What River Guides Love About the Off-season
River guides love guiding – that’s no surprise. But they love taking a breather and watching the seasons come and go, too. Here’s a little insight into what OARS guides love about the off-season. (And no, it’s not JUST skiing.)
“I like reflecting on how rad I am and how so many folks were so lucky to see how cool I was last season. (Just kidding…well, kind of.) In seriousness, I’m comforted in the off-season that the river is still there—still moving—oblivious to our short presence on this water. I’m in wonder over how, in its movements, it still has the ability to capture us. All of us, boatman and visitors, are held fast by its steady relentlessness.” ~Chris Currie, Idaho Guide
“No matter where the off-season takes you for that much needed physical and mental rest, river people show up in your life year round, keeping the river lively and near until we can return to the put-in. There is no off-season when you realize the company you are in.” ~Heather Solee, Idaho/Grand Canyon Guide
“I really look forward to the end of season crew/cleanup trips. Fall here is the best! Fishing for steelhead, bird hunting, putting the garden to bed, making firewood, all are happy times. The usual quieter pace at OARS in Lewiston, the recovery/cleanup after a busy summer, then the preparation and anticipation for next year as the winter snows pile up. After all these years, I still get super excited when a big snow year comes around.” ~Curt Chang, Idaho Regional Manager
“Drying out. Catching up on emails and dinners with friends, and editing miles of hilarious videos and photographs. Waking up to my warm lovely cuddly wife of twenty-one years, and not having to drag my behind out of the sack to fire up the chickee pails (dish water). Healing my feet and a multitude of scratches, aches and pains. Not having to look cool and calm as I tamp down the anticipation of getting myself and my charges through Lava Falls once again. Being able to putter around doing absolutely nothing productive, while not packing up and unpacking my schnadle every single day. Sipping a glass of single malt in front of the fireplace (with Carrie, of course). And finally, I love getting that spark back come spring, wanting all of the aforementioned so badly I can almost hear the first-light coffee conch as the river laps the side of my boat, feel the anticipation of the Granite Gorge and Hell’s Half Mile making my heart beat, taste the laughter and joy of high-fives after Hermit with the best pards anyone could ever hope for. Sipping a tin cup of highland single malt around the campfire (while missing Carrie’s eyes). Yep, that’s what I love.” ~Jeffe Aronson, Grand Canyon Guide
As for myself, I’ve lived in Colorado, Alaska, and Washington in my career’s 13 winters, and now I’ve moved to Madison, Wisconsin. Playing in the snow and writing takes a lot of my time, but I daydream of flowing waters. I see rivers when I close my eyes, swiftly moving me along through some vast and remote canyon. I always enjoy the off-season recuperation, and I always enjoy when river life roars back in May.
One thing is for sure, for all that we river guides love about the off-season, come Spring we inevitably yearn to get out on the water again. Rivers draw, tease, intrigue, beckon to us, and we’d love to take you along. Cheers to the off-season, but Spring is just around the corner.