Don’t Date a River Guide

Whitewater Rafting in Catract Canyon, UT

Don’t date a river guide.

She’s the one with the raccoon-eyes from her sunglasses, mismatched socks, and let’s be honest, furry legs more often than not. She’s convinced that brighter, bolder shirt patterns are better than neutral colors. Truth is–and she’d tell you herself–these shirts hide stains better. See, she’s not the wash, starch, and iron type. Laundry is the last thing on her mind; she’s got bigger plans for life.

She lives for adventure. She’s constantly checking spring flows online and fist pumps at the sign of high water. She disappears mid-April through October, because she’ll be on the river. Some river. Somewhere.

Don’t date a river guide because she’s anything but normal. She’ll always want to sleep under the stars instead of a fancy hotel in the city. She’ll insist on vacations to hot springs, instead of Vegas. Her idea of dressing up will be wearing a sundress and brushing her hair. Oh, and you can forget about high heels and makeup.

Don't Date a River Guide

Don’t date a river guide because you’ll get stuck with an artist. She sees the world just a little bit differently than everyone else. She’ll howl at the full moon and hula hoop by river’s edge. She’ll have a dry bag full of costumes, and she’ll insist that you wear one of them.

She thinks on her feet, and doesn’t hesitate when making decisions. When chaos hits, she becomes calm. She is strong. She takes risks. And she won’t apologize if this makes you feel uncomfortable.

Don’t date a river guide because this is her “real job.” She’s not in it for the money. Lord knows how many times October has rolled around and she scratches her head, wondering what job she’ll find to keep her busy and eating until next season. You’ll convince her that a steady job has its perks. She’ll listen to you (briefly), but come March, she’ll be itching to get on the water, and the cycle will continue for yet another season.

Don't Date a River Guide...

She’ll be distant. She’ll be removed. She’ll be distracted. Because chances are, she’s thinking about that one wave, in a certain rapid, on a particular river. She’s picturing hitting it just as it breaks onto her boat, digging her oars in and leaning forward to get the full force of the splash. She’ll say you don’t understand. And you won’t.

You’ll come to realize that you’ll always be second to the river. And you may find peace in that realization.  But she’ll never be completely yours.

So, if you absolutely must date a river guide, if your heart has made its mind up, my advice for you is simple: Practice high-siding.

Inspired by The Huffington Post’s popular article: Don’t Date a Girl Who Travels by Adi Zarsadias


Related Articles:

What Makes a Good River Guide Great?

What River Guides Love About the Off-season

She Might Have the Best Grand Canyon Story Ever…




  • Scott

    As a recovering river guide myself I’ve been on both sides of this scenario. Did I learn my lesson? . . . Nah!!

  • Morgan Alstot

    Hahaha! good read. Only while on the river right. But I might break that rule for the girl in zebra print. ha!

    • Cari_Morgan

      We knew a river guide in zebra print would get you guys to click through! Thanks for reading!

  • Rivers for life

    I wish I had a river guide… as a career one myself its hard to find someone who’ll follow you on your crazy dirt bag adventuring.

    • damelaola

      🙂 call me

  • Benson

    I married a river guide, but I made her a river guide also

  • Nicole Sparklecorn Nasser

    Even if she has a “real job,” she’ll be dreaming of the river daily…

  • Bobo

    As a guide myself best kinda girl to date, both parties are in mutual agreement.

  • Bisrael

    I married a river guide 27 years ago. The single best decision of my life.

  • humboldtlove

    she can make a gourmet meal out of the guide fridge!!!

  • Dove

    Fist pumps for high water!!!

  • Best years of my life so far have been on the river. Is that my guide pal Leanna in the last photo? Sure looks like her!

  • trickysplash

    dating my first non-paddler since highschool. he’s in for it 🙂

  • Laurie Lewis

    Can’t help it! River guides are irresistible!

  • Huck

    So true. Us boys are no different minus the sun dress.

  • Len

    Beautifully written. As yet another guide here, I laughed and cheered the reversal meaning. With this, let me say one thing: guiding is a hard work, great lifestyle, freedom and more – but hardly a real adventure. Real adventure – is when you go to unexplored places, do first descents and so on… I had my share of these. Now, besides guiding,
    I have a company that makes tools for real adventures. Check it out:

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