Time goes, you say? Ah no!
Alas, Time stays, we go.
~Henry Austin Dobson
I received a note from my dad a couple weeks ago that read, “There’s some history here.” It was attached to a brochure. “1978 River Trips Outdoor Adventures” was the text on the cover. I started flipping through the brochure and found myself caught in an eddy of memories and stories – some of my own and a few of someone else’s I tried to conjure.
One of the things I’ve discovered over time is that the best river stories aren’t river stories at all – they are people stories. And the people I admire most, whether I’ve met them or not, have been river people. Through my own experiences working with other guides and outfitters, or through stories that I’ve heard over and over again like a stick stuck in an eddy – passing by camp once again – it’s not whitewater I remember greatly, but the people.
I think about myself and other new-generation guides and outfitters. The Zach Colliers, Kelsey Helfrichs, Seth Tonsmeires, Travis Staples, Greg McFaddens, Jared Hopkinsons, and the many, many others who are picking up the oars and moving downstream. I can’t help but wonder – what will be our defining moments as outfitters, river runners, and guides, if any? Certainly some of us will find other careers at some point, but that won’t mean they’re not a character in this industry riddled with interesting people. Our predecessors are legends in my book – they saved rivers, built an industry from its infancy, and were authentic adventurers. For us, the trail has mainly been blazed, yet I still sense a yearning for adventure from my colleagues and river friends. I sense that there are new ideas and rivers that will change the way we run river trips. I sense that there still might be pioneers amongst us that become the Martin Littons or Georgie Whites of our generation.
And so I turn the pages of this brochure and contemplate what I might be doing in 30 years. How might I look back at rivers I’ve run and the people I’ve met, and how those dots will emerge from decisions I make along the way. I hope I will have stories to tell and I hope all of you are part of those stories.
Spring is here and it’s time for another river season. Here’s to the outfitters and guides who have brought us to where the industry is today. And to the ones who will take us into the next 30 years.
– Will Volpert, Indigo Creek Outfitters
Outdoor Adventures 1978 brochure
Courtesy of Bob Volpert, Idaho River Journeys
(in it’s entirety – click an image to enlarge):