Another was the Death March, a one-mile, 1,500-vertical-foot run from Paradise up to Panorama Point.
They said, “It’s important to finish near the front of the pack.” They had one of their stronger guys lead us out of the parking lot and up the hill through the snow.
But when you’ve been guiding for a long time, you start praying for privacy and time off. I don’t really care if I go to New Zealand or Vietnam, because I’ve been there.On the last day of a Rogue River trip, in Oregon, we always stayed at Decision Rock, and we always had bear trouble.Wearing all that with the costume over it, I was huge.I ambled down to the river on all fours, and I put my hands on the table and knocked stuff around. ” Hayden got up, pretty groggy, and tried to focus on what he was seeing.But the bears would never mess with us more than once, because of the rocks. Before we put in on my last trip, I went to a costume shop in Grants Pass and asked for a bear suit. As we got ready for bed, I told the other guides, including my brother, Hayden, and his future wife, Margie, “Hey, the last time I was here there was a bear cub, and I don’t want to hurt the cub, so I think we should bang pots and pans tonight instead of throwing rocks.” So I got all these pots and pans and put them next to everyone’s heads. It doesn’t work.” So he stacked up a bunch of baseball-size rocks beside him.
We went to bed, and I set my alarm for two o’clock in the morning. I took several life jackets, and I strapped them on all over—around my shoulders, like a diaper, everywhere.So for years we would stack rocks nearby to throw at them.You’d hear other camps banging pots and pans, and you knew they were hosed. When we got down to Decision Rock, the clients all left to camp above the river.We got back in the boat after lunch and pulled away from the bank, and I said, “OK, cast to this left bank near the grass.” And the woman said, “Where’s my rod? ” And she said, “Well, I just leaned it against the boat at lunch.” I started booking it upstream to see if the rod was still there, but of course it was gone, swept away in the river. But when our driver showed up, she had a van that was too small for our group and all our gear.When I got back to the fly shop, I complained to my boss. Behind her were two Jeep Cherokees driven by a couple of Germans.So I waited about an hour, to give the tentmate some plausible deniability, and then went to talk to her. When I’m on a trip, I don’t talk to my family, I don’t pay bills, I don’t deal with anything that’s not right in front of me. It’s like The Real World: everybody has a shared living space.