Sunrise February 2, 1983 – Sunset March 18, 2014
“In life we all take risks. Paddling whitewater is a risk that I take and have come to grips with the consequences that come along with it. I love to paddle. It drives me, it fulfills me and brings me closer to what I feel is real in life. I am able to think clearly and directly when pushing myself in whitewater. The here and now. I cannot afford to think about anything else beyond the next few strokes.” Curt.
Curtis Van Allen Joyce sadly passed from this world in March 2014.
Curt Joyce started working for Wet Planet in the spring of 2009, and quickly became a much appreciated and loved part of the team – our Wet Planet family. Curt guided raft trips on the White Salmon, Klickitat and Tieton Rivers. His impressive kayaking skills allowed him to support kayak on our class V trips on the Farmlands, Wind and Hood Rivers as well as teaching our kayak courses.
During Curt’s first summer at Wet Planet, he met Melissa during a rafting trip on the White Salmon River. She became his best friend and love of his life. After many adventures and travels, they married in September 2013.
Curt was a world-class kayaker. His love for the river took him all over the world and drove who he was as he explored many awe-inspiring rivers. He saw beauty in parts of our world that you can only reach by the water. Curt understood the beauty of this earth. As many of his kayaking buddies have witnessed, Curt took the time to stop while on the river and give thanks for his beautiful surroundings. He understood that his God is the maker of all things. Whether kayaking, rafting, rock climbing, hiking, or playing with his adorable puppy, Cooper, he was always more comfortable being outside.
At an early age Curt was introduced to the adventure and excitement found in exploring the outdoors with a paddle in hand. His family went on many canoe explorations throughout the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia and West Virginia. That sparked Curt’s life-long desire for adventure. As Curt grew older he started finding his own pursuits of liquid adventures. While in school at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, VA, Curt enjoyed self-support overnight canoe trips and guiding canoe and kayak trips in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia.
Curt fell in love with paddling whitewater. Curt devoted himself to being on the water as much as possible. Curt loved the thrill of exploring new places that few people have been, experiencing the beauty that the forces of nature have created over time, and sharing that with others.
This passion led Curt from sitting behind a computer screen making maps to sitting in the back of a raft or paddling along as a support kayaker in Colorado on the Roaring Fork River in Aspen. He migrated back East to work on one of his favorite rivers: the Gauley in West Virginia.
In 2009 Curt ventured further West, drawn by the boating opportunities on the rivers around the Columbia River Gorge, and found a new home at Wet Planet. He was attracted by the beautiful rivers, a group of like-minded boaters at Wet Planet, and the ability to hop in his kayak and paddle classic sections of water year-round.
We are so thankful for the day in May 2009 when Curt drove his old pick-up truck into the Wet Planet parking lot, and for his friendship since. Curt’s endless love for Melissa, his family, his friends and his passion for being on the river will continue to inspire all of us. He will always be part of us, and amongst us. He will remind us why we do what we do, and always brings a smile to our face.
“Without joy there can be no courage; and without courage all other virtues are useless.” One of Curt’s favorite quotes by Edward Abbey, from Desert Solitaire.
In memory of Curt, we created the Curt Joyce Raft Guide School Fund, to continue encouraging aspiring river enthusiasts to make a professional living of their passion for boating. For more information, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.