Moyie River Photos

Moyie River

Boundary County

Idaho.

This is where I first learned to guide. Back in 2009. I had no other boating experience except riding on the cargo boats on Hells Canyon river trips as a Swamper, or helper guide.

I was terrified.

Now it’s my fourth season on the Moyie, and it still provides challenges.

Two days ago, we took a videographer down for some shots. I took a chance and rode along with my camera; only a plastic bag to keep it dry. Yes, I did have faith in the man on the oars, my manager Chris, to keep the boat upright. 

I hope these photographs capture the unpredictable, yet playful  personality of this incredible, wild river; the Moyie.

And please, respect the photos and don’t use them without my permission. You are more than welcome to contact me if you would like to use them in any way. I love publicity when credit is given!

What happened to the Hostel?

I grew up with a specific definition of a ‘hostel’ in mind. This definition came from my Mom’s descriptions of the hostels she and her family toured in the late 70’s all over Europe.

A hostel, I used to think, was a dirt cheap place to stay. You got a dorm bed, maybe with sheets. You shared a bathroom and shower with everyone else. you brought your own towel, pillow and blankets. There might be a common kitchen, and the cost was brought down because you were assigned chores. During your stay you were assigned a task such as cleaning the kitchen, the bathroom or mopping the floors.

Hostels were the cheapest way to travel.

Then, something happened somewhere between then and now, and the world of Hostels changed. My theory is that someone realized what a good time young people were having, hanging out at hostels. They decided to transform their hostel from a dirtbag cheap bunkhouse and market its social perks. 

I imagine that hostels all over the world began to catch on to this new idea, seeing what flair they could add to attract the 20 something year old traveler. Bars were put in, stylized decorations and furniture was put up, breakfast and meals were offered, and services such as tours and rentals were available.

Sounds great, until you see the cost. 

When Ben and I were in Argentina, we looked into staying in hostels. On average, the hostels were 12-15 US dollars each for a dorm bed. Splitting a hotel room? 13-17 US dollars each. The price usually was the same or cheaper, and if not it was worth the extra dollar for a private room and bathroom.

So, as a travelling couple, hostels were not worth the price. A single traveler would find the cost much cheaper and enjoy the social connections, but for any group larger than two, why pay more for less?

I also found the hostel culture a bit annoying. I would meet a lot of other travelers, but mostly travelers from the US. We were in hostels in Argentina, and everyone would spend their days on their lap tops and iPads, social networking with friends back home. 

Modern hostels seem to be nothing like the hostels of the past. Unfortunately, with the change Hostels changed the meaning of the word ‘hostel’ too. I wish they had invented a new term for the modern hostel, and left ‘hostel’ to those who are just looking for a cheap bed.

But, since the hostel has been hijacked by fraternity-house-like-hotels, us dirt bag travelers will have to find new ways to travel cheap, and get away from that travel culture.

Hit the ground Running

May 1: board plane in Montevideo

May2: Arrive in Seattle, WA

May 3: have lunch with Brother, drive back to Clarkston (other side of the state) with Mom

May 4: prepare paperwork and licencing for job

May 5: staff training starts at noon,

May 7: river staff training on Grand Ronde starts

May 11: staff training ends at 5 pm

May 12: swiftwater rescue course starts

May 14: swiftwater rescue course ends, 5 pm

May 15: Northern River training starts on the Spokane river, 8 am

May 17: Moyie Season starts.

So, as you can see, I haven’t had much time to do much of anything. One would think that keeping myself busy has made my transition better, but it hasn’t. The first week was really a struggle: being suddenly separated from Ben, moving right into the fast paced current of US stress-fed business, and adjusting to changing my role as a traveler to a river guide.

The biggest adjustment has been the culture. It may be more difficult to re-enter the US culture than to enter the Argentine lifestyle. More stress, more hustle, more pressure to go go go, do do do. Not a moment to take a break for a Mate. I found myself wishing I could just relax on the couch and take things in for a moment, but there was no time. We had to make the most of our time with my Brother. We had to leave Seattle by 3 pm. Go go go.

Meanwhile, Ben is relaxing with his family in Seattle. He’s having an easier time adjusting, in fact, he hasn’t really thought twice about the adjustment.

So, I’ve learned my lesson. Next time I travel (and yes, there will be a next time), I will allow myself two weeks to re enter my life in the US. Even if that means cutting into time abroad, my sanity will be worth the sacrafice.

Home

And here! here runs the Lochsa river, winding and tumbling and crashing down between the tree thickened ridges. In this place it’s the clear green waters, cool and crisp, that make the river of my past, present and future. These mountains, this river, they are unsurpassed by anything in Patagonia. The Bitterroots, oh the Idaho Bitterroots; my home.