Norway, Mich. (WZMQ) – The True North Outpost was bubbling with excitement as they welcomed 14 new raft guides to their team this week. Among the eager trainees were two bright students from Kingsford High School, Paige Briseno and Logan O’Brion, who were feeling ready to take their training to the next level.
Paige and Logan were overflowing with potential, and both of these young Yoopers agreed that training to be a raft guide was unforgettable.
“Even experiencing being able to go down and learn about stuff, really makes me feel like I – like I can do this. And that makes me feel like I mean, I can be in charge. It really is a great leadership opportunity,” Briseno said.
“To get people to do what you want, you have to be confident to get people to do what you want, and it just helps with everything really,” O’Brion added.
There were more seasoned guides at True North, like Fi Hessert, who had been a raft guide for four years.
“It’s really one of the most collaborative things you can do, right? We’re all working together to try to get down the river safe,” Hessert said.
“Right now we’re unloading the rafts, we’re getting ready to go on the river, so we’re doing what we call training runs today, so we’re taking the guides through a few times before, and they’re kind of getting familiar with the river and then today we can start really pushing them to guide their own rafts and just kind of fly,” Hessert informed. She added that it’s the summer camp culture that keeps her coming back to guide the adventures year after year. She recommended giving rafting a try.
The trainees get pushed harder than a typical customer out for an adventure, to make sure that they know how to handle any situation that they might encounter, and being able to plan for safety on the river. The seasoned guides seemed to know every wave and rock that was a part of the rapids. They had interesting names when planning which ways to guide the rafts, like “the chipmunks” for a smaller, more kid-friendly set of waves.
There is a left line and a right line when heading down the river, and the left line offers an adventurous and fun but more tame route. The right line is for the most adventurous souls looking for an adrenaline rush. They know another set of waves they call “the sisters” and a V-shaped rock called “Volkswagen”. The most daunting pit of doom in an especially turbulent zone they dubbed the “Hellhole”.
Nate Alwine, a co-owner of the outpost, said the rapids offered a one-of-a-kind training experience for a career in the outdoors. Just last week, the river was running ridiculously high at ten-thousand cubic feet per second. “We were talking like 10,000 ft.³ per second, and if you want a point of reference, a cubic foot is about the size of a basketball,” he remarked.
“For kids, these rapids are big rapids. If somebody comes here and learns how to guide here, it’s a really good springboard to go anywhere else in the world and start commercially guiding other places. While this section of Rapids may be shorter than say the gulley in West Virginia, it is really nice.” Alwine remarked.
Alwine added that there is a sweet spot in July that makes for a really incredible rafting experience. “That ends up being a much gentler ride for the customer. You have less of the mist, you have really big hits of water, and it’s just pure fun.”
The True North Outpost offers more than just rafting adventures. They offer an indoor rock climbing facility, a gym, a gift shop, and have exciting mountain biking opportunities with 20 miles of trails.
What is especially remarkable about the staff and the atmosphere with the staff at the True North Outpost is that they are knowledgeable and willing when it comes to accommodating accessibility concerns, and do their part to ensure that everyone gets to have a good time regardless of what their ability level is. They offer a junior rafting program for kids, and even have a system down for entertaining the youngest daredevils on a kid-friendly rafting adventure. They utilize a section of rapids where children can ride down a more subdued part of the river, and then can hang with a guide while they watch their parents face a bigger set of rapids.
Those interested in booking an adventure can visit https://www.truenorthoutpost.com
Those with questions or special requests can call and chat with one of the many friendly and knowledgeable staff-members at +1-906-239-4971.