“We have been on our
own personal path in life, and we found paradise
here on the trails with
you. There is no other
place in the world where you can get as close to nature than on a hike
with Rob or Troy. And thanks to Sequoyah for teaching us that you can never leave a place,
even if you travel.”

-JULIA & HANS; Germany

 Day Hiking
 Whitewater Rafting

 Voyageur Canoeing
 Mountain Biking
 Lodge-Based Multi-Sport


Our Personal Approach to Guiding

Lost really has two disparate meanings. Losing things is about the familiar falling away—everything is familiar except that there is one item less, one missing element. Getting lost is about the unfamiliar appearing, in which case the world has become larger than your knowledge of it. Looking forward you constantly acquire moments of arrival, moments of realization, moments of discovery. The wind blows your hair back and you are greeted by what you have never seen before.”

                                                                                       —REBECCA SOLNIT, A Field Guide to Getting Lost, 2005

A good friend of mine, a real brother, once expressed to me his feeling that being a guide was not an occupation, but a calling. I liked this way of describing it because I always felt so much more than just myself was involved in leading a wilderness trip. I mean this in more than just the superficial sense of other people helping to pack the food, wash dishes, shuttle to trailheads, or plan out possible routes—of course, this is all true as well—but I also consider it in the deeper sense that takes into account my life’s experiences, passions, mysteries, challenges, and uncertainties. It is really because these things all seemed to guide me to a point in my life where I could eventually say, “okay, now I want to be a guide,” that I am who I am now. It was only then that I was able to get the occupational details handled—the advanced wilderness first aid certificate, the ACMG hiking guide certificate, the insurance and permits, and the upgraded gear. In my own life, it was the moments of arrival, realization, and discovery that taught me how to be in the world. These are the kinds of guides that I think really make for exciting, unforgettable, and even transformational life experiences.

All the guides I work with here at CrossRiver are just these kinds of guides. It is perhaps unconventional, but we try to be guides that, as in the above quotation, gently help people to get “lost” in the wilderness. To put it another way, we feel called to helping others embrace their own spirits of creativity, exploration, wonder, and potential. It is because we are so good at being lost and finding ourselves again, so used to being in that place of discovery ourselves, and so accustomed to engaging with the incredible wilderness in this way that we are so good at being wilderness guides. We take occupational details—such as wilderness first aid, group safety, route and trip planning, hazard recognition, and group management—very seriously, and we also acknowledge, respect, and wildly embrace the fact that there is a lot more going on here beyond ourselves, and beyond our control.

When guests join us on our trips, whether a professional day hike, backpacking trip, whitewater rafting, voyageur canoeing, mountain biking, or heli-hiking adventure, they join us in the unfolding of life. We have safely led others and ourselves to countless moments of realization within unfamiliar experiences where the world has become much larger than our knowledge of it: the wind blowing our hair back 1,000s of meters up on a mountain shoulder; the laughter of a playful waterfall amidst the damp mosses of the forest; the adventure of a new subalpine meadow; and the greeting of a wildflower you have never seen before. It can be riotous amounts of fun, incredibly relaxing and rejuvenating, as well as challenging, inspirational, and empowering—a true calling.

Troy Patenaude, September 2007 



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