Calendar Girls

August 10, 2003 at 5:59 pm (Rafting)

In July, 2004, fifteen female river guides put-in at Lumsden Campground for a two-day Tuolumne Trip. We had varying years of experience and expertise, in both life and rafting, but we were all excited about doing a women-only rafting trip. On this particular day, the river was at normal summer flows, the weather was spectacular, and the equipment was in decent condition. We remebered all the gear, got to put-in without driving off the road, and we brought the bread and the beer. To an outsider this would have seemed like an ordinary rafting trip. But for most of us, it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

One of my favorite stories from the trip was not a sentimental bonding moment or a drunken dance party. It was the second morning when we decided to do a calendar girls photo shoot. The calendar idea started because just about every guy we knew was intrigued and excited about the idea of us girls being in the canyon for two days with no men. We thought since we were using all of his river gear, we should commemorate the trip with a lovely calendar for Scott Armstrong, the owner of All-Outdoors.

The photo shoot started innocently. Charlie’s Angels poses and piggy back rides. Lots of giggles, laughs, and retakes. Maca telling us to put our arm this way or that, tilt our head, or shake the water out of our hair more vigorously. In a competitive nature much different from male competition, we started one-upping eachother. What it boiled down to was more people, more equipment, and less clothes made for a better calendar photo. We started stuffing our shirts with helmets, wrapping our chests with ropes, and covering ourselves with everything from throw bags to paddles. We laughed harder. Our faces grew redder both from embarassment and heat as the day progressed. Maca filmed more.

Nearly three hours of film came from that trip, almost half of it the calendar shoot. We never made a calendar. What mattered more was the memorable experience that could only have taken place on the river. More than twenty years separated the youngest from the oldest on the trip, but one river brought us all together. The trip was not only a once-in-a-lifetime experience, but also the experience of a lifetime.

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