Michael P Ghiglieri, PHD

Professional River Guide


Where did you grow up?

Lake Tahoe, Nevada

Where do you call home now?

Flagstaff, Arizona

Year started at OARS?

George Wendt hired me as a guide in late 1977.

What’s the best part of your job?

Revealing to clients what they are actually seeing in the wilderness, as opposed to the more limited understanding encapsulated by what they are imagining they are seeing.

Tell us about your favorite rapid, hike or camp and what makes it special

My favorite “spot” is the Omo River in southern Ethiopia, which unfortunately has been destroyed by a series of mammoth (and unnecessary) dams. My next favorite “spot” is Crystal Rapid.” It keeps us honest.

Do you have a lucky charm or special river tradition?

Paying primary attention to reality.

What can you not live without on a trip?

Thoughts of my family

Fun fact, special talent or favorite guiding memory

Dragging Tom Cruise by his hair up from eight feet underwater inside Havasu Creek’s Green Room to save his face from an otherwise dead certain face-first collision into jagged travertine.

About me…

I’m a “know-it-all” because my experiences during 700 trips have endowed me with a highly varied set of challenges, experiences, and arcane problem solving.