After all the dangerous waters I had to negotiate in Deadly Currents and Wicked Eddies, I thought I’d take a break from patrolling the Arkansas River in Colorado as a river ranger and go back to being a whitewater rafting guide, this time on the Colorado River in Utah (in Deadly Currents). But I forgot how much work it is being a rafting guide!
Before this trip for twelve tourists even started, trouble came sniffing around our heels like a camp squirrel begging for a handout. Our best guide, Gonzo, forgot some important gear when he provisioned the trip and had to scrounge it from another outfitter. And I had to juggle the tent assignments when we found out that one “family” really wasn’t a family and didn’t want to sleep together. Rob, my fiancé and co-owner of RM Outdoor Adventures, keeps telling me that things will work out, but I’m not so sure.
First of all, I’ve never rafted the Colorado River, let alone guided a group down it. I just hope I can follow the leads of the other guides through the rapids and keep my raft from flipping. Second, we’re stuck with these tourists for five whole days in Meander and Cataract Canyons, a hundred long miles of river to paddle, and we don’t expect to see another soul on the trip. That’s because we’re going off-season in the fall, after the other outfitters have all closed up shop. This is part of Rob’s plan to extend our business into the spring and fall seasons by offering unique trips, like this combination climbing and rafting trip. I sure hope his plan works. I’m not very happy about the climbing guide he hired, though. Tom “Cool” O’Day seems kind of sleazy to me.
But I’m excited, too. I’m looking forward to doing some sightseeing along the Colorado—exploring native American ruins and rock art, a petrified wood forest, the cliff Thelma and Louise were filmed jumping off in their car, and the beautiful Doll House formation high up on the canyon rim. I hear the Milky Way is magnificent to see at night, too, since there’s no light pollution in the canyon. And running the huge rapids in Cataract Canyon is supposed to be a blast, even in the fall, when the water flows are lower, but still much higher than what we have on the Arkansas River.
I know I’ll be working my ass off from dawn until long after dusk, setting up and breaking down camps, cooking meals, training our tourists to paddle the rapids, and keeping everyone entertained and safe. That’s a rafting guide’s lot. I can count on Rob and our two guides, Gonzo and Kendra, to chip in and do their share of the work. I just hope Mr. Cool and the tourists chip in, too. And that the tourists give the guides a good tip at the end of the trip. Hopefully that’s all I’ll have to worry about. I sure don’t want any injuries, or for anyone to have to swim a rapid.
Well, time to go to the trip meet-and-greet at Milt’s Stop & Eat, supposedly the best burger and shake joint in Moab, Utah. After a long day of prepping and checking everyone in, I’m ready to chow down on some of their tater tots that everyone keeps talking about. And we guides are all primed to get the tourists excited and in the mood for fun. On most multi-day trips, personality problems crop up and have to be smoothed over, and I can see the potential for that in this group. But no more than usual, really. No one seems ready to kill anyone else yet.
Beth is giving away one (1) copy of FATAL DESCENT. Leave a comment to be included in the giveaway. The book will be shipped directly from the author. Contest ends June 14 and US entries only.
Meet the author:
Bestselling mystery author Beth Groundwater writes the Claire Hanover gift basket designer series (A Real Basket Case, a Best First Novel Agatha Award finalist, and To Hell in a Handbasket) and the Rocky Mountain Outdoor Adventures series starring whitewater river ranger Mandy Tanner (Deadly Currents an Amazon #3 overall bestseller, and Wicked Eddies, finalist for the Rocky Award). The third books in both series will appear in 2013, starting with Fatal Descent this month. Beth enjoys Colorado’s many outdoor activities, including skiing and whitewater rafting, and loves talking to book clubs. Please visit her website, blog, Facebook page and Goodreads page.
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