We are Gary and Barb Lane, company owners of what we like to refer to as the “Wapiti Clan.”
Our home is on the Salmon River in Riggins. It is Idaho’s whitewater mecca and deep canyon gateway to adventure filled getaways. Since 1981 we have been offering daily summer whitewater trips, spring salmon and steelhead fishing, and fall steelhead and Chukar hunts.
Multi-day adventures are also offered and our five and six day trips are our favorites. More time in nature, the better. It normally takes people about three days just to decompress, relax, and then get acclimated to the river routine. So, all amount of time beyond that magical number of three is magnified exponentially in terms of how much more pleasure is surprisingly gained.
Shared appreciation for nature and respect for indigenous cultures drew us together originally. Barb grew up in Louisiana, where she gained her southern accent and down to earth hospitality. She moved to Boise, Idaho in 1970 and worked for HP about 19 years before meeting Gary and becoming a guide. Back problems ended her on the water career, so now she helps keep me on the river. She is the person you will talk to when you call to book a trip.
I grew up in Oregon, where I eventually began living in a tipi while doing wildlife work and danced to the beat of a different drum. Did I mention how hard it is to find a woman who is willing to sleep in a tipi? Perseverance finally paid off for me in finding Barb.
New age wanna be indian guide? That may be what a lot of folks think, since my normal loincloth river motif might give that first impression. But in reality, far from the truth. To help alleviate potential fears some may have about climbing into a boat with some weirdo-space-cadet in lala land, please hear my side of the story.
Most people dress in fancy clothes when they do to town, while I prefer a more native style regalia when going to the river. But it goes much deeper than that. While several people tell me I am a local legend of sorts, I would call it more of a mythical misnomer by those who don’t really know me. Sure, I may live an unconventional lifestyle, so must endure a lot of misconceptions and stereotyping along the way.
Ok, granted not many folks dress in a loincloth these days. So first off, let me clarify this for those whom may be seeing red flags here. A breech cloth is much less revealing than a speedo swim suit or woman’s bikini, and rest assured, I am definitely not an exhibitionist. Nor am I a devout attention seeker, despite the portrayed image that dressing differently might conjure up. Early in youth, I was not flock oriented, worried about impressing others, or feel the need to fit into the status quo. To behave by the standards of what other people might think was not my idea of living in true compass to my own ideology. Those who want to label others might tag me as a non-conformist, and I will fess up to that. But, I’m not really a radical rebel-rouser.
Today, I’m in the “Elder Guidesman” age wise, but back in my early twenties (before my dory was older than the younger guides now in town) I had some transformative experiences that changed my worldview. It was an accumulation of many things, but mostly happened after my college days where I studied science, became a wildlife biologist, and also during my time working for Martin Litton’s Grand Canyon Dories.
Convinced I could help save the natural world by the naiveté of youth, resulted in a collision with the real world and a reawakening to other thinking. My work within the halls of bureaucracy and bio-politics frustrated me enough to lead to a different path. I ended up smack in the middle of the river world, and is where I discovered a keen interest in native history.
This opened my eyes to the indigenous perspective that over time made far more sense to me than the one I had been conditioned to blindly follow, without questioning. The more I learned, the deeper I went, and now I feel more like a person with feet placed in two different world views. One in the control-bent dominionist worldview of man as separate from nature, and one in the democracy-bent community worldview, of man as an interconnected part of nature.
How we view nature matters, because it determines the fate of how our natural resources are either exploited too much or sustainably perpetuated. Education is important because a more informed public can make better decisions for the future. So, along with my ecology background and appreciation for primal wisdom truths, my goal is to be genuine and share what I have learned over the years while having a ton of fun in so doing. The river is a great metaphor in many ways for living life and is a perfect place to go for experiencing nature at the core.