I first began working as a River Guide in 1999, but started working with Canadian River Expeditions in 2005. I can most often be found guiding the Tatshenshini, Alsek, or Firth but have experience on the Babine and Chilko as well. In my rafting career I have guided people safely off of waterfalls up to 21 feet high, down the Mighty Zambezi River’s class 5 whitewater and through the crocodile and hippo infested waters of Ethiopia’s Omo River.
I got my start in paddling with my family growing up, and when I couldn’t agree with my brother where our canoe should be in the river, I began kayaking to become captain of my own ship. I then began guiding rafts as soon as I was old enough to get my guides license. One of my favourite things in life is to see and experience a river for the first time, and one of my favourite things about guiding is to see other people have that experience too. I feel privileged to guide trips in the pristine and protected areas that CRE offers. I look forward to a season with CRE every year for many reasons, including the animals, the daylight, the ice and the people. Some of my best friends are guides for CRE, and the guests on our trips always share a passion for the outdoors.
I reside in Quesnel, BC with my wife and two sons where I work as a paramedic for BC Ambulance, am working to complete a carpentry apprenticeship and run a local rafting company, Big Canyon Rafting. Though I have many jobs, whenever I am asked, “what do you do?” my answer is always the same, “I’m a raft guide.”
After a unique Summer in BC, especially on the Cariboo Chilcotin, the smoke has finally cleared and it seems the wildfires are behind us. The lake froze early where we live and there have been a couple weeks of great skating with family and friends. I am finally finishing up the world’s longest carpentry apprenticeship and am looking forward to writing my final exams in December. I hope to be significantly inconvenienced by huge amounts of snow this winter, fingers crossed. Next summer I have my sights set on the Best of BC Whitewater Expedition, down the Taseko, Chilcotin and Fraser rivers. The 2018 trip will have the opportunity to see some of the wildfire affected area in their first year of regeneration, and of course fantastic whitewater, hiking and camping too. Our family managed to spend quite a bit of time on the river together in 2017, we did a number of day trips and multi-day camping trips. It’s great to hear the boys reflect on the different rivers and rapids from the summer, but for the moment that is just reminiscing, and the real focus is on the ski hill.
Ahhhh, I’m welcoming a bit of downtime. I am writing this at the start of November, which is shoulder season: too cold to raft, too wet to ski. It’s a good time to reflect on the whirlwind that was this past summer. We kicked things off this year in early June with the birth of our third son, Garnet Chilko Dinsdale. One week later, we started our rafting season here in Quesnel and hit the rivers hard for the next three months. We ran day trips and multi-day expeditions all over the Cariboo-Chicotin region of B.C. this year, but there were a few highlights that stand out now that the boats are rolled up for the winter. In August, a large group of raft guide friends got together and took some of our kids on a two-day trip down the Chilcotin River. It was exciting to have the next generation out on the water and having a blast, enjoying what we love to do. In September, I had the good fortune to guide the “Best of B.C.” for Canadian River Expeditions with Royce and Neil. It was an excellent trip down the Chilko, Chilcotin and Fraser Rivers. With our great guests and big fun crew of guides, this trip was exciting and beautiful. I’m so glad that people came to experience a little bit of what we have to offer here in B.C. The winter looks like it will be a great one for staying close to home. I am headed back to school for carpentry and soon enough the t-bars will be running at our local ski hill. It’s great to embrace the things that each unique season has to offer and to start to think of next summer’s adventures as the snow piles up outside.
Life is busy as ever in the Dinsdale house, I am writing this at the end of November, there is a snowfall warning here in the Cariboo, and it is dumping big flakes outside. Thoughts have turned to skiing and winter fun, but 2014 left us with some great paddling memories. I was fortunate to begin the rafting season in June, teaching guide school alongside Chris Rhodes, after 15 seasons of guiding, it’s very rewarding to realize that you actually have quite a bit of experience and insight to offer to young, keen, would-be river guides. July took me North to the Alsek River, too many highlights to list, but working alongside Whitey and Royce can’t be beat, couple that with our ever helpful and hilarious guests, and some of the best weather I’ve experienced and I will be dreaming of that trip all winter long. When I came back down South, to BC, our season at Big Canyon Rafting was in full effect, we expanded our business to offer day trips and multi-day trips on the Chilcotin River this year, a River with beautiful scenery, fun whitewater and a rich cultural history, as well as our trips on the Quesnel River.
