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Wow, sounds like Borderline personality disorder. Extremely manipulative. Diagnosed by "just want to slap them". I'd be curious to hear the whole story.
 

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Discussion Starter #43
I was on this trip and was witness to all of this, I was the one who told him "you are not welcome in this camp". I had my wife and 10yo son on this trip... dude was a mess!!! Never really heard what happened after the trip. I was just glad to be away from all of that...

On a happier note I'm super stoked to run the grand again this year with my favorite folks and boating crew...

On a side note @Rightoarleft is one of the most easy going folks I've ever boated with, truly a genuine good person!
Woohoo what's up man!!!

I heard you got a GC trip this year. Makes me smile. I've never run with anybody that I felt belonged on that river more than you. If and WHEN I score a permit, you can be sure you are on the invite list. I keep trying for november. Us Oregon boys like it a little cooler down there. In other news, what are you doing July 13? I have something you might be interested in.
 

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It was a surreal experience watching this man transform the minds of a group into a servitude of fear. A couple of us could see it happening but by the time we really caught on, it was too late. His calculated lies and manipulation had taken hold and few dared speak against him. I spoke out. He then began to instill a belief that I was an enemy of the group. It worked. And that's when I began to be afraid. I've never witnessed a man exercise such power over minds. These were hard-core backcountry recreationalists. Longtime rafters, climbers and canyoneers. These are not weak people. Nor is he a large man.

Trust me, I know how stupid this sounds. Nobody can be prepared for such a test. I don't think it counts as a learning experience because I'm not sure what actually happened. Seemed almost supernatural at times. The group doesn't talk about it.
Edit: Thought about this a little more. I’ve told my kids a thousand times, before you judge someone put your feet in their shoes. Sorry to have doubted you. I wasn’t there and clearly didn’t have grasp of the situation. It’s good it’s over and nothing permanent resulted.
 

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I have been on 4 guided trips in my rafting life (60 years of rowing). Three were company sponsored trips and paid for the employees. The inexperienced employees loved them, I cringed a lot, but they were safe trips for the most part and I just minded my own beeswax. Biggest complaint, they could not cook. The other one was with Helfrich in dory's, on the Rogue staying at lodges all the way 👍 👍 👍 top notch oarsmen and read the water perfectly. I know a few guides and they are good folk.
 
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@[email protected] - Helfrich is probably the outfitter I have had the most difficulty with. They are excellent oarsmen and the Middle Fork's oldest guide company. They have a reputation with folks like me that have been lucky enough to run the MF 35+ times. Their boating skills are never in question and I would not question their dedication to their customers and their craft, they are notorious for looking down on the private groups.
The two worst experiences I have had with them (and there are many) were these:

1. Low water August run and we were running The Chutes. At low water this is arguably the most technical run on the MF. Enter center (maybe just left of center), pull left of the big rock, push back to the right, bounce/spin through the deep spots in the middle, then come out at the bottom mostly in the middle. Helfrich has a dory at the bottom of the rapid, river left, tucked up behind the boulder on the left and a big rock about 3 feet off the big boulder allowing his passengers some fly time. Just as one of our boats is coming out of The Chutes, the dory guide decides it's time to leave and pulls right into the center channel (read - ONLY channel at that level for a raft). Our guy pulls hard to try to avoid but a 16' round boat is not that agile in that location. He hit the dory. We were read the riot act. Several days later, at the Flying-B their lead guy comes up to us and yells "Your group needs to stay 50 yards away from my boats at all times!". A few more heated words (one in which we pointed out the "everybody knows to always look up river" etiquette), we laughed and pointed out the inability to perform that feat with a river that doesn't exceed 50 yards in width and he stormed away. I talked to the guy later and told him that I had run the river about 35 times and I was the newbie on this trip. We "want" him to be successful and we want his passengers to have the best time they have ever had and we will do what we can to help but we cannot avoid a collision at the bottom of The Chutes in low water when the dory pulls into the only channel. He. Did. Not. Care.
2. Same river...different trip. Last day. For those that have run this river you know the last 1 to 1.5 miles of the MF before the confluence is the straightest section of that whole 90 mile run. We pass Helfrich at Goat Creek just setting up for lunch. We hit the confluence and turn the corner and the MF stretch is a clear as the eye can see. When we get to Cache there is a Helfrich truck parked on the takeout ramp filling up one lane. We told him we passed them setting up for lunch at Goat Creek and they wouldn't be here of awhile so can he pull up and let us get our trucks in. "No. They are only 15 minutes away.". He would not move. I took some pictures and was going to report them. But, about 15 minutes later a ranger showed up and it was one of our group's daughter-in-law. When she hugged the ranger the Helfrich driver changed his tune very rapidly, pulled his truck up, then offered to help load our rafts to help us get out of the way before his group showed up. He did inform us, though, that he was only doing it because he realized he was being rude and the ranger actually had no jurisdiction over the ramp.

I have several more Helfrich stories. Will say that usually our meetings with them are pleasant. Our meetings with ROW and OAR and all the others is almost always good especially when they learn how many river trips we have under our belt. Plus, we always tell the customers "Best outfitter...these guys will take great care of you" no matter what outfitter it is. It is the privates with douchebags that always crack me up.

In the end...I am on the river and I refuse to let a rude person (guide, private, ranger, customer, etc.) spoil it.
 

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Those with leadership skills, and decades of experience should be careful that they only lead those that are interested in being led.
Unless it's your permit you're just another guy with a boat. Most people are not interested in hearing your raft God resume.
 

