By Nate Lovich
I took a family trip to the Smoky Mountains that turned out to be a life-changing experience. Among the activities we had planned, white water rafting was at the top of my list. Turns out I loved it more than I ever could have imagined. I was so inspired by the raw power and beauty that I asked the owner if I could come work as a guide; the following summer I was living out of my tent and hammock working on the Pigeon River in Tennessee! This opportunity introduced me to some amazing people from all over the country and the world. Because of these friendships I was also able to run the New and Upper Gauley Rivers in West Virginia along with the Nolichucky River in North Carolina. Who would have known that a single family trip to the Smokies would alter my life in such a drastically positive way!