Winter? This is Just Summer Recharging
My friends and family know I'm a professional river guide. This lifestyle choice sometimes confuses them, but they really get confused when winter comes. "I mean, there's no water, and it's cold, so like do you just hibernate until next summer?"
It's true that at the end of each summer our rafting season "ends." Our equipment is cleaned and packed into Salmon, Idaho and Grants Pass, Oregon warehouses. The guides load their dry bags into their trucks and say reluctant goodbyes to their river family. There's lots of hugging and laughing about a summer's worth of adventure and a little sadness that another summer has come to an end, but there's also excitement that another summer will be here before we know it.
The empty guide houses and locked warehouses get quiet and cold, but it's a different story at ECHO's headquarters in Hood River, OR. Here, ECHO is far from hibernating. Zach and Janda are busy all winter answering phones and booking legendary river trips for the 2012 season. They are at their desks every day, and Dick and Joe are here via video chatting and telephone calls, well maybe not if the weather is really nice. In addition to managing all the daily operations of a dynamic river company, ECHO has also been working on some exciting projects this winter.
ECHO, in partnership with American Rivers, American Whitewater, and Keen hosted a Wild Rivers Night in the Keen Great Room in downtown Portland. ECHO’s working on more videos for the future, and is stoked to know some of the best in filmmakers the industry – Nate Herbeck of Sheer Madness Productions and Andy Maser.
Zach, Dick, and Joe spend lots of time in the winter meeting with industry groups, attending conferences, and working on conservation issues. Zach has been working on a new cookbook.
We’ve set the dates for our Yoga Trips, Kids Trips, and Guide School, and we’ve designed some exciting new trips for 2012 including a trip to Russia’s Sayan Oka River, a cultural tour of Ancient Anatolia, and a trail running Middle Fork of the Salmon Trip. This is just a sample of the exciting ideas and logistics that keep us busy all winter.
Despite all the hard work that goes on inside the office, ECHO will always be about getting outside, and no matter how nice of an office you set up in a raft company, there’s going to occasionally be an empty desk when the water is up and there’s adventures to be had outside. In fact, I’m out of here. I hope to see you on a river soon!