Chris & Lauren
Owners Chris and Lauren have made the Salmon River their home. It is our honor to share the beauty of this incredible place with people from around the globe. We love being based in a little piece of paradise called McCall, Idaho. Chris has a degree in Outdoor Adventure Leadership and has guided river trips in Idaho, Washington, Montana, and Oregon and has nearly ten thousand river miles under his belt. He is a certified EMT and spends his winters as a professional ski patroller. Chris orchestrates training, packing, planning, and guiding all of Salmon Raft’s river trips. Lauren has degrees in Marketing and Spanish. She decided after a river trip in Idaho in college to make the river her life. Like Chris, she works in the ski industry in the winter time as a Sales Manager. She runs the back office show for Salmon Raft; booking the trips, keeping the books, and managing the staff’s needs (in addition to baking cookies for every single trip!). When we’re not living and breathing rafting, we love to hike, kayak, and travel. We are lucky to have turned our passion into our livelihood. Come share our love for the Salmon River on a Salmon Raft trip!
Many who know Drew prefer to call him the “Deer Whisperer” after a hilarious circumstance that happened on one of Salmon Raft’s three-day trips in 2014. Drew is a guest favorite, and for good reason. Dashing good looks, hilarious sense of humor, and he can cook a mean steak (riverside, of course). He attends the University of Idaho as a business student, and studied abroad in Spain this past fall. Ask him to make you a kalimotxo. Yummm.
Erin is a multi-talented guide who dabbles in so many sports and activities that we feel lucky to have nailed her down as a river guide. Her repertoire of hobbies includes yoga instructing, stand up paddleboarding, backcountry skiing, and cooking. She is a certified EMT and uses her medical skills on the river and in the winters as a professional ski patroller. Her pup, Willow, is her trusty sidekick.
Of Irish descent, Cian (pronounced See-Uhn) has worked on the Salmon River for much of his adult life. He has worked for a variety of Salmon River outfits, but settled in with Salmon Raft as part of our river family. In the winter, Cian runs the kitchen show at the Little Ski Hill, McCall’s iconic and timelessly local ski hill. He’s an avid rock climber and fly fisherman, and loves to work on his photography skills in his free time.
Caitlin is a part-time guide for Salmon Raft but we are so lucky to have her when we can! She is a registered Nurse at St. Luke’s Hospital in McCall, and one of our closest friends in town. Caitlin grew up in Joseph, Oregon with a family of die-hard river rats. As soon as Caitlin could grip a set of oars, her dad told her she was ready to start guiding! Well, almost. When she’s not nursing or guiding with us, Caitlin loves to kayak the vast network of rivers around town and hang with her pug, Carlos.
Derek has been professionally guiding since 1992. You’d never know it though just by looking at him! He has a Master’s degree in Fine Arts. Derek thrives on the ever changing nature of the Salmon River, as its flows are completely uncontrolled by dams. Derek is an expert river chef, and is always coming up with new and delicious variations to recipes for the Dutch ovens or on the grill. You will find that Derek is a family man and his friends often quickly become his family. Even though he has guided for so long, he is always finding new things to learn and love about the rivers in the northwest. He has seemingly endless knowledge about them, so you will love to pick his brain.
Growing up in Council, Idaho, Dillon was raised with a passion for rivers. He has worked as a professional in the rafting industry since his teenage years, and has more river stories than he may care to admit. Dillon knows the Salmon River like the back of his hand, and is still in awe at its beauty and ability to change over the course of the year. He is a wildlife spotting expert and loves teaching his guests about the different species that live in the region. Dillon has guided on many rivers in the northwest, but always comes back to the Salmon for its crystal clear waters and prime fishing.
Gerald, or more formally known as Thomas G. Hutchinson, is a Massachusetts native. He has always been drawn to the outdoors and has been a professional ski patrol at several different mountain resorts around the country. Gerald always strives for continual education and is eager to refresh his medical and rescue skills for both water and snow whenever possible. Besides his own charisma, guests are always drawn to Gerald because he is the owner of a certified avalanche rescue dog named Bell. In his down time, you can find Gerald riding his mountain bike or taking advantage of hiking trails at his fingertips here in McCall.