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I have had bad MF Helfrich experiences, even other than they rarely wear PFD's.

They truly get uppity at the takeout and have an out-of-my-way attitude on the river. Keep the F away my dudes are fishing when they are spinning in an eddy blocking passage.

Sorry to say it; LJPurvis is right. I respect the job of guides and I respect the job of private TL's. Many times sorry to say, Helfrich lacked mutual respect. Maybe they think by getting in the face of privates that it will boost their tip.
 

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@[email protected] - Helfrich is probably the outfitter I have had the most difficulty with. They are excellent oarsmen and the Middle Fork's oldest guide company. They have a reputation with folks like me that have been lucky enough to run the MF 35+ times. Their boating skills are never in question and I would not question their dedication to their customers and their craft, they are notorious for looking down on the private groups.
Had one Helfrich group pull out of the eddy at Boundary and the Tight Lines (A. Helfrich) group launching the next day pulled right in front of all the privates stacked up in the parking/unloading area at Boundary and dropped their sweep boat right in the middle of the ramp. Their lead guide huffed from under her mask that all us privates should have already launched....but their cousins had only just vacated the eddy that they were busy filling for the next day!! At least a couple of their junior guides approached us and quietly apologized, and one of them helped lower private boats down the ramp to clear the traffic jam.

They sure do run the river beautifully.


[/QUOTE]Our meetings with ROW and OAR and all the others is almost always good especially when they learn how many river trips we have under our belt. Plus, we always tell the customers "Best outfitter...these guys will take great care of you" no matter what outfitter it is. It is the privates with douchebags that always crack me up.[/QUOTE]

I've had some awful interactions with ROW on the Lochsa and Alberton Gorge--splitting private groups mid-rapid, hogging the ramp with 5 boats and their bus down the center of a 2-lane ramp.

But have had uniformly amazing experiences with OARS, to the point I've even called their Idaho office to thank them for having guides who are polite and pleasant on the ramp and on the river with privates. If I had to recommend a commercial operator to a friend or family member, I'd pass their name forward every day of the week.
 

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Those with leadership skills, and decades of experience should be careful that they only lead those that are interested in being led.
Unless it's your permit you're just another guy with a boat. Most people are not interested in hearing your raft God resume.
Be the calm capable person in an emergency situation and they'll figure it out soon enough!
 

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In the end...I am on the river and I refuse to let a rude person (guide, private, ranger, customer, etc.) spoil it.
A correct and easy attitude to have. I did notice outfitters to be exceptionally unfriendly on MFS. One spread out 3 oar rigs sideways on the beach at the mouth of a creek we planned to fish. They were doing a full kitchen setup for lunch. Plenty of room for 8+ boats tied correctly. We got shrugs and blank stares first as we tried to row/ drag up the creek past them. Big eye rolls when we politely asked them to make space. They became more hostile as we got closer to the group so we left to avoid conflict. Other examples like this through the week.

That said, the worst behavior on the river was from a huge private group screaming at the top of their lungs non-stop all day. Lotta substances involved; noise was very noticeable within a mile or so. We unfortunately shared Veil Fails with them - infuriating.

There are private a-holes and guide a-holes. I truly can’t understand why. One is getting paid to float, and the other is on the vacation of a lifetime. But if someone’s behavior is as egregious as my examples, it’s intentional for sure. Confronting it is guaranteed to backfire.
 

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LJPurvis said:
In the end...I am on the river and I refuse to let a rude person (guide, private, ranger, customer, etc.) spoil it.
Well said.

Nanko said:
There are private a-holes and guide a-holes. I truly can’t understand why. One is getting paid to float, and the other is on the vacation of a lifetime. But if someone’s behavior is as egregious as my examples, it’s intentional for sure. Confronting it is guaranteed to backfire.
Amen to that, too.
As much as some things have grated me, I've learned to blow it off. Dammit, I'm on vacation, too. No sense in letting a-holes drag you down to their level. Speaking of which, "having a zen attitude" is one of the greatest takeaways I ever got from a river guide...the more I practice it, the better I feel.
Even if those a-holes are spinning up others in your group, being the calm one feels good. People will look to you for your sense of serenity, and it comes back to you when you share it! Your effort is far better spent sharing the zen.
 

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Yep MT4Runner!

I always try to remember this: anyone who can be an a-hole even on a river trip must be a profoundly miserable bastard. That is it’s own punishment.

Or maybe just a psychopath like rightoarleft’s story. Craziest river tale I’ve ever come across; I’d love to hear more.
 

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Yep MT4Runner!

I always try to remember this: anyone who can be an a-hole even on a river trip must be a profoundly miserable bastard. That is it’s own punishment.

Or maybe just a psychopath like rightoarleft’s story. Craziest river tale I’ve ever come across; I’d love to hear more.
Probably you don't. Just saying.
 

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Fair. Morbid curiosity getting the best of me...
Like paging through an illustrated book on jungle diseases.....
 

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Discussion Starter #60
Craziest river tale I’ve ever come across; I’d love to hear more.
Yeah I'm regretting bringing it up. It put a dark cloud over my day. Maybe sometime I'll share about the time my buddy and I decided to jump on a highwater Middle Owyhee. It's a three day trip. Took us seven. Mistakes were made, boats were had, and an amazing encounter with a group of paddlers from Latvia who turned out to be some of the most decent human beings I've ever met. We were way outclassed, but that's where adventure begins!
 
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