The sun rises over kilometre-high canyon walls, rays touching the colourful tents dotting the shoreline. The smell of bacon (and, could that be Hollandaise?) permeates the crisp morning air. A lanky man in rubber boots tops up the coffee thermos, and inhales deeply.
*record scratch* Yup, that’s me. I suppose you’re wondering how I got here.
It all started when, as a four year old lilydipper, I was bundled into a bright red rain suit and stuffed into a voyageur canoe for four days of rain and snow on the North Saskatchewan River. After that, I couldn’t stay away from paddling. From the Athabasca River flowing through my hometown, to the Wind River in Yukon Territory, to the Stoney Creek in Camrose, AB where I completed my BSc. in Environmental Science, and finally to the Nahanni as a river expedition guide in 2017. I like to think that somewhere in there I stopped lilydipping.
In between guiding seasons, I’ve kept my love for paddling and nature alive on a frozen version of water, cross-country and backcountry skiing. I just can’t get enough of being outside! Mountains and rivers are my jam.
Each spring I eagerly anticipate my return to river guiding. While my love for rivers is how I got here, watching the fragile beauty of the North inspire awe in each person who experiences it is what brings me back every summer. These places can only remain wild and beautiful through our combined effort, and after a week or two on the river, one can’t help but join the fight. That’s what brings me here, and it’s what makes me crawl out of my sleeping bag bright and early each morning on the river to make breakfast.