Thursday Jun 21 2012
Ride the river with these experienced guides
By: Laura Newell, Folsom Lake Entertainer
Folsom Lake Entertainer
As summer months sizzle on, many will find the river as a spot to cool off. EarthTrek Expeditions, based in Lotus, offers families a safe way to find adventure whitewater rafting on the American River. International raft guide Janeen Stewart is the operations manager at EarthTrek Expeditions. She has been rafting for 20 years. ?Rafting offers people a view of their own back yard,? Stewart said. ?We see the beauty of the river, wildlife and nature at its best. This is a great opportunity to meet new people and new friends. This is a social white water experience.? EarthTrek Expeditions offers American River white water rafting tours, camping in cabin tents or dome tents as part of a package, meals as part of a package, gold discovery outdoor education for students, corporate events, music festivals and other special events. EarthTrek, owned by Jerry Ashburn, started in 1973 and grew into a full-service rafting experience. Today they have about 4,000 rafters come through EarthTrek every year. Depending on a rafter?s experience and skill level, people are offered different rafting trips separated by river classifications from Class 1 to Class VI. ?Class I and II are friendlier to self-rescue,? Stewart said. ?Class III-IV are best rafted with a professional guide.? Still, for new rafters, a guide is always needed. ?At EarthTrek, we have six full-time international guides,? she said. ?These are professional guides who work year-round. They travel from Lotus to New Zealand to Costa Rica and other countries, guiding. ?It?s a small community worldwide as guides,? she said. ?We have an interesting and unique lifestyle. It?s not about having material things. This is a very serious and professional career. We do what we love.? Nick Wimsett is an international river guide at EarthTrek. He has been guiding for 14 years. ?Guiding internationally lets us live a life that we love, but we make sacrifices,? Wimsett said. ?This is a lifestyle. We are all one big family. We trust each other. We are passionate about our job. As a team we make amazing things happen and we create an atmosphere that makes people happy, positive and educated.? He said river guides are always working for their next adventure. ?We don?t need a lot to make us happy,? he said. ?We live by the river to find our next goal, our next adventure. This is as good as nature gets, and the only way to see it is by raft.? Wimsett said a guide will raft through the river hundreds of times a summer, yet every run is always a new experience for them. ?It never gets old,? he said. ?When we are guiding, we challenge ourselves to get the reward of safely teaching someone something new and helping them fall in love with the river.? For more information, visit earthtrekexpeditions.com or call (530) 642-1900.