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Beginner Whitewater Training trip-- Moab Daily
By Heidi DeMartis
| The WMC generously schedules a beginning boating trip every year for those of us who don't know up from down on the river. There is an incredible amount of organization which goes into these trips and I have a tremendous respect for these organizers. Foremost, there is the organization of the gear and no one is more organized than Bret Mathews. Bret ensures the gear is in good order, tracked when used, safely loaded onto trailers and then stored properly back into the boat shed. We aren't just talking rafts and paddles here. There are also oar boats, inflatable kayaks, complete kitchen set-ups, life jackets, first-aid supplies, tools in case something goes wrong -- which it will -- and more. Then there is the organization of the scrumptious meals provided. All trip members participate in the purchasing of food and meal preparation. Each meal is assigned a team captain who plans the meal and delegates/teaches beginners everything from sanitation of hands and dishes to recognizing when the percolated coffee is ready. These meals were by far tastier and more generous than most of us experience at home! Next there are the logistics of getting people and gear to the destination and assignments on the river. Kelly Beumer, the 2018 Beginning Trip Organizer ensured we received exposure to the boats we were interested in. Thank you Kelly and Martin for your patience all weekend long! Additionally, there were other excellent mentors (too many to mention here) who taught us everything from self-rescue and rescuing others to setting up a "Z-drag" back at camp. In our case, it showed how a mere mortal can move a camper truck and trailer with the use of a pulley system; however, on the river it can release a boat stuck in-between rocks. Lastly, thanks go to Frank and Jennifer Chan for hauling most of the gear and to Jen Heineman and Kelly for figuring out the finances for 22 people.
Here are some additional highlights from the trip:
The scenery was spectacular and weather comfortable.
Brian suggested a way of staging gear which was not only efficient, but helped avoid a thunder storm on our last day.
Watching Jen Heineman maneuver her shiny new CAT down the river was a thing of beauty.
Luke taught the group how to play "box and rope" in the evenings, a low tech game almost as fun as rock, paper, scissors.
Kaeli flawlessly showed us how to complete a self-rescue while holding onto her boat and paddle.
We all shared a sense of "We vs. Me" and learned boating is more fun with teamwork. Thank you all for a fabulous trip!