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Nacho Chili Cheese Fries
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Discussion Starter #1
Getting ready to retire for good this time. Looking to travel and hook up with a good outfitter and ride out some years on a river somewhere.

25+ years guiding many rivers. I have all my certs updated and ready. Curious if anyone has a favorite river and outfitter they have worked for (within the last couple years), or currently working for?

I realize this is very subjective but I would like to hear from the commercial guides out there.

Jake
 

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Whitewater Adventure Outfitters on the Arkansas in Canon City Colorado. Tony and Kathy are super people that run a high quality operation and treat you like family.
 

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MT/Idaho:
Tarkio out of Missoula is a good operation, as are 3Rivers and Lewis & Clark.


OARS always seems like a good crew when I've encountered them on the Main Salmon.



Personally, I'd avoid River Odysseys West out of Spokane WA/Lowell ID. Have had some shitty experiences around them over the years on the Lochsa and Alberton Gorge.
 

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Nacho Chili Cheese Fries
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Discussion Starter #4
fantastic!! Thank you :) My daughter works for OARS in California. Thought about just joining that outfit but looking more for good mom and pop operations (less corporate) that take care of their guides ;) (Not that OARS doesn't). Keep 'em comin!

I'm looking into the one's suggested now.
 

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yeah, OARS is corporate, but the way their guides act on the river, it's clear they're well taken-care of . I've had a LOT of positive interactions with their crew (and I'm saying this as a private) and that doesn't happen in a vacuum.

And I'm a dory guy..and seeing how so many old GCD guides are still with the new company 30+years later, that says a LOT.
 

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Psychedelic Pirate
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Are you interested in raft guiding, fish, or both? My 2 cents: I would want to plants roots with an outfitter that would keep me busy, offer a variety of different itineraries, and have multiple rivers to choose from. I know that Oars, Row, and NW all offer international itineraries.
 

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Nacho Chili Cheese Fries
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Discussion Starter #7
Raft guiding, fishing, dories, multi-days and big water.

Ideally an outfitter with permits on multiple rivers who does great multi days (sounds like OARS). Dories would be amazing (Sounds like OARS)! I've always wanted to get back to the MoFoSalmon, Selway, and Lochsa. Maybe even settle down in Salmon/North Fork.
 

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Psychedelic Pirate
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Sounds like you have your answer sir. And in record time too! I'm looking forward to seeing your filled out application for OARS posted on MB!
 

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Short seasons and low water get you down? Come out to Ohiopyle and work for Laurel Highlands then head down to WV for Gauley season. If you want to stay on a little harder water than the lower yough most of the time, hit up precision rafting in Friendsville. Cheap housing, lots of rivers, and lots of rain. Close to the Baltimore/D.C./Pittsburgh population centers.
 

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Nacho Chili Cheese Fries
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Discussion Starter #10
Sounds like you have your answer sir. And in record time too! I'm looking forward to seeing your filled out application for OARS posted on MB!
:p these applications are pretty serious! Last time I worked commercially they asked me if I thought I could get "these folks down that river" extending a paddle in the pointed direction of the river! Thing have changed!
 

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Raft guiding, fishing, dories, multi-days and big water.

Ideally an outfitter with permits on multiple rivers who does great multi days (sounds like OARS). Dories would be amazing (Sounds like OARS)! I've always wanted to get back to the MoFoSalmon, Selway, and Lochsa. Maybe even settle down in Salmon/North Fork.
If I really wanted to guide dories, seems that owning a dory would get you to the head of the line faster.

(At least that's the little voice in my head of the dory in my garage telling me I should quit my day job and do just that!)
 

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Hi Jake,

It sounds like our circumstances might not be all that different. I started guided almost exactly 25 years ago. After spending that last 10 years or so 'settling down' I was able to go part time at work and go back to guiding part time this last summer. I hope to be able to keep this balance until I can't get into the boat anymore:). So who did I go with? Oars, out of the Vernal base, and they've been awesome to work for.

