Owners Chris and Lauren have made McCall their home, as a beautiful springboard to the places we love — the Salmon River and Snake River through Hells Canyon. It is our honor to share the beauty of these incredible places with people from around the globe. Chris has a degree in Outdoor Adventure Leadership and has guided river trips in Idaho, Washington, Montana, and Oregon and has thousands of river miles under his belt. He is an EMT and spends his winters as a professional ski patroller. Chris orchestrates training, packing, planning, and — when he can step away from the “behind the scenes work” — guiding 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, and stays on top of off-season rafting projects. She runs the back office show for Salmon Raft; booking the trips, keeping the books, and managing the staff’s needs. When you call Salmon Raft, Lauren is on the other end! Our professional life is balanced with being parents to our two young children, Weston and Hayes. They are the youngest guides on our roster and both keep us on our toes!
Zinnia was born and raised in Montana, but has spent much of her young adult life exploring the mountains and rivers of Utah, Wyoming, and Idaho. She is currently enrolled at Westminster College in Salt Lake City, where she is studying environmental studies, outdoor education, and leadership. Zinnia’s passions of environmental stewardship and ecologically conscious behaviors are great additions to Salmon Raft’s goals on the river. She also has a background in adventure therapy, which works seamlessly into the “bliss” we all experience when floating on the river!
Growing up just south of McCall, McKenzie has rowed the Lower Salmon dozens of times and knows the Salmon like the back of her hand. Her favorite rapid is Sluice Box (for good reason!) and her favorite part of the river is the confluence, at the moment the Salmon and Snake rivers join. Warm and outgoing, it’s no surprise that McKenzie is passionate about helping others: she’s going to school for nursing at the University of Montana.
A McCall local, Kert joined our team after several seasons studying Chinook and Steelhead fisheries of nearby rivers. He possesses a keen and vast knowledge of the Salmon River’s intricate and amazing ecology–if you’re lucky enough to be on a boat with him, be sure to ask him about it! If he’s not on the river, Kert is probably off discovering secret hot springs in the Salmon River Mountains. Originally from the midwest, Kert grew up wrangling and galloping horses and interestingly enough, these skills seem to transfer right to the river because he reads water like an open book.
Hadley is an Idaho native and recently won Salmon Raft’s guide award of “Rookie of the Year!” While Hadley enjoyed her first year guiding with Salmon Raft in 2022, she has a deep background in whitewater, having grown up around rivers her whole life. She’s a whitewater kayaker, skier, and overall outdoor enthusiast. Hadley is also a talented artist and has her own business called High Desert Hats, where she hand stitches and designs one-of-a-kind hats and other apparel.
We affectionately call Josh “Beavs” (last name Beavers). Don’t be fooled by his wild mane and goofy persona, Beavs is a super skilled oarsman hailing all the way from Virginia. He took a leap of faith and moved out west to seek bigger mountains and whitewater. We’re so glad he decided to stay put and gain some big water experience in Montana before joining our outfit. Beavs is certified both as a swiftwater rescue technician and in wilderness first aid. He’s easy to laugh and his easy going and fun-loving attitude are a welcome addition to our company and any trip he guides.
Metta is a recent graduate from Montana State University with a degree in Community Health. Metta’s infectious positive attitude and endless energy make her a guest favorite and a pleasure to work with. She grew up in Cascade, Idaho and spent her childhood rafting Idaho’s rivers. So it’s no wonder she ended up as a commercial river guide. Metta has a passion for health and wellness and hopes to someday work in women’s health and public outreach.
Originally from Alaska, Esme is one of the hardest working gals you’ll ever meet. She graduated from the University of Montana with a unique degree – Russian! She’s actually needed to use these skills on some river trips, as we have enjoyed the company of guests from across the globe. Esme has a background in environmental education, is a whiz in the kitchen, and tends to prefer any activity as long as it’s in the outdoors – biking, skiing, hiking… she does it all.
Stephen (or “Scuba” as we all know him) is a dual citizen, and brings a healthy dose of good humor and Canadian energy to our crew. Having spent time guiding single-day river trips, he was looking to expand into multi-day guiding — along with Beavs, he joined our crew in 2022 and has settled into the groove of running excellent river experiences in Hells Canyon and the Salmon. As his nickname suggests, Scuba is certified as an open water dive instructor. He’s also an avid skier and outdoor adventure educator. His knowledge and skill on the river is a wonderful addition to our crew!
We were thrilled to add Rachel to our roster in 2021. She graduated with a degree in Journalism and Outdoor Adventure Leadership from Sierra Nevada College, and has used her degrees as a community advisor for high schoolers, as a teen mentor, and outdoor program instructor. Rachel has a lively personality, and has a knack for facilitating awesome river experiences, especially with kids. She takes the extra time to make sure all her guests are comfortable and safe, as her main goal is always to empower others through outdoor experiences and self-discovery.
Claire joined us after being recruited by her brother, Jack! She is currently enrolled at the University of Utah, but finds herself looking forward to the summers so she can return to the river. Like many of our other guides, she works during the school year at her school’s outdoor program, facilitating adventures for fellow students. She is a smart and natural leader with a passion for the outdoors, and has a unique ability to see the bigger picture with respect to running a safe and fun river trip. Claire is always down for a costume night on the river and she is a true joy to spend time with.
Olivia has a background in teaching, and is currently going to school for social work. She’s one of the funniest people you’ll meet, with an easy-going personality and a healthy appreciation for having fun. She prefers dance parties over almost anything else! Olivia has worked as an early childhood educator at McCall’s Outdoor Science School among other locations, and works at Salmon Raft in many capacities – river guide, shop help, and nanny for Weston.
Jonah is a McCall local and has worked for Salmon Raft for many years in different capacities. Jonah has been running rivers – both in a raft and his whitewater kayak – since he was elementary age. He’s incredibly knowledgeable and skilled in whitewater and knows Hells Canyon and the Lower Salmon like the back of his hand. Jonah is also a talented and brave mountain biker and skier.
Wes & Hayes
These boys have big dreams to row the gear boat as soon as they are old enough. Weston’s favorite activities include “helping” at the shop, finding all the snacks, playing with cars and trucks, and riding his bike. And Hayes enjoys watching the hustle and bustle of shop life from the sidelines for now.
Salmon Raft owners Chris and Lauren adopted Mac Dog from McPaws (McCall’s local animal shelter) in the summer of 2013. He was about a year and a half old when he joined our family. We believe that he’s probably a mix of Australian Shepherd, Golden Retriever, and a bunch of other stuff, making him 100% mutt. He loves to swim, play fetch, raft, nap, and shed enough to warrant sweeping the house almost daily. He trains as an avalanche rescue dog, and can find buried people in the snow within minutes. We are lucky to have this goofy pup as part of our family!