Tess Richard

Professional River Guide


Where did you grow up?

Cazenovia, New York

Where do you call home now?

Durango, Colorado

Year started at OARS?


What’s the best part of your job?

Watching the moving water and sharing special little moments in the wilderness.

Tell us about a favorite outdoor memory.

I used to dog mush in Minnesota and one of my favorite nights in my life was when I was walking across a frozen lake and there was a low-rising full moon while the Northern Lights were dancing across the sky. In that moment I sat down down to appreciate the beauty, and then I saw a lone buck moose trotting across the lake. As if it couldn’t get any better, I gave a small howl to the dog team who were sleeping 1/4 mile across the lake, and shortly after I had 21 sled dogs howling back to me while I watched the Northern Lights under the full moon next to a moose.

Do you have a lucky charm or special river tradition?

In quiet moments I like to walk down to water and stick my hands in the river. I feel the current and cool water and feel so much gratitude. Before I lift my hands I grab a small rock and place an intention into it and keep it. In turn I have a lot of rocks in my pockets.

What can you not live without while at work or on a trip?

Some fun jewelry.

Fun fact, special talent or favorite guiding/trip memory.

I’m really good at peeling oranges.

About me…

I’m a student during the off season. I love dancing and playing music and doing anything that gets me out in the backcountry.