Guide Q&A - Drew Madden


Years guiding for Idaho River Adventures

5 years

Why do you guide?

I started guiding because my parents were river guides in the 80s. Being on the middle Fork has been a family experience for me, my girlfriend, parents and brother and sister in law. We all love the Middle Fork. I come back because of the lifestyle river guiding allows me to have. Working three months a year and then part time the rest of the year allows me to feel time rich and pursue my other passions. I get to spend three months away from cell phones and modern day life. The simple life on the river gives me time to think and spend a lot of my twenties outdoors.

When was your last unintentional whitewater swim?

Last summer sometime before 6 am in the morning getting coffee from the boats. I guess that’s not “whitewater” so before that may have been Trouble Maker on the South Fork. Fortunately I got myself back in the boat before the second drop but my girlfriends mom and brother swam the whole thing. So much for good first river impressions.

Favorite dish to cook on the river?

I like cooking vegetables on the river... broccoli, brussels sprouts and green beans. My real passion lies in whipping cream. It’s really meditative and soothing after a long day in the sun.

Favorite river activity?

Seeing wildlife especially animals like bears, salmon and river otters is my favorite. It’s really cool to think that we share the same home for the summer.

What’s your life like off the river?

I move constantly and have plans to buy a van and live out of it part time. I love surfing and illustration so I spend a lot of my offseason trying to improve my art and hopefullly make a career out of it. While I have mixed feelings about the overdevelopment of Southern California, I love San Diego and the surf it provides. I usually will live somewhere on the coast and be on the lookout for waves.

Why do you guide for Dustin?

I guide for Dustin because he is the man. He is relaxed and very personable, always happy to listen. He is also extremely smart and on top of river activism. That is something I truly aspire to be like. I feel extremely comfortable talking to him as a friend and boss.

Guides Making Dinner on the Middle Fork of the Salmon River Trip

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