465 (7/1/09)

     While the Red River of the North spills again over its banks with rainwater, the St. Louis River, on the other side of our beautiful state, is thirsting for water. Our guides on last Thursday’s whitewater rafting trip described it as the lowest volume of flow any of them have seen for a guided trip.

     Short of drying up, low water on a big river doesn’t mean no whitewater. It often just means changes in the rapids. The changes made by high water might be more thrilling, especially to well-seasoned paddlers, but the low flow went totally unnoticed to our group of twenty-one whitewater adventurers, and we had a great memory-making day.

     The very first thing they teach you on the river is the proper method of using your paddle, not to move and maneuver your raft, but to splash large volumes of water on whoever is occupying a neighboring raft. They will certainly splash back, but safely, thanks to the professional trainers. And everyone is going to get wet, anyway, so who cares. It’s great fun.

     All those water-wars are a lot more fun when it’s hot, and it was our good luck to hit the hottest day of rafting this season. Clear skies, temperatures in the high 80’s, great guides, beautiful scenery, good food, and the remote course of the river all helped make this an unforgettable experience for everyone.

     Things get more serious when the real whitewater comes, and Superior Whitewater Professionally Guided Raft Tours of Carlton does an excellent job of preparing even the most inexperienced for a day of total enjoyment. Their instructions and training are thorough and easy to understand, and their leadership on the river assures a day of safe and exciting whitewater adventure.

     Thanks to everyone for making our 14th annual rafting trip possible, especially Tim Miller and Crystal Hills Church, Richie and Marilyn Gottwald, and Roxanne Gale. Beth Schlangen, a long-time Trail Guard turned working mom, was also able to join us and help out.

     This year’s brave young rafters were Mark and Melissa Hawkinson, Luke and MaKayla Gottwald, Meagan Andert, Tyler and Chris (CJ) Barkley, Katie Schwalbe, Eli Clawson, Thomas and Gina Coakley, Megan Wolters, Alex Lee, Dawn Anderson, and Brianna Stang.

     I got a very interesting comment from George, the owner and operator of Superior Whitewater. He has run about 100,000 people down the river in his 24 ½ years of business, and has had many youth groups come through. He told me in all sincerity that the Trail Guards consistently brings the nicest group of kids they get, and explained how much they appreciate how that makes their job so much easier when we are there. So the real thanks goes to our great kids for representing themselves and the Trail Guards well when we are out doing our thing. THANK YOU!

     Saturday morning was back to work at the park to earn their way on upcoming exciting, wholesome, and sometimes challenging outdoor adventures. The park is looking great, so stop for a visit, and if you see a Trail Guard on the street, thank them for their hard work.