I have often read the comment about new friendships being made on a rafting trip, but never fully understood what that meant until my last Western River expedition. When I think of the meaning of friendship, I think of someone that listens to what I have to say, helps me through personal challenges, puts up with my vices, praises my good habits, and enjoys my company.
When on a river trip, you get to see the “real” person. Think about it. You are together for up to seven days, 24 hours a day. You share campsites, you eat three meals a day together, you bath in the river, and you witness hidden fears of those around you.
You also get to encourage that “real” person to go out of their comfort zone, to share shooting stars, to give an extra hand in the fire line, to spend a few leisurely hours in a ducky just talking,
When the trip is over and names and emails are voluntarily exchanged, you know you made a true friend when you can stay in touch long after getting home or you continue to communicate after the adrenalin of the trip wears off. You know you have a strong friendship when you can't wait to send someone a message for something as silly as hearing the word "groover"at work or the words "smile" and "break" spoken in the same sentence. You come across an interesting article you just have to share with that friend because they will "get it." Or most importantly when you long for the river, you know they will understand that you are in dire need to reminisce about the trip, and simply listen to you go on and on and on.
Whether it is making new friends, bonding with old friends, or forming a stronger friendship with your loved ones, each situation is worth the gain on a river rafting trip. I am very fortunate that I have made some life long friends from my days on the river and can't wait to travel downstream with them again!
Green River in Desolation Canyon