Seeing a river through the eyes of a guest reminds me of my first rafting trip. Watching them leave their daily lives behind while becoming more grounded and relaxed, seeing friendships being created while overcoming fears and seeing those happy/sad faces at the end of a trip are the things that make me look forward to my next trip.
Working with Earth River I feel that besides providing a wonderful, safe experience for our guests we are also trying to protect resources that are unique in this world. My experience with Earth River has taught me that individuals can make a difference. This really hit home for me on a Futaleufu conservation trip with Robert Kennedy Jr. when he said how Earth River basically saved a group of major rivers in Canada. Wow, I'm part of a company that almost single-handedly kept a set of major dams from happening. I've always wanted to work to protect the world's wild places and through Earth River I feel I have that opportunity.
For me guiding is about responsibly taking people to wild and wonderful places. I have never been a charge down the middle, yee-ha kind of guide. My river running style fits perfectly with Earth River's company philosophy. The company and all the guides share a mutual understanding that people are safest in the raft and that teams are not only within our individual boats but the entire expedition as a whole.
Earth River has given me the opportunity to work with some of the best guides in the world. I am continually learning from them as well as from our guests. It is always fascinating to hear about the guest's experiences; where they have traveled and what they have read. I am continually learning from Eric and Robert about ways to make the trip better and that there is always a way improve it no matter how much energy it takes. I also learn from the local workers, sometimes just simple things like a little trick for splitting wood. The Futaleufu River is incredible but it is the locals we work with and their culture that draws me back as much as anything.
I look forward to the opportunity to take new groups down the Futaleufu and see the river through their eyes. Hopefully we will be able to save places like the Futaleufu so future generations are able to experience them.
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