2018 will be my 50th year boating. I started guiding in 1968 on the Stanislaus River in California. My father made a trip down the Grand Canyon with Martin Litton in 1967 and came back so impressed with the adventure that he told me not to pass up the chance to go. My first trip in the canyon was in 1968. It was all by the seat of our pants then. Martin was busy with many other projects, and river outfitting in general was in its infancy. So basically, I was in the right place at the right time and had the good fortune to be a part of something truly special.
Time spent on a river is regenerative in such a way that many of us [in the river community] consider it life-changing. The longer you spend going with the flow, and the more you open yourself up to the experience, the bigger the benefit to your soul.
Here’s one from John Muir: “Take a course in good water and air; and in the eternal youth of Nature you may renew your own.”
How we connect with water and rivers, along with just being outdoors and in the wilderness, and having the opportunity to take in each day in a more natural way—I think it’s kind of an emotional and philosophical thing. Getting up when the sun comes up and dealing with the basics of a river trip is amazingly rejuvenating. The longer you’re out there the more likely you are to make that inner connection. Those that do, benefit greatly.