My parents loved to camp and introduced me to the outdoors from the time I could walk. They didn’t fish but when we camped I would watch the fishermen along the river and became obsessed with the idea. By the time I was four I managed to talk my parents in to getting me a fishing rod for Christmas. From that time forward, whether at home, in camp or actively fishing, my thoughts were full of giant fish waiting to attack whatever I presented them. It helps fishermen to have a good imagination for there are days when the only fish you encounter reside there. After years of trudging along the banks of rivers, both in reality and in my imagination, you can imagine my enthusiasm when the idea of floating down a river presented itself.
I attended whitewater guide school, in the summer of 1985 and my life was never the same. I loved river running so much that I would go long periods of time without feeling the need to fish! For the next 12 years my new infatuation was guiding on the next great white water river. This quest led me to Earth River in 1997. If ever there were kindred spirits for anyone with my river running enthusiasm it was Eric and Robert. Finding and exploring the great rivers of the world is their specialty. Sharing these amazing places and working to protect them is their passion. Imagine my elation when my first Earth River trip was the Great Bend of the Yangtze in China and from there off to Chile’s southern summer and the Futaleufu! Right from the start I was thrilled to find Earth River had an innovative, almost zealous concern for safety including designing custom made rafts for specific rivers, extensive energy put into on river client training and hiring only the strongest teams of guides. On the Futaleufu, where the guest boats were escorted by two safety catarafts, every rapid had a well rehearsed security plan ensuring that swimmers were swiftly rescued.
Unfortunately the same factors that make a river attractive for whitewater, also make it a prime candidate for hydroelectric development. All too often we find a great river and within a few years we get word of plans for a dam. In some cases these rivers are little known but given time would be recognized as national park material. Earth River often brings these areas in to the global spotlight. I am proud to have been a part of a number of conservation awareness efforts, some of which have been successful and some not. As the saying goes: ”The destruction of a resource can be a singular act while it’s protection is a perpetual process.”
I have many favorite rivers around the world. Places where I actively look forward to returning to like Tibet’s Upper Yangtze or Chile’s Futaleufu. My imagination, however, is always percolating with thoughts of “that next great river.” It was the love of nature and the outdoors that brought me to guiding. It’s the people and the joy of shared adventure that have kept me here.
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