A wildwater expeditions tradition by P. Stevenson

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Wildwater Expeditions, Lansing, West Virginia, has traditions that run as deep as the New River Gorge. Throughout the years, we have been able to share in traditions of many others: Bob Grossman and Gary Allen have brought their friends and families (and Lucille, their mascot) rafting every year for over twenty years. Several local families, like the Dobsons of Summersville and the Gannons of Oak Hill, host their milestone reunions with us. Greg Ball of Ft. Wright, Kentucky, brought the inductees for the Red Knights to Wildwater for a weekend adventure trip during which the inductees met with many other members, both active and retired. Many college campuses have also begun traditions of bringing students and alumni to meet at our campground.

One of our favorite stories from our Wildwater family involves the Stewart family from Belleville, Michigan. Debbie and Dick Stewart have been bringing their children, Tom and Tracy, rafting for years. Their annual trip grew to include many friends and family. About four years ago, Brian Frink joined their party and we assumed Brian and Tracy were dating but it was not true. When Tracy fell in the water, Brian came to her rescue. After that rescue, Brian and Tracy began dating. The next year Brian had a surprise. He was planning to propose to Tracy in the rapid where he had ‘saved’ her the previous year. We chilled champagne and brought it to celebrate at the end of the trip. When we got to Surprise Rapid, Brian pulled a candy ring out of his PFD and asked Tracy to marry him. Of course, she said yes. The reservationists had organized an engagement party for after the river trip and everyone joined in the celebration. We were invited and some of the staff were able to attend the wedding. The Stewarts still come every year.

There seems to be no common denominator among those who choose to join our rafting family except the desire to have an exciting, fun and hassle-free event. Our reservation staff is pleased to assist with planning, our river and climbing staff take care of preparations for each adventure, and our caterer supplies all the food. Wildwater Expeditions offers camping and hotel packages, and rafting, climbing and kayaking trips. We can reserve horseback riding, mountain biking and ATV tours. Contact Wildwater Expeditions, 800-982-7238; www.wvaraft.com.

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