Living the Hypalon life often includes long hours, low pay, cracking skin and the ability to withstand the stench of unwashed, waterlogged Polypro for days on end. Durango’s local river guiding community is no different, but prizes river miles over Ben Franklins. The early mornings and the late nights are filled with chores including inflating and stacking rafts, rigging boats, endless shuttle rides and the never-ending safety talks. But when the Animas peaks four different times in the same season, the canyon winds always seem to blow downstream and your clients always paddle through the meat, there’s nothing better than being on the river.

Charlotte Klein, front right, takes in a precautionary deep breath before getting a
tasty sample of Smelter Rapid during a high-water ride with Mountain Waters.


The thrill of whitewater and the call of the river bring in clients
from across the country, who are the life-blood of the river

Karen Carver, of Flexible Flyers, navigates the birthday party crew underneath the railroad bridge near Rotary Park on Sunday morning.

Kjirsten Flanders, 11, buckles up for a birthday party raft trip with Flexible Flyers at the 32nd St. put-in.


Mike Loughran, lower left, from Milwaukee applies a thick layer of sunscreen for his second consecutive day on the river as he take the Outlaw Tours bus to the put-in.

Karen Carver gets her knees into it as she tops off the
boats in the morning sun at the 32nd Street put-in.

From left, Mike MacFarlane, Meghan Scully, Mark Tucker, and Matt Saffer, all of Outlaw Tours, prepare to unload boats for a full trip Monday afternoon.










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