"John-Oh!" hails from back East in Vermont. Although he loves going to back to visit, he was sold on the West after an epic Grand Canyon trip and then living in Big Sky, Montana. One of Jono’s most notable accomplishments is his studies in culinary school in New Hampshire. You read that right… Jono is professionally trained in the kitchen, which means he can whip up some amazing riverside cuisine. He also works at McCall’s award-winning restaurant, Rupert’s, is a ski racing coach with the McCall Winter Sports Club, and rock climbs in his free time. There you have it: Chef-river guide-ski racer-rock climber. Jono is a jack of all trades.
All but one of these is true: 1) Carly is a South Carolina native, y’all, 2) She has a Bachelor of Science in Conservation Biology, 3) She lives in a treehouse. Just kidding – they are all true! Even the treehouse part. Carly is most at home on the river or working the land. She can school any of us in a botany lesson… And she is Salmon Raft’s token musician. Girl’s got pipes and skills with the strings. She prefers to be barefoot, rock a feather in her river hat, and paint the Salmon River landscape with her watercolors. Anyone who meets Carly will be instantly drawn to her genuine charm and charisma.
Corey is a Salmon Raft guest favorite (we seem to have a lot of these…). Having lived in Idaho for more than 10 years, he is more than familiar with the state’s awesome network of rivers and the ecosystems that make them special. The Salmon River has always held a special place in Corey’s heart, which is why he has been rafting and kayaking here for more than a decade! He is an artist, too, practicing unique methods of glass blowing. His work includes intricate tableware and wall pieces – we just wish that glass was more conducive to bring aboard inflatable rafts!
Nick was a new addition to our team in 2015, and what a find! It’s so important to have a diverse team, and Nick’s background as a software engineer makes him the only member of our crew with this crazy knowledge! In addition to being our constant source of tech support, Nick brings a positive energy to the crew and his river guests. He’s a certified yoga instructor, and connoisseur of fine wines and tasty beers. As with all of our guides, Nick is someone that will become your friend by the end of any river trip, and your kids will look up to him as an awesome role model. Namaste!
Ben Child (don’t worry, that’s just his last name, he’s not actually a child) grew up in Rexburg, Idaho, which is pretty close to Yellowstone National Park. After guiding in Utah for a few years, Ben settled in on the Salmon River, where the water is clear and free-flowing. Ben is a bit of a jack of all trades – he can weld (always a useful skill to have at our shop), was a fisherman in Alaska (making him an expert at filleting), and his favorite things include learning (he is known to read 400+ page books in a matter of a couple days), travelling (ask him about Argentina), good stories, and whitewater.
We love having lady river guides! Brooke pays special attention to all of the little details while on the river. She’s awesome with kids and is known to show them the ropes of guiding (basically, she created the Salmon Raft Guide Recruitment Program). Brooke also grew up in Rexburg, Idaho, and has been close friends with Ben since childhood – the funny thing is that neither one knew that the other was going to be working with Salmon Raft until our guide orientation! Small world here in Idaho. She’s an avid backpacker, awesome skier, and great friend.
Luke graduated from the University of Idaho with a degree in Cultural Anthropology. He has guided on the Snake and Salmon Rivers for the last several years, but has made himself at home in McCall with the Salmon Raft crew. Luke is drawn to the mountains in the winter, backcountry skiing in his free time, and making a wintertime career out of teaching others about the sport. Luke’s skills as a boatman make him a valuable part of our crew, but the intangibles are what set him apart: a witty sense of humor and free-spirited charisma.
It’s always a small world in McCall, Idaho. Sean and Chris knew each other from working in the mountains in Utah, and what a small world to find Sean in McCall a few years later! Sean’s main gig is teaching the art of Pilates, a relatively new form of exercise to our town, which focuses on strength, flexibility, posture, and enhancing mental awareness. He’s been a boatman on rivers throughout the United States, having grown up in Maine and then moving out west. He is a foodie, and you can always expect him to bring a unique and healthy (usually quinoa-something or fancy homemade sauce) to our barbecues.
Salmon Raft owners Chris and Lauren adopted Mac Dog from McPaws in the summer of 2013. We think that he’s about three years old and probably a mix of Australian Shepherd, Golden Retriever, and a bunch of other stuff, making him 100% mutt. His best friends are Carlos (Caitlin’s pug), and Willow (Erin’s black lab). He loves to swim, play fetch, raft, and shed enough to warrant sweeping the house almost daily. He is in training to be an avalanche rescue dog. We are lucky to have this goofy pup as part of our family!