Guide looking for new water - Mountain Buzz

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Old 12-15-2015   #1
Riverbend, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1986
Join Date: Dec 2015
Posts: 13
Guide looking for new water

Longtime reader first time poster. So I am an experienced guide (7 years) looking to relocate from my beloved river for the season of 2016. Yes I enjoy being paid to take pilgrims down the river say what you will... Looking for ideas about this. I have guided class iii-iv and am not afraid to step it up.
But anyway..
Some of the things I enjoyed about my past guiding experience include: small company, cold water (usually high 30s), technical water, short shuttle (about 10 minutes on either end), nearby free/affordable camping, after-hours boating, decent tips, good people.

If these qualities sound familiar I would appreciate suggestions including the river(s) and/or company. I am not opposed to going just about anywhere in North America although I have a few western rivers in mind.


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Old 12-15-2015   #2
The Mogur's Avatar
Oregon City, Oregon
Paddling Since: 1972
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 495
There are two kinds of guiding: Day Trips and Multi-Day Trips. From what you say, it sounds like you've been doing day trips. You can get day trip work on several rivers in Oregon, Idaho, and Washington. But steady work comes from doing multi-day trips. Look for companies that do several rivers, not just one. That's how you keep interested. Try Oregon River Experiences. Like all outfitters, they nearly always need new guides.
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Old 12-15-2015   #3
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What river/ section have you been guiding?
zach baird
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Old 12-15-2015   #4
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Coquitlam, BC, Canada
Paddling Since: 2013
Join Date: Aug 2013
Posts: 446
How about Western Canada....? (Interior of BC?). PM me for details/contacts....
15' AIRE Wave Destroyer - MadCatr Frame - Sawyer MXS oars w/Duramax blades
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Old 12-16-2015   #5
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Tabernash, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: Jan 2015
Posts: 1,901
I used to guide the royal gorge on the ark, it probly meets many of your criteria, is a good river to make money on, close enough to major population centers for lots of business, and super fun, kinda scary at high flows do to lack of eddies. Great for evening play trips.
I did get a bit burnt out on the over commercialization though, still very fun, mostly day and half day trips there.

Salsa shaun hopefully is still arkansas R.M. for clear creek rafting , and he is good people, they are one of the smaller outfitters, alway's enjoyed renta- guiding for c.c.r., great river community on the ark in general when I was there.

I have thought lately that if I went back to guiding it might be multi days on one of the big western rivers, like deso, gates, or cat, Guiding Cat would be preaty bad ass, possibility for some HUGE water down there, and scare yourself times for sure, but has a certain draw some how.
I have had good interactions with oars. Max and Tabitha? from sherry grifith were super cool to help us fix our motor last trip, I learned more about small engines in 15 min from Tabitha, then I have my whole life, Thank you!

Happy guiding this summer!
We can't always agree, but we can still be civil to each other.
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Old 12-16-2015   #6
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Hampden, Massachusetts
Paddling Since: 1999
Join Date: Mar 2014
Posts: 334
Crabapplewhitewater in Massachusetts will get u 100 days paid on the river. Mostly class I-II(III) weekdays, class III(IV-) on weekends. Class III from late March till about late April. No free camping, but cheap rent ~$200/month. Cheap camping if you don't mind working at the campground for a couple hours a week, also a sweet mobile home park if y'all like crazy cat ladies and rusty trans-ams. $250-500 month rent in a cute artistic town nearby.

Maine, numerous outfitters class III-IV- three to five days a week from late June to Labor Day on the Kennebec with a few runs on the Dead River, both easy big water kinda lame for guiding, but good culture and sometime high water carnage. . Class III-V if you go to Penobscot River, maybe a little less work during the weekdays on the 'nob. Cheap rent, free camping if you ask around in both areas.
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Old 12-16-2015   #7
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Ashland, Oregon
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 123
Southern California's Kern River is going to be a great place to be a guide this spring and summer. The last two years have been tough, but this year the snowpack is already looking good in the Southern Sierra and the word of El Nino is promising. Kern River Outfitters (Kern River Rafting | Southern California's Favorite Whitewater River) is a great place to start researching guiding opportunities. There will be a guide school / interview process in April that is necessary to attend if you want to work for them.

The river offers numerous sections with lots of different whitewater, from hour-long floats to three day stretches (the Forks of the Kern), Class III - V. The Forks is certainly one of, if not the best, commercially run multi-day Class IV/V trips in the west. The Kern is some of the closest rafting to LA, San Diego, and Vegas and is a huge draw, thus there is work and you can stay pretty busy. Shuttles are short, the whitewater is great.

Call Kern River Outfitters at 760-376-3370 and talk to Matt.
Will Volpert
Indigo Creek Outfitters
Ashland, Oregon
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Old 12-17-2015   #8
Riverbend, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1986
Join Date: Dec 2015
Posts: 13
Thanks all for the suggestions some of these I will investigate. The other considerations I have are to find a spot with good water regarding snowpack and I would like to extend my season. I usually get about 90 days of work.
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Old 12-17-2015   #9
Grand Junction, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2012
Join Date: Jan 2015
Posts: 127
If you want to extend your season check out some of the outfits in Moab and GJ/Fruita. There are trips from April-October.

Lots of companies in CO run WW, Cat, Deso, etc but the Moab outfits (like Sherri Griffith / OARS) have the most permits and actually fill them.

Moab is an awesome place to be in spring and fall too.
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Old 01-17-2016   #10
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Paddling Since: 1990
Join Date: Sep 2015
Posts: 64
Hi Ginger! I guided on the Rio Grande in northern New Mexico last year and it was a blast! There's cheap camping ($3 a night if you get the primitive site near the Taos Junction Bridge, $5 at a typical campsite, $7 or $10 for the plush site with showers); if you camp on the mesa over the gorge rim you don't pay anything (though the wind up there could get annoying). There are basically three sections the outfitters run: the Taos Box (15 miles deep wilderness gorge, class IV), the Orilla Verde (6.5 miles, very remote class 2+ to 3- but mostly flat), and the Race Course (4.5 miles major road near by but that it, with little noticeable traffic from river level, class 3 to 3+). The Race Course is by far the most popular, and has a very short easy shuttle. When the water levels are up the Taos Box is popular too. This year was a wet year so the river mostly ran 500 cfs until mid August. We're having a wet year again it seems and the El Nino might give us a great snow pack to have levels near 1000 cfs for a large part of the summer again. But low flows tend to be the norm, between 400 and 500 cfs (one of my fellow guides told me he had a season guiding on the Race Course at 185 cfs). Many of the companies also run trips on the nearby Rio Chama, a class 2 to 3- river with a stunningly gorgeous river canyon that provides either a 1-day trip on the lower 8 miles, or a 3 day wilderness trip for 23 miles followed by the lower 8 miles. The companies have different needs as far as guides go so definitely, definitely ask around to see who has the work the give! The companies here can get so busy that you'll be asking for time off. The usual work season is mid-May to mid-August, but some companies will run at least till mid September. Also, there's an understanding among some companies allowing guides to work for more than just one. If the company you're with runs till August and another till September there's not insult in going to the other company to work after the season ended for your first employer. For a list of the outfitters check out this page:

Members :: Rafting New Mexico :: NMROA

If you have any questions please PM me!
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