About the Authors


Dick Linford grew up in Wyoming and New Mexico but went to California for college. He began guiding in 1970 and started ECHO River Trips with fellow teacher Joe Daly in 1972. He is semi-retired but still guides occasionally. He and his wife Suzie live in Bend, Oregon. Telephone 1-541-848-7242

Bob Volpert became an outfitter when his prospects for earning a living on Wall Street faded with the mid-70's bear market. Bob and his wife Mary Papale run Idaho River Journeys and divide their time between Point Reyes Station, California and Salmon, Idaho. Telephone 1-208-756-8116


Halfway Publishing
1328 NW Constellation Drive
Bend, OR 97701


Mike Burke began guiding in 1973 while an undergraduate at U.C. Berkeley, and guided for over 35 years. He is the author of The Same River Twice, a memoir of his guiding life, and teaches English at Colby College in Maine. He also claims credit for the line "Let your guide be your conscience".

John Cassidy misspent his youth guiding river trips in Idaho and California throughout the 1970's. In the forty years since he married, raised two boys, buried one dog, and paid off a mortgage. In 1977 he founded Klutz Press, a publisher of how-to and children's books.He is now retired and divides his time between Palo Alto, California and Stanley, Idaho.

Brian Chaffin began guiding in 2001 and gets in a few trips a year with Idaho River Journeys. He served one year as a US Forest Service River Ranger on the Salmon, and is pursuing a doctorate in geography at Oregon State University. His specialty is water use in American water basins. He and his wife Jenni have a home in Moscow, Idaho.

Rick Claussen became hooked on politics after working on the Central Idaho Wilderness bill. He is a founding partner of Goddard Claussen West, a public affairs firm specializing in campaign management, and serves on the Board of Directors of the Frank Church Chair of Public Affairs at Boise State University. He lives in Sacramento, California with his wife Amie.

Steve Cutright began guiding in 1970 while an undergraduate at U.C. Berkeley. He worked in California, Oregon, Utah and Idaho. In 1978 he started managing rafting companies, and in 1986 he became a fireman. He retired as Fire Chief of Emeryville, California in 2010. He still guides a trip or two a year for Idaho River Journeys.

Joe Daly was raised on the Susquehanna River in rural New York and moved to California to teach high school. He started guiding in 1971 and in 1972 he and fellow teacher Dick Linford started ECHO River Trips. He is semi-retired but still gets on the river. He lives in Berkeley, California with his wife Sue.

Stephanie Bernt Ellis grew up in Salmon, Idaho and is the daughter of outfitter Bill "Muskrat" Bernt. She has been floating Idaho rivers since she was five. Her heart lies on the river, and she hopes to take over her father's company, Aggipah, when Bill retires.

Jerry Hughes took his first trip down the Middle Fork as a boy scout in 1963. He became a professional river guide in 1967. Jerry attended the University of Idaho, played football, and after graduating with a law degree, decided to just keep rowing folks down rivers. Along with his wife Carole Finley, they established Hughes River Expeditions in 1976. They live in Cambridge, Idaho.

John Hunt guided for ECHO in the 1970's and 1980's. His love of water led him to a doctorate in marine biology and a career of monitoring pollutants in California's coastal waters. He lives in Half Moon Bay, California with his wife and fellow ex-guide Teresa Clayton. He surfs, runs rivers, and plays bass guitar in his spare time.

Mark Palmer started guiding river trips while he was an undergraduate at UC Berkeley. He managed ECHO's Idaho operation in 1984 and 1985, where he maintained high guide morale with an unending supply of gin and tonic. He writes for children's television and lives in Los Angeles, California with his wife Bettie and their dogs.

Mary Papale moved to San Francisco in 1975 from New Jersey. While attending S.F. State University she saw two postings on a summer job board: counting fish for the US Forest Service or becoming a whitewater rafting guide. Ask Mary what she most likes about outfitting today and she will likely tell you that it's crowding around a dinner table sharing stories, laughs, and life's ups and downs with the IRJ crew, her three river-guide sons, and husband, Bob.

Erin Ridle grew up on the Middle Fork. Her parents Pat and Jean owned Middle Fork River Expeditions. She considers the river to be her real home, but lives in Portland, Oregon, where she runs her own online costume and crafts store, lil e creations.

Dan Steiner came west for adventure after graduating from Yale. He guided for Bob Volpert in the 1970's and 1980's, mainly on California rivers. He spent one summer trying to develop river trips in New Mexico, a state notorious for its lack of rivers. He is now an attorney in Washington, DC but harbors dreams of becoming a river outfitter.

Will Volpert's first river trip was on the Rogue River in 1986 when he was six months old. He is most at home on the water. His company, Indigo Creek Outfitters, operates day trips on the Rogue near Ashland, Oregon. He periodically gets away to guide for his Dad's outfit, Idaho River Journeys, on the Middle Fork and Main Salmon in Idaho.

Dick Linford

Bob Volpert

"This book goes the whole way. Written by season guides, these rollicking, poignant, humorous, tender stories give us a glimpse into a unique American subculture. Put on your like jackets. You are headed for a wonderful ride."

-Ellen Waterston, award-winning essayist and poet, author of Where The Crooked River Rises, founder of The Nature of Words and president of The Writing Ranch

Download a chapter from the book.