this can be a few days squished between finals.

If you have a dog (I am one of the rare river guides who do) now it is time to secure a home for him/her for the summer. Parents are a good option for this, unless you have a really good and very trustworthy friend. Some companies that only run day trips allow dogs to live with the guide, but for most of us it is a sacrifice we have to make for our jobs to be without our dog.

Usually guides begin some sort of workout routine during this time period to get their bodies in shape for river season.

A few weeks out:

About a month before the expected moving date Craigslist becomes a guide’s best friend. All the furniture they bought from Craigslist last fall gets posted back up and we start watching our email’s constantly. Just hoping to get a little cash in our wallet before we leave!

For most guides, their employers already know they will be leaving for the summer, or the job is seasonal. If not, a guide gives two weeks notice.

If the guide doesn’t have enough time to do all of the moving between wrapping up work or school, and moving for river season, some preliminary packing and moving may begin now.

This is when the workout routine usually falls by the wayside because there are too many other things going on to find time to workout. Plus, river season is almost here!

A week out:

Now is the time that the real moving begins. For river guides this usually means donating or throwing away a large part of their personal belongings. The more times you make the move from house to car, the easier it gets (you learn not to buy so much stuff during the winter!). But, everything must now fit in your car instead of an apartment. Hopefully by now you have sold your desk and dresser; if you haven’t, it gets put on the curb with a "free" sign, and any hopes of extra cash are given up. Clothes and gear gets packed into Rubbermaid containers and put in the car. If you are lucky you have a friend nearby that has a garage where you can ditch your ski gear for the summer. If not, that comes too!

A few days out:

Now that all the hard work is over the only thing left to do is to say goodbye to your apartment, school, coworkers, dog, friends and family. We catch up on all our emails and phone calls, and make sure there is nothing left that will need to be taken care of in the next few months. Then we get in our car with all our belongings and drive north (or south depending on where you live and where you guide)!

The day of:

The day that everyone arrives at the warehouse to begin training is the best day of the season for guides. Everyone gets to see their best friends that they haven’t seen in nine months, and everyone is excited for the new season. The beginning of the season is one of the few times in life where everything seems to be exactly as it should be. And maybe even when we feel exactly where we should be.

Happy rafting season!



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