Tuesday, March 25, 2014
Guides’ First Rivers Series
River guides are notorious storytellers. And whether they be true or tall or somewhere in-between, the stories we tell about the river are a part and reflection of our own story. They are a part of who we are and we will be. (Deep water, brother…)
So, in this spirit of storytelling and in homage to rivers everywhere, we’ve asked our guides to recall a notable “first” paddling experience, broadly defined, and to tell a story about that experience.
Return to the River of No Return
|Corn Creek Launch Site|
I am not exactly sure when my fascination with wildlife and nature began–could’ve started while exploring the Oregon Caves, rafting down the river with my and Travis Tocher’s family or even while stuck in LA rush hour traffic heading to Disneyland. However, I do know that the outdoors, especially the simple view of rocks and water, has become a significant part of my life. The river, for its part, has become the bloodline of my life.
|View of the Sawtooth Mountains near Stanley, ID, shot by Frank Kovalchek from Anchorage, Alaska,|
|Pine Creek Rapid, the supposed point where Clark lost hope of navigating the Salmon west (Photo Credit: Layne Parmenter)|
|A look at Black Creek Rapid, which came to replace Salmon River Falls|
After successfully finishing the first part of the rapid and entering the Split Rock section, I glanced back to watch the inflatable kayaks come through. What I witnessed included impressive paddling and selfless guiding on the part of our Torpedo (IK) guides: Kim “Kimbo” Gonzales, Patrick “Patty G” Gescheidle and “Pretty” Richard Alves. One after the other would paddle from bank to bank, across these massive rolling waves picking up gear and guests alike (though not in that order!), getting people back into their boats and returning to their respective positions. I could not believe how effortlessly they worked to make sure each and every guest was as safe as possible. No matter what Mother Nature threw at them, their efforts could not be matched. A few bends down the river and we were finally resting at the beautiful White Water Ranch, with clear skies that gave way to an unequaled view of the vibrant stars.
|Well worth the hike|
“We can’t choose the times we live in. We can only try to change the way they are a little while we are here…Men come and go; they talk about my this, my that, my land, my part of the river, my range, my crops, my town. The truth is it never belongs to any of us. It can’t. Man can never claim the land, but the land always claims man in the end.”