By Guide, Co-Owner, and Swift-water Rescue Student, Michael Wald
Each and every spring Arctic Wild guides head-out on the river to hone our skills, shake out the cobwebs and enjoy the camaraderie of camping with our friends/ co-workers. This year Arctic Wild organized a Swiftwater Rescue Course with a fantastic instructor from out of state. For two full days we donned dry-suits while Abi Polsby from Rescue 3 International put us through a series of challenging and informative exercises. We practiced rescue swimming, tossing throw ropes, and flipping rafts back over. We learned new methods for freeing boats stuck on the rocks, new knots, and all about how to keep rafting and canoeing in Alaska as safe as possible. We swam hard in the fast glacial river all day long and stayed up late around the fire telling river stories. Though all of us have spent years and years on the river, every one of us left the course better equipped to deal with emergencies should they arise. And more importantly, I think we gained new skills for avoiding trouble whether paddling the Kugururok, the Hulahula or the frothy Copper River.
Stellar guide, Cynthia Merrow summed it up best “What a great life we have that we can act like kids in the river, and still have a ton to learn in our profession.”
A big thanks to our guides for taking the time to improve important skills. And thanks again to Abi for an outrageously fun and informative weekend.