I rolled into Jackson Wyoming with a car full of books, blankets, a bamboo plant, and my favorite passenger-seat companion: my guitar. After making the trek from Pennsylvania to Utah, I couldn’t wait for the five hour drive to be over and to be back in the Wyoming Wild. The mountains in Star Valley were still frosted with winter, reminding me of the high water season I’d get to be a part of. With each mile gone by I was closer to a season of hard work and adventure. I’ll never forget pulling into the Dave Hansen Boat House to see the guides unloading the boats and life jackets and the sky a cloudy, cool overcast. I was greeted with big, warm “Patagucci” hugs and even bigger and warmer smiles. I was back for my second season at dee aych double dub (DHWW) and, like a seasoned river worker, was planning on staying through the late season. Almost all of the Dave Hansen family were back on board and I was prepped for a good summer.
June was rainy. And cold. But the water was awesome. And the Dave Hansen customers that met us during the early water season were almost as stoked as all of us were. Donned in wetsuits and splash gear they were geared up to take on the Class IV rapid Lunch Counter.
July meant hot days and starry nights, “surfing,” and the rise of Big Kahuna (a rapid that doesn’t exist in high water but that is the rapid king when the water is low). The busy season was upon us and we met people from all over the world. We met people from Germany, the Netherlands, China, New Zealand, and Brazil. July also meant the completion of many of our new river guides training (including my own)! Many hours spent learning to read water, carry out and instruct on safety procedures, and basically help the people coming to raft with us have the best time possible.
At the beginning of August we received an email that announced the following:
The 2009 Best of Jackson Award in the category of River Trips goes to…
Dave Hansen Whitewater
A big thank you goes out to all of you that have made this summer what it is. It has been fun extending the Dave Hansen family and getting to experience the river at all of its levels and changes. We have loved getting to know you on an individual basis and have loved even more trying to get you soaking wet.
When I dipped into Jackson Hole I had no idea what this summer would bring. I ended up with some incredible friends, great Chaco tan lines, and a lot of adventurous memories to take with me in the upcoming winter months. I’m still looking forward to the remainder of this season. The changing leaves to observe on the scenic trips, the continuation of whitewater, the cooler nights and the campfires that come with them. We look forward to meeting those of you who are autumning with us.
Raft on. -Emily