As a raft guide at the US National Whitewater Center, there are a number of people that believe our concrete channels provide a place to raft on a “fake” river. Of course, our fake river has real rocks and real water, in which a person would “real” drown given a unique set of circumstances. In defense of these misguided thoughts, due to the nature of the center, a number of hazards that exist in natural rivers have been eliminated, and a great deal of risk has been mitigated to the best of the designers’ ability. So no, our river is not a “fake” river, but it is a safe alternative, a gateway to the whitewater community that unknowingly exists in so many of our backyards.
Beyond the nature of the river itself, I’m frequently asked what it’s like to guide, if I like it and more importantly how long I’ve been guiding. But an answer isn’t that simple.
Jeff Wilber talks us through the wild and restless ways of the river in issue fourth issue of UNDO MAGAZINE.
Images by Paige Hogan Wilber