I do not remember the name of the textbook, but back in my college days at CSU I remember reading about “recreation” and the positive effects it had on the mind, body and soul. The book broke up the word into its roots of Re-Creation: through recreation we re-create ourselves. This idea really struck a cord with me, more than anything I had since learned at the University. At that point in my life I was having a really hard time deciding what to do for a career. I first tried majoring in economics and then physics. Although I was able to score well in most classes, none of them were particularly interesting to me. All of my passions were tied up in fun activities like snowboarding and skateboarding, things I did after class (or when I was skipping class). So I was stoked beyond belief to read, in a college textbook, that fun activities like snowboarding actually held value in our society and that there were careers built around the recreation field. CSU even had a major in it called “Recreation and tourism”!
Obviously I enrolled in the program straight away, eventually graduated, and then did what most recreation majors do after graduation…became a ski bum. But what was I going to do in the summertime to make money? Well, I became a river rat. For nearly a decade I lived ‘the dream’ in various mountain towns of Colorado, playing on the powder covered slopes in the winter, and then riding the snowmelt through cascading rivers. And the best thing about working seasonal jobs is the free time you get in the shoulder seasons. This allowed for a little personal re-creation time and exploring new parts of the world. I went rock climbing in Utah, surfing in Costa Rica, kayaking in the Appalachians among a variety of other awesome adventures.
Eventually it got pretty old pushing rubber down the same stretches of river every day. I loved working on the water, but I needed something more. It was then that a friend convinced me to try teaching kayaking at the Rocky Mountain Outdoor Center. RMOC offered a variety of guided tours much like the big rafting companies, and it also provides professional instruction.
This was attractive to me because I wanted to teach people skills that would allow them to enjoy the outdoors like I had. To teach a person the skill of kayaking was especially gratifying because I knew of the amazing places that it would take them. It could take them around the world, into deep canyons and gorges, to places that only a boater can be. Becoming a kayaker would also introduce my students to a community of great people. Teaching kayaking was entirely more rewarding than just taking them out on a half day raft trip and saying good bye afterwards.
Needless to say, I thoroughly enjoyed my time teaching at RMOC. So much so that I eventually bought the company! Now as the owner, I am excited to provide a product and service that I am truly passionate about. Every person that comes to RMOC has the opportunity to experience the wonderful outdoor world of the Arkansas River Valley in Central Colorado. All of our employees embrace the phrase “Choose Your Own Adventure” in their own way, and every employee enjoys sharing those adventures with others. We do not put you on a conveyor belt full of tourists and simply shuttle you down the river. Instead we try to let our guests choose their adventure. What do they want to gain from the experience? It may be a relaxing float trip with wonderful views and quality time with friends and family. It may be a thrilling ride on singletrack through a pine forest. Or it may be…
It always amazes me how a little (or a lot) of time outdoors changes my outlook on life, puts priorities into perspective, and calms my anxieties. Playing outside is something I need to do for my sanity. The purpose of this blog is to provide a platform for us to share our adventures with others, not only for entertainment but also for inspiration. Hopefully our stories will spark an idea within you to embark on a new adventure and “re-create” yourself. It could be something big, like a visit to a far off country. But it could be as easy as an afternoon hike at the local state park. Whatever it may be, choose your own adventure and enjoy the ride!