This year marks my first "official" summer in Spokane. And let me say, I've been anxiously awaiting this since the cold days of March! I still consider myself "new" to the Spokane region. (During the year I'm cooped up on campus at Gonzaga.) I've been stoked about finally having a Spokane summer. Exploring the region, trying new foods and tackling any and every experience that comes my way makes up my summer game plan. (Hoopfest was a good warm-up!) Yesterday, my summer kicked off as an unexpected Happy Hour Rafting trip concluded my first real day of work. Sounds like a pretty awesome first day, yes?

My new colleagues and I greeted our fearless river guides at ROW Adventures, and after being suited up with some really attractive splash gear, our adventure began! A short bus ride later, we arrived at the put-in point, ready to rumble and slightly nervous after learning the command ‘High side left/right!' (Aka jump into the lap of the person beside you in case of collision, yikes!)

We paddled through the serene waters of the Spokane River and enjoyed some pretty awesome scenery, while continually flashing the ‘peace sign' to avoid sneaky splashes from our friends in the other raft. Taylor, our handy river guide, constantly entertained us with his countless, fun-filled trivia facts. Did you know that ospreys actually have two eyelids?! One normal eyelid and one clear for when they dive under water to snatch fish!

I saw even more new sights as we floated right alongside Riverside State Park while people watching the hikers, bikers and Frisbee golfers!

Now comes the serious part...the whitewater. We swiftly approached our first, class III rapid of the day, Bowl and Pitcher. Zooming down the river, Taylor shouting "Paddle, paddle!!" the gushing waters crashed into our raft, unforgivingly soaking us. But we made it! Phew. Next up, Devil's Toenail. After a quick pep talk, we started paddling like crazy, dodging rocks and eventually came out sopping wet and smiling. Clearly, a raft cheer and a paddle high-five was in order! Was it time for happy hour yet?

Well it was! Finally, it was time to relax on the sandy bank while cracking open the cooler filled with nothing but our favorite mixed beverages. And after conquering both Bowl and Pitcher AND Devil's Toenail, we deserved it! As I mingled with my fellow paddlers, yet another surprise awaited us in the water. Bright, neon frisbees! Frisbee on the beach? Don't mind if I do!

The float finished up at a relaxing pace and I soaked up all the fresh air I could get. A perfect break from the hustle and bustle of daily life. Heading home relaxed and happy, I chuckled as one of our guides, Chris, left us with "What is the difference between a river guide and a savings bond?" Eventually one matures!