We launched Coloma Lotus Whitewater to share our love of the river. Our goal is to run commercial trips that feel just like private trips – not just to clients, but to our family and staff too.
We suspected there would be interest, especially since the rafting industry has gone the opposite direction becoming increasingly commercialized. We weren’t sure, though, if we could actually make a commercial trip feel like a private trip, while keeping it affordable and following all the rules and regulations to which we are bound by our permits and insurance. I’m thrilled to say that so far we have been having a blast running trips that do in fact feel just like private trips. Now, of course, it helps that our first clients have been friends, family, co-workers, acquaintances, and referrals. And that our guides are our kids, local youth, and our former Whitewater Voyages friends. And that our drivers are our neighbors.
But, it’s more than that we re-read “The Guides’ Guide” earlier this summer and though written in the 1980s by William McGinnis, the guide ethos it teaches couldn’t be more needed now than it was then. A whitewater rafting trip should be about welcoming people into the river community as if they already belonged. It’s about being present and making authentic connections. It’s about slowing down and savoring the time together. Over the years, we’ve taken it a step further. For us, it’s also about giving people the opportunity to contribute to and actively participate in the adventure (wherever we are allowed to) and imparting real skills. It’s about high quality meals, with fresh produce from local farms, table clothes and flowers. It’s about staying in touch, sharing snapshots, and making plans to get back on the river together again soon.
Going into the fall, we still have two more months of good weather and guaranteed dam-released flows and so we still have plenty of time to continue to learn and refine our approach. One thing we know for sure is that the more we streamline our operations and simplify our logistics the more we have time to focus on what matters – the shared experience.