After whitewater raft guiding for eight years on the Kicking Horse River, I made a shift to the northern rivers when I started guiding for Canadian River Expeditions in 1999. In the past 13 years with CRE/NRA, I have guided on the Tatshenshini, Firth, Alsek, Stikine, and Burnside Rivers. In addition, I spent brief seasons guiding and kayaking the rivers of Costa Rica and also the Ottawa River. Personal trips have taken me to the Colorado, Green, Nahanni and Wind Rivers
Living in Golden, BC, I work as a dentist on a biweekly basis and spend my free time running, biking and kayaking. However, my summers seemed to be consumed by climbing and winters by ski touring. Also in the winter I enjoy time tail guiding for back country ski touring lodges in the Golden area. Occasionally I take on the role of camp manager for Alpine Club of Canada ski touring trips.
The draw for me to the northern rivers, was the allure of adventure in the Canadian north. The midnight sun, northern mountains, tundra, ocean coastlines, and isolated settings. What better way to experience all of this than by traveling down a river. It’s as close as you can come to being in a Pierre Berton novel. One of my favourite memories is looking out over the river from the confluence of the Tatshenshini and Alsek. From that point, the river is a kilometer wide and surrounded by glaciated peaks. However, it is just one of many spectacular vistas. See you there!
Again this fall I took part in our local Columbia Wetland’s Waterfowl Survey. Having done this for the past few years, I feel I can now call myself a “ducker”. While my new found label doesn’t quite have the same street credit as “birder”, I believe it to be a stepping stone towards the latter.
This was causing mild angst for Nadja who thought my new interest was hastening my entry into the local retirement home. However, a group of Buffleheads won her over, and now she too is surprised to find a hobby she didn’t expect to come along for another couple of decades.
This summer I got the chance to go back to the fantastic Alsek River, after many years since seeing it last. Spectacular, just like I recalled it to be.
The fall started off with a trip to Oregon and 5 days on the Rogue River. Warm water; what a novelty. Then back home where my time was divided between work and using the trails around Golden.
Darn, this past summer didn’t work out for doing a northern river trip. Hopefully next summer. Instead, my time was spent in Golden doing the usual activities around here. Not much has changed other than our garden seems to be getting bigger. Last week it was growing snow.
Summer and Fall 2015
We started the summer with a climbing trip down to Wyoming – road trips are always fun. This was followed up with a three-week northern canoe trip. River trips in the Arctic never fail to impress me; there is just something very special about them. We had spectacular weather with beautiful hiking. Once back home, I spent the rest of the summer in Golden and the Rocky Mountains. The arrival of fall was a relief to the hot summer, but we were back in the heat of things in October with a biking and hiking trip down to the Utah desert. After a summer off from river guiding, I look forward to being back on the roster next year.
My girlfriend, Nadja, and I got a jump start on the summer this year with spring trips to Oregon and Idaho. Great spots for climbing and biking. We then came back for what was to be one of the hottest summers in the Rockies that I can recall. We hope to fit in one more biking trip this fall before the winter. A new thing for me will be working full time this winter as my colleague is on maternal leave until April. I hope to be back on the northern rivers next summer after missing this past season.
I had a great fall spending a couple of weeks biking in Ketchum, Idaho and Sedona, Arizona. Winter is in full swing with a mix of free time and work time filling my days in Golden. Locally, there is Kicking Horse Ski Resort for easy access skiing. For backcountry access, Roger’s Pass is just 45 minutes down the road. Looking ahead to the summer, I hope to do a private canoe trip on the Horton River – the next river on my wish list.
The Firth River was as amazing as ever this year. The wildlife seemed to coordinate appearances perfectly so that we were never long between sightings. Now I am back in Golden, putting down my dental tools as often as possible to climb and ski.