The Guiding Life

Wherein I return to a former profession, and invite you to join the fun.

Heading out the door? Read this article on the new Outside+ app available now on iOS devices for members! Download the app.

I know you’re all tired of hearing how manic my life can get, but GAAAAH!

I’ve just finished a preliminary draft of Alaska and honed the track logs. I’ve begun editing the photos. I’m getting ready to do re-writes on three separate features. I’m talking with the eds about another one. I’ve just unpacked all my stinky AK gear, washed it, and thrown it right back in the same duffle. Now, in moments I’m hopping into my ancient truck (“Yota”) and taking off for two weeks of guiding in Zion and Bryce.

The half-dozen of you out there who actually read this blog might recall that I was a mountaineering guide in the late 1970’s and early 80’s. And I liked it a lot…most of the time…unless I had a demanding Type A client or someone who was just a natural born hazard. But that stuff comes with the territory, so I quit after a near-death experience involving guest-propelled rockfall.

Still, over the years I’ve occasionally enjoyed leading more pedestrian trips. I’ve taught whitewater kayaking, avalanche safety, backcountry photography, and led remote XC backpacks. I always find it rewarding to pass on skills, tales, and natural history to those who are sincerely interested, and motivated enough to value the experience.

So I’m diving back into seasonal guiding in my Southern Utah backyard, leading trips through Zion, Bryce, Escalante and Capitol Reef with experienced outfitter Steve Kasper and REI Adventures. (Noooo, this does NOT mean I’m endorsing or hawking their gear.) I am, however, looking forward to the challenges, the biggest of which involves cooking for a dozen guests.

Yes, I was a cook too, in a galaxy long ago and far away, until hepatitis cut my career short. That’s a whole other soap opera for a whole other blog post, but I feel obliged to mention that it involved water at a Peruvian basecamp, not my cooking.

So, I’m outta here until September 29th. But these are day hikes, and I’ll supposedly have internet from our plushy yet isolated accomodations. And of course I’ll carry my camera because I’m a pixel junkie. So I’ll try to post in those brief time spans when I’m not full-on, curtains up.

If any of you want to join me on some of these adventures, there are still openings for Capitol Reef/Escalante trips October 7th-13th, and October 17th-23rd.

As an epilogue; two days after that second trip, I’ll be heading to an undisclosed location in Europe for our 2010 Editor’s Choice testing. Then I’ll be photographing and videoing a navigation feature. And shortly after that I’m scheduling hip replacement surgery (for real!), so I can get my carcass up and running again before spring. Guess I’ll spend the winter writing, pounding painkillers and liquor, and generally feeling sorry for myself. But in the meantime there’s a lot to GAAAH about. So weep for me campers.

And stay tuned for some cool pics and short posts. Maybe I’ll see you in the sticks. Till then, happy trails. — Steve Howe

Trending on Backpacker