Photo Credit: Tyler Garnham
Photo Credit: Bruce Kirkby
Photo Credit: Bruce Kirkby
Photo Credit: Tyler Garnham
Photo Credit: Tyler Garnham
Photo Credit: Terry Parker
Photo Credit: Tyler Garnham
Photo Credit: Tyler Garnham
Photo Credit: Terry Parker
Photo Credit: Bruce Kirkby

Our Guides

Rich Swanson

I have been guiding for CRE/NRA for 23 years now, 28 years total, having worked also for White-water Adventures and Hyak. During that time I have had the privilege of guiding on the Nahanni, Tatshenshini, Alsek, Firth, Babine, Taku, Chilko, Chilcotin and Fraser Rivers, as well as the Colorado, South Thompson and Chilliwack Rivers.

My initial draw to river guiding was the chance to detach myself from modern life and society, and to explore the wilderness and wonders of Canada’s north.

My day job is as a High School Counsellor in my home of Comox, BC, where I reside with my wife Karen and our two daughters Stella and Sophie. I also work as a Guide/Instructor/Educator for youth wilderness programs. In my free time I can be found ski touring, mountaineering, skiing and ocean kayaking.

Guide Gossip

Autumn 2017

After 2 Fantastic Firth trips in July I am back in Comox, enjoying all that Vancouver Island has to offer. I continue to work as a High school counsellor as well as coach the Schools Ski and Snowboard team on Mt. Washington. I have been a member of the Comox Valley Search and Rescue Team for the past three years and enjoy the opportunity to help others and refine my First Aid and outdoor technical skills.
Life is full of family adventures and laughter with my Wife Karen and two daughters, Stella (11) and Sophie (9).
As I wait for the snow to fall and the ski season to start, I look forward to yet another season of guiding and wonder what will be around the next bend. 

Autumn 2016

This past season, I had the chance to head north to guide one trip each on the Nahanni and the Firth–two spectacular but completely different rivers.

I started rafting on rivers in British Columbia in 1984 and before I knew it, I was hooked! I’m still guiding more than 30 years later.

When on a river, it seems like life slows down to the pace of the water. It’s a chance to detach from our electronics and the daily onslaught of emails. Each journey is different, and there’s always time to immerse ourselves and enjoy the environment, whether we’re hiking, fishing or wildlife spotting. During the Firth trip this past season, our group spotted a wolverine running along the shore. We were able to get within 75 feet of the animal before it noticed and ran off across the tundra. It was a wild encounter that won’t soon be forgotten.

My off-season has been spent on lots of quality family time with my wife Karen and two daughters Stella, 10, and Sophie, 8. We live in Comox where I work as a high school counsellor. I’m also busy coaching my school’s ski and snowboard racing team, and volunteering with the Comox Valley Ground Search and Rescue. My daughters are talented musicians and have just released their second children’s album!

Fall 2013

This summer found me back on the Alsek River for some of the best weather, hiking and paddling I can remember. Back at home we had a great family summer and now I am back in my other life as a school Counselor.

Spring 2013

Hello All,
My Summer holidays from my position as a High school counsellor in Comox, BC started with a spectacular hiking filled 14 Day Nahanni trip. It was great to kick off from shore and be back in the flow of river life again. After 28 years on the oars the only thing that gets old are the memories, at least the ones I can remember. The remainder of the summer was action packed with a family camping trip to Hornby Island followed by a week long kayaking trip off the west coast of Vancouver island and a final week of water and sun on Sprout lake in Port Alberni. Life on the big island is good!

Family life is fun and fulfilling as my wife Karen and I are busy raising our two girls Stella age 6 and Sophie age 4. Our days are full from home schooling activities to dance and violin lessons, swimming and of course our wrestling , which is really a tickle-fest on the living room floor.

As the rainy season is now upon us I look forward to the snow on the hills and to the spring thaw that follows.
Safe Travels!


Rich-Swanson2012-2[1] Rich2012[1] Rich-Swanson2012[1]

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