As far as I can remember I had only been to Boise, Idaho on two previous occasions. One when I was a wee tot and my mom turned the wrong way into incoming traffic. I can’t really blame my mom, more logic can be found in a condom at Madonna’s house than the civil planning disaster known as the plethora of one way streets in downtown Boise.
The second time in was in my DJ years and I played a party at some club in Boise. It was one of the most fun parties I ever played. The crowd was wild and crazy and really into the music. Some girl dancing in the cage next to the DJ box asked me “Do you want to hit this?”. I did pass on the opportunity, but cage girl you do have a place in my memories.
This weekend would mark the 3rd time in my life I would be in Boise. Idaho is kind of a punchline for a lot of people. It really doesn’t spark the interests of most people seeking to have a good time. I was impressed by the hipness of downtown, and to be honest I haven’t seen such a high ratio of attractive women since my time in Kiev. Even though I was there for business, I was able to tear away and visit the Creature Craft guide training event that was held north of Boise along the Payette river.
I had been invited to this event by my friend Stacie for the previous two years. After this weekend I can honestly say, I really missed out by not attending. We arrived late on Friday night and set up the tent. We got to meet the owners of Creature Craft, some of the testers and a good portion of the Creature Craft crew. They were exceptionally friendly and welcoming. My first impression is that they were a real class act when it comes to the outdoor industry.
Saturday morning we got set-up and helped the Creature Craft guys ready the creatures. We were currently going to run a section of the river that is unrunnable in regular rafts. I guess you could run it in a regular raft, but if someone fell out, which would happen, the chance of dying is extremely high. I am not going to lie, as I sat there strapped in with a velcro seat belt, I was a little nervous. When Brandon, the guy who was piloting the creature, asked me what I wanted to do; barrell roll, flip, turn over etc… my response was pretty conservative, “Lets just get down the river”.
My adrenaline was at its peak just moments before we hit the first rapid. I had been in class V rapids before on a regular raft. But not having any control and not knowing what to expect was the clincher. As soon as the creature crashed into the first wave and I felt the stability, all of the nervousness was gone. Laughter and smiles rushed, faster than the water around us, to fill the void. For the next 30 minutes we only had small sections of calm water, that if strung together would total less than ¼ of a mile. The rest was raging white water that crashed at us from all sides.
While we were at the camp we had the opportunity to meet several people. Many of them who saw the creatures hanging out next to the river and stopped to talk. Darren the inventor of Creature Craft offered people rides down the river and several took him up on the offer. In the outdoor industry its hard to find people willing to go the extra mile to make sure people have fun. Darren and the rest of the Creature Craft crew proved that they have a passion for what they do that is so great that they willingly share it with anyone who is interested. My impression that they were a class act remained valid even as we said our goodbyes and headed back to Boise.
Prior to this trip I was greatly considering buying a oar boat or cataraft. I wanted something that we could use as a gear boat if we ever do a multi-day river trip and something we could use with the kids for some mellow class II or III rapids. After much deliberation Anastasiya and I have decided to get our own creature. Something that we get twice for ourselves and once for the kids. If the excitement of running amazing whitewater wasn’t the deciding factor, the hospitality of Darren and his crew was.
Next year we are planning on making the journey north of Boise for more fun on the Payette river. I doubt either of us will be able to pilot our own craft through the rapids, it has become something of a goal for us.