13 Ways NYC Prepares You for Whitewater Rafting
My wetsuit hangs by the party dresses in my small New York City closet. My first aid kit, complete with trauma shears and an EpiPen, mingles with my tights in the sock drawer, and my personal flotation device has somehow wormed its way under the bed next to my spring skirts. If Noah’s flood comes again, I’m ready. In the meantime, I'm using New York City as training grounds for my summers as a raft guide in Idaho and Montana.
Live in NYC too? Here are thirteen ways that living in the big apple is secretly preparing you for some extreme whitewater adventure.
1) ACCESSORIZING – Replace a leather belt with a flip line, a statement bracelet with a whistle, and an eye-catching jacket with a bright orange personal flotation device. If this isn’t enough bling, just add a river knife and some extra carabineers.
2) LIMITED SPACE – Living in a tent and shoving five days worth of food into a small cooler is easy when your bedroom is the size of a closet and you can barely fit groceries around your roommate’s leftover Chinese take-out containers in the refrigerator.
3) FALLING ONTO A STRANGER IN THE SUBWAY– After being flung face first into your neighbor during a sudden stop on the subway, you are fine ending up in someone’s lap after hitting a rock on the river.
4) FIGHTING FOR REAL ESTATE – Forget about getting an apartment with a view of downtown Manhattan. On multi-day trips, you have to use all means necessary to score the best camp with riverside views.
5) COCKROACHES – After finding a dead cockroach under your bed, sharing a tent with insects doesn’t seem that daunting.
6) DRESSING UP – It’s all about looking good in NYC and on the river. No river trip is complete without dress up night, and you might even find yourself running rapids wearing a full-length baby blue dress (true story).
7) GETTING YELLED AT BY RANDOM STRANGERS – You won’t bat an eye when your river guide starts screaming like a madwoman in whitewater.
8) DEALING WITH CROWDS – You are used to pile-ups and waiting in line, so when there are two boats ahead of you waiting to go through the next rapid, you sit back and watch the river otters.
9) BEING AHEAD OF THE TREND – Instead of talking about the best new restaurant you just discovered, brag about paddling down some out of the way creek no one has heard about yet.
10) BRAND DROPPING – Casually mention the great deal you got on your new Astral PFD while your friends insists her NRS model will be around for longer. Then brag about the great pair of Chacos you found at a thrift shop.
11) COMPLAINING ABOUT HOW SLOW TOURISTS ARE – They clog up the boat ramp and take forever at the take-out.
12) BEING NONCHALANT ABOUT LOCAL CELEBRITIES – Sarah Jessica Parker just crossed the street? You saw Beyoncé in the village? Well, a bear swam right in front of your boat and you floated past a baby moose, but you aren’t going to make a big deal about it.
13) KEEPING YOUR COOL – An hour and half wait for a table? A snowstorm? Flood-level rivers? You got this covered.
-Audrey Larkin lives in NYC and is an aspiring raft guide, poet, and paddler.