On August 4th the Mount Polley Mine Tailings Pond Breach, spilled 7.3 million cubic metres of tailings, along with the associated pond water into Quesnel Lake, and into the Quesnel River 15 kms away. The River that we run raft trips on and which flows through our city was closed to human contact for two weeks, monitoring of the effects on water quality and aquatic life are ongoing. None of the tailings have been cleaned up yet. This opened our eyes even wider to the conservation efforts that exist, to protect Rivers and wild spaces from the potential harmful effects of industry. The tireless effort that Neil Hartling has put into conservation and protection of the Nahanni, Tatshenshini, Alsek and other Northern Rivers is commendable, Thank You. In October our family had the opportunity to attend a totem pole raising ceremony at Teztan Biny, (Fish Lake). This is the lake that would have been turned into a tailings pond had the Prosperity Mine been approved. Teztan Biny is an amazing and spectacularly beautiful place, it sits high above the Taseko River, in a pine forest with Mountain Vistas. A tailings pond disaster here would flow into the Taseko, Chilko, Chilcotin and Fraser Rivers. Over a day of moving ceremonies it was illustrated to us how important this place and these Rivers are to the local First Nations and community who opposed the mine.
Some of the best times we had on the water this year were the float trips we did with our family and friends. It has been great to introduce our boys and other young families to the fun and adventure that is to be had on our spectacular local waterways.
All the best, Tyler Dinsdale
We are currently in NZ taking advantage of Julie’s last few weeks of mat leave. 11 years ago I worked a season over here rafting and driving around from river to river kayaking everything I could, ferreting out cheap beer and sleeping wherever I ended up.
This time around we are driving from playground to playground and spending our beer money on rental cars and hotel rooms.
Can you remind me how this happened?
2013 has been another fantastic year for the Dinsdale family, starting with the birth of our second son Eli, in January. The Spring was kind of a blur with a lot of visiting, some skiing and some ice fishing. When the river’s thawed my northern destination this year was the Alsek River in July with Big Tyler and Alan. A couple of our guest on the Alsek this year had made is their mission to complete the “7 Best River Expeditions in North America” and the Alsek was the final trip on their list. It was wonderful and entreating to hear their stories from all their other trips and also quite something to hear them announce at then end of the trip that they had both independently ranked the Alsek as their #1 favourite trip. I can really see where they are coming from, I don’t think you can go wrong with the Mountains, the Animals, the Ice, the Rapids, the Hikes, and of course the Helicopter Portage! It goes without saying that I had an amazing and memorable trip as well.
Once back home in BC our rafting season was in full swing and with a hot dry summer we spent a lot of time on and in the river. Once October rolled around we took the opportunity to do a 14 day family canoe trip. My wife Julie, sons Logan, and Eli, dog Callie myself loaded up into a canoe and slipped away for 2 blissful weeks.
Plans for winter have us focused on the local ski hill, maybe chipping away at finishing this house, spending time with family and friends, and of course……… dreaming about spring, when the rivers flow again.
Last spring Julie and I purchased a small local rafting company, with two boats and one bus. Big Canyon Rafting runs rivers in the Quesnel area. This new venture did not, however, keep me from my annual pilgrimage to the rivers north of the 60th parallel last season, nor will it hinder me from making the trip north in 2013.
This past year I guided one trip up North on the Tatshenshini river, a great trip from the time we put our boats in the water at Dalton Post, to the time our old friend Pat Pellet put us on the plane at Dry Bay. When I got back to BC, there was no time to rest, for fellow raft guide, Chris Rhodes’ bachelor party we put together a 6 day Babine river expedition, truly one of the most amazing trips of my life. Chris’s wedding on Quadra Island became the perfect excuse for a family road trip and we spent just over a week travelling around BC. Tyler Garnham and I spent a couple days out on his sailboat exploring the gulf islands, I think Big T had a bit of a chuckle seeing me out of my element as we sailed across the Strait of Georgia. At the end of the rafting season I found myself on another one of BC’s best rivers, the Chilko is an absolute gem in this province and when I did the math I was amazed to find that it had been 8 years since I had last been down that river.
Our family is doing well, Logan turned 2 in November and Eli Dinsdale, bouncing baby boy, was born on January 29th, well before I have finished the kitchen or put down floors. Rats. He is doing well though and doesn’t seem too fussed that his house is not completed.
With that being said, I have to go outside and swing a hammer.
See you on the river!
Tyler, Julie, Logan and Eli