Sunday, September 20, 2015

Guests and Guides

I thought that I should introduce our fellow rafters and guides. This trip had a smaller group of guests, only 11, compared to a full trip of 20+ guests.

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Phil – the guy who started it all on this trip. Phil, from the Huntsville, Alabama area, is an avid fisherman who had signed up for this trip a year ago.  When this particular date for the trip had trouble filling, ROW sent out emails to previous customers announcing a special. It was in response to this emailing, that most of the rest of us jumped on board.


The fishing along the Middle Fork, especially at this time of the year is supposed to be very good. Rainbow trout and native cutthroat trout are abundant, and are fished on a catch and release basis. In addition to Phil, there were several others who were there for the fishing.


Katie and Larry also filled seats on the fishing rafts every day…..Larry is a Radiologist, and I believe that Katie also works in Radiology. They are from South Carolina. Katie is new to the sport of fishing, but seemed to have picked it up quite well.


Sean and Corbit had moved from the Netherlands to Golden, Colorado this past year. Sean had done his undergraduate work at Berkeley and had gotten his law degree elsewhere (so we had something to talk about). Corbit worked as a ‘color expert’ for a number of outdoor sporting companies, and currently works for Croc’s.

Sean is an absolutely rabid fisherman who was always throwing a line in the water whenever we stopped. Corbit was taking advantage of the trip to learn a bit more about fly fishing and casting


Zach and John (Gator) – two friends from New Jersey. Zach managed an Italian restaurant in new Jersey and Gator worked in construction. This was Gator’s 2nd trip on the Middle Fork and Zach’s 12th trip on the Middle Fork!


Both Gator and Zach spent most of their days in the duckies and were pretty skilled kayakers.


Dave and Inger from Wisconsin (Inger was originally from Sweden). Dave is a dentist who had spent a number of years working for a public service organization that supplied dental care to under-served groups of people in remote areas. Fascinating to visit with, Dave and Inger had lived in Kodiak, Alaska, for several years and had traveled all around the world.

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Dave was really into the kayaking, and eager to ‘duckie’ all day, while Inger was just getting used to the rapids, having only kayaked on smooth water.


And, of course, there was Fred and I.

There were 6 guides and 5 rafts on this trip. Because of the interest in fishing, we did not have enough people interested in paddling to bring a paddle raft. Also, because of the configuration of the fishing rafts, and the interests of the guests, we all tended to stay with the same guide each day.


Two of the rafts were set up for fishing with fishing seats fore and aft. In this picture is Jon guiding the raft with Phil and Sean.


And another picture of Jon – making wonderful pancakes for breakfast. Each guide must be a jack of all trades, handling rapids during the day, and taking care of the gear and making meals when not on the river.

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Landon, our only female guide……and a shot of Landon and Jon relaxing.


Landon usually rowed one of the  fishing rafts  - here with Katie and Larry. Also in this raft, sharing his fishing expertise was Nick.


Nick is ROW’s fishing expert, though this was his first trip on the Middle Fork. Nick would change up rafts and groups to help instruct and where needed.

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Sam was usually on the cargo raft which also carried a guest or two. Sam was the photographer for the trip, and a number of photos that I have included (especially those of Fred and I together) are credited to Sam.


Our trip leader Kirk, who did a wonderful job keeping everything organized and added a bit of history now and then to our experience. Kirk usually rowed a raft with several guests, also.


Koni ended up being the guide that Fred and I rafted with each day. Koni had the safety equipment and was usually in the last raft position. We enjoyed getting to know Koni, who lived in the Denver area and had worked for ROW both as a guide and a manager before leaving to work with another travel organization. Koni was back for a return trip on the Middle Fork, and his experience was appreciated. Also, Koni had a lot of good info to pass on regarding other travel adventures that we might be dreaming up.

Rafting guides are a very interesting group of people. Within this group there were a number of college degrees in fields such as education and environmental science and even engineering, as well as a number of Master’s degrees. Travel and outdoor experience ranged from throughout the United States to New Zealand and Chili and Peru. Job experience was certainly diverse. Sam had taught 6th grade science in Mexico but was hoping to teach outdoor education at the college level in Oregon. Kirk had worked in the guest shelters along the Appalachian trail in New Hampshire, before hiking the trail himself.  Koni was contemplating a career move from management in the travel world to computer programming.

Part of the experience of a rafting trip is getting to know such an interesting and diverse group of people who are all brought together on the river.

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