In recent light of Friday the 13th, I decided to write a post about rituals and suspicions on the river. Of course, there is all the folklore and myth surrounding Friday the 13th, I am not a superstitious person, so my day went off without a hitch. I’ve never been one to avoid walking under a ladder, black cats don’t spook me when the cross my path and I have been known to open an umbrella inside, you know, to tempt fate I suppose. But, when it comes to whitewater rafting trips, or just being outside in the elements in general, there’s always a bit of risk involved, many things outside are out of our control, we have to leave the fate of the day up to someone else, who or what that is, depends on the person.
When planning any kind of trip- whether it’s an afternoon hike or multi-day whitewater rafting trips, we tend to pay attention to certain things: the weather is one of the most important, and it’s 100% out of our control. We’ll need to know what kind of gear to bring or what kind of clothes to pack. Along with that there are many people with superstitions, maybe you might see an incoming rain shower as bad luck and postpone the hike for another day, maybe weather has nothing to do with it, maybe your lucky hiking boots are looking a bit under the weather and going hiking in a new pair of shoes is bad luck. On Friday the 13th, I conducted a poll, it was quite scientific in nature. I asked a couple of fellow river guides (one may or may not have been my husband) what kind of superstitions, rituals or lucky charms they have when it comes to the river.
Their answers were unique: Parker has a Seminole Indian Doll that has lived in his personal box for many years now, she stays put and so far his rafts do too. He was given the doll during a whitewater rafting trips years ago by a Tribal Leader from the Seminole Indian Tribe. She’s been his good luck charm! Another friend of ours told me that he marks his personal box for all the whitewater rafting trips he’s done. On the Middle Fork of the Salmon River, he waits until after Velvet Falls to make the mark and on Hells Canyon, he’ll mark the box after running through Granite Creek Rapids. I’m not sure how many marks he has, but he’s been guiding for many years, so I’m sure it’s a lot! I personally don’t have any good luck charms, but when scouting a rapid, I always pop a peice of chewing gum into my mouth. I think it’s more of a nervous habit than anything else, but it’s still my thing. What say you, anyone else have any rituals, superstitions, lucky rabbit’s feet, when they go outside? Do tell!