I get what you're saying about the benefits of a smaller, well run, outfit. That would normally be a priority to me as well but I couldn't be happier that I ended up at Oars. You know as much as I do if you're daughter guides for them but I've never seen a outfit that does as much to take care of their guides as they do. Each base seems to be run pretty independently as well so it doesn't feel like as big of a company as it is. I also love that there is the potential to get out and work a variety of other rivers as well as out of your 'home base.' I've still got to earn my chops there but I will get on a Dory one day.

That's my two cents. I don't know if I could tell you anything that your daughter couldn't but let me know if you have any questions about my experience there.

-Eddie
 

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If I really wanted to guide dories, seems that owning a dory would get you to the head of the line faster.

(At least that's the little voice in my head of the dory in my garage telling me I should quit my day job and do just that!)
From what I am told, if you have your own dory, it can be really awesome working for Oars, cause you not only get guide pay, but you get payed well for using your own boat.
I know one guide that does that ( been guiding forever, and he pretty much gets his choice of where to work, believe he spent this season in the GC).
My other friend at the Dino office is really happy there to. I’ve been on private trips with several of the Dino guides over the years, and always great boaters, and great people.


I never renta guided for WAO when I was down there, but I always spent a lot of time boating and hanging out with there guides. Every last one of them that I knew was awesome. Always Got along with Tony and Kathy, for how well I knew them.
If I ever end up lost in this life, there’s a good chance I’ll end up down on the Ark, the place just feels like coming back home to me...
 
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Well, ya know what Warren Miller always told us...
“If you don’t do it this year, you’ll just be another year older, when you do”!
 
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Ya know, if I could go back to just being a raft guide, right now, and could work on any river I wanted to, I would be in the bottom of the Grand Canyon, for as much as this earthly life, would allow.
 

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Nacho Chili Cheese Fries
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Discussion Starter #16
thank you everyone for sharing your input. I had no idea about owner coop'd dories. That sure would be a great way to get on the GC.

@ Eddie - that's so cool. My daughter is in Logan UT going to college and wants to get to the Vernal outpost in the next two seasons. I'm glad to hear the company is treating you guys well. She seems very happy. I have avoided her outpost (Coloma, CA) just to give her space - but I would so love to work the same river with her while I can. Soon she will be all over the world. May I ask - did OARS make you go through guide school all over again or did they hire you with your years of boating experience? Did you get to guide right away?
 

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Curious when you guys say OARS "takes care of their guides", what does this mean specifically or even just in general? What makes an outfitter a "good" place to work?


pete
 

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Psychedelic Pirate
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Curious when you guys say OARS "takes care of their guides", what does this mean specifically or even just in general? What makes an outfitter a "good" place to work?


pete
For me it's definitely pay, schedule, and itineraries. I like staying busy, being compensated accordingly, and having a variety of different trips to choose from. So far this season I've done a 47 day straight run, 15 turn and burn trips, 26 trips total, 5 different itineraries, and 80 days and counting on the water. I like staying busy. I'm married with a mortgage so the other details of guide life don't really affect me as much. Things like amenities at the guide house, camp, or getting fed for free.
 

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For me it's definitely pay, schedule, and itineraries. I like staying busy, being compensated accordingly, and having a variety of different trips to choose from. So far this season I've done a 47 day straight run, 15 turn and burn trips, 26 trips total, 5 different itineraries, and 80 days and counting on the water. I like staying busy. I'm married with a mortgage so the other details of guide life don't really affect me as much. Things like amenities at the guide house, camp, or getting fed for free.
I'll add a few things to this... Returning guides with Oars can start to qualify for reimbursement of their health insurance premium and they will also contribute to your pretax retirement deduction. A rafting company with benefits, what!! They also provide resources for addressing mental health issues. Most anyone who's guided for awhile can attest that after the highs of a season you can sometimes get a little bummed out waiting for the next gig. These are just two examples that I think illustrate a company that wants to take care of their employees.
 
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