I got the call on a Thursday evening following a cursory text message to check my availability to chat, of course. My oldest, dearest friend wanted to know if I wanted to hit the Gauley River (again) this fall. Let me back up to say that our last Gauley trip was for my bachelorette party 19 years ago – definitely before bachelorette parties were a thing. Way back then, my friend planned an adventure getaway before my wedding that would bring five girls closer and impact our lives in ways we never dreamed.
Cut to the present where my heart was pumping just thinking of paddling big whitewater again, truly the most exciting trip of my life. Angie was right, I needed this trip. I had dropped my only daughter off at college just the week before and already the house seemed empty… you guessed it, the marriage didn’t last. But the memories of my girl’s trip on the Gauley River in the wilderness of West Virginia persisted.
I know I’m not the same person but darned if I’m not going to get back out there and experience some of the things in life that excite me most. Sure, I’ve taken many rafting trips since then; to Colorado, Alaska and even Costa Rica, but nothing quite compared to the exhilaration and adrenaline rush I felt on the Gauley River in West Virginia.
Angie had already done reconnaissance on the trip. She announced that we would go on the opening weekend of “Gauley Season” – the outfitter we used way back then is still going strong, plus they offer a buy one get one half price deal on weekdays (Angie is the consummate bargain shopper). We put it on blast to see how many other gals were game for the adventure. And amazingly, there are 10 of us who are confirmed for the trip! Of course, we’re all excited, nervous and anxious but I know that this trip, at this time in our lives, will be all that we anticipate.
Angie said the person she spoke with at River Expeditions recommended we do a two-day trip so we could get back in the groove of paddling, as it’s been a while since some of us have rafted. So on the first day, we’ll be on the Lower Gauley (the milder section) before we tackle the Upper Gauley the following day. One of the things I remember most about the trip is the awesome scenery. I know I’m not the only one in our group considered a “city slicker” and it seems our experiences in nature are even more cathartic for the soul… add some whitewater and friends and it’s a recipe for a great weekend in the making. Stay tuned for my next blogpost following the trip! Stacy P.
If you go, River Expeditions is a second generation, family owned outfitter. Their guides are fantastic and the vibe at their basecamp is casual, clean and relaxed. They have cabins to fit every taste, even “glampers” like us, as well as other amenities like an outdoor hot tub, massage studio and saloon (yes, we’ll need plenty of alcohol to soothe our nerves, I’m sure). Contact River Expeditions at 800.463.9873 or visit online at www.raftinginfo.com