If you’ve been on a Kicking Horse River Rafting Trip with the guides from Wild Water then you probably know we have quite an interesting group of characters. Traveling from all different corners of the world, they bring with them a range of backgrounds, quirky behaviours, and funny personalities. If you raft with them, you will be sure to see these characteristics shine through.
But something you might not know about them is their superstitious rituals; the things they do behind the scenes to connect with themselves and with the river. (For the Canadians reading this, it’s just like growing a beard or wearing dirty hockey socks during playoffs).
Here are just a few of the rituals that take place every day at Wild Water. (Some guides are so superstitious they won’t even share them!)
1. “If I have ropes on my boats I always triple check that they are neat and tidy. ‘Tidy ropes, tidy guide’.”
2. “My personal tradition before getting on any new river is to dip my greenstone necklace into the water. The necklace grants safe travel over water.”
3. “Before any big rapid, I’ll typically scoop water from the river using my helmet and pour it over my head. I suppose in doing so I feel as if I’m creating a connection with the river and asking it to provide me safe passage through the rapids. (Although some days I do wish I’d created a different superstition, as the river water, like that on the Kicking Horse, can get pretty refreshing… but I’ve been doing it too long to change now!)
And for the most particular ritual…
4. “Alright now, sit down and buckle up, because you’re getting ready to hit the river with Marcie! My ritual begins in the change room. I ever so carefully balance on my left foot while quickly, yet precisely shooting my right leg and foot into my chosen appropriate attire for the trip. After simultaneously curling my toes exactly three times each digit, I then transfer my weight to the right foot where I repeat the procedure even down to the triple wiggle of my wee little piggy. Immediately after pulling the northern-most part of my thermal suit to my hips, I proceed to stretch my garments by accomplishing three pistol squats followed by three lateral lunges on each leg. After fighting my right arm into my upper body thermal suit, I rotate my wrist three times clockwise followed by three times counter-clockwise.
Now where this superstition gets interesting… on the contrary to many people insisting that you feed your neck into the collar of the pull over right away, I challenge destiny by squeezing the left side of my anatomy into the
pullover before once again, rotating my wrist three times in each direction. Once my head punctures the neck tube I then proceed to stretch all muscles to the tune of ‘head and shoulders, knees to toes’”.
Whether it’s a helmet full of water, asking for safe travel, or ensuring every finger and toe is ready to brave the rapids… these rituals are what help each guide get in touch with the river. They know that their guiding skills will help them navigate the water… but a little superstitious luck never hurt anyone! And the rest of the Wild Water Crew will tolerate a little quirkiness as long as it doesn’t involve guides not washing their gear for “good luck”!