WildRice Adventures was formed from Naomi Rice’s love for tree climbing and desire to share the exhilaration of rope-assisted tree climbing with others. Her story is very unique. Naomi grew up in her childhood, like most kids, scrambling up just about any tree she could climb by hand. The dogwood tree in her backyard was a place of calm, creativity and freedom. While she was behaving like a typical 6-year-old monkey-child two stories high in her backyard dogwood tree, the small branch she was bouncing on broke, and she fell, breaking her femur and fracturing her jaw. This halted her tree climbing adventures for about five years, until she could no longer ignore the drawing power of her place of peace. Her family moved to Atlanta when she was 12, where she discovered a tree climbing grove that offered rope assisted tree climbing on Sunday afternoons. She begged her dad to take her to try it out, so he scheduled a dad-daughter date and they attended an open climb. Naomi instantly fell in love. She diligently saved up all her money to pay for a basic tree climbing class, buy her own equipment, and never looked back.
She started assisting her tree climbing instructor, who became her godfather, at various group climbs, festival climbs, and open climbs. She advanced in instruction and then took a facilitation class to become a certified facilitator so that she could facilitate her own group climbs. There was one climb that changed her life forever… She was helping Abe at one of his festival climbs in 2006 while one of Abe’s students, Jody Rice, was working while finishing his instructorship class. Overhearing Naomi talk to Abe about her latest wild adventure, Jody decided to introduce himself and offer a proposal. “Since you like jumping down waterfalls, I can take you to a great place on the Flint River that you can body surf.” Naomi was instantly intrigued. She agreed to show Jody her waterfall if he showed her the river. Two weeks later, as they tumbled over a ten foot waterfall in North Carolina, the magic of love weaved through the two of them. A year later, Naomi met Jody for a night climb on a state park before leaving out of town for Labor Day weekend. They loved taking any opportunity to climb together, and the mist encircled the tree as Naomi climbed up to Jody, waiting on a limb for her. Here, he proposed to her (for a more detailed version of that story, just ask one of us!).
As life went on, Naomi was hired as a facilitator for various climbs with Tree Climbing USA, but when Abe retired from his business, WildRice Adventures was formed. Starting small, as both Jody and Naomi were working and raising young children, Naomi enjoyed teaching tree climbing to groups. As they settled in Oconee County and discovered the interest people had for tree climbing, Naomi decided to pursue her love of tree climbing to establish climbs around their home. Thus you have the foundation of WildRice Adventures.
The Rice family currently resides in Oconee County with their three energetic young children and fun-loving Labrador retriever. They enjoy regular hiking and family camping trips, as well as backpacking, canoeing, kayaking, hunting, shooting sports, bullfrog gigging, and all-around adventures.