Wilderness Voyageurs’ Guide Staff Winter Update!
Wilderness Voyageurs’ Guide Staff Winter Update!
If you’ve been on a guided whitewater rafting trip on the Youghiogheny River in Ohiopyle, PA, you may have looked at the tanned and toned person in the back of your boat and thought-I want that awesome Ohiopyle summer job!
Wilderness Voyageurs always rallies an adventurous annual roster but, you can bet, they’re striving to maintain an active and exciting lifestyle throughout the cold months, just like you! Here’s a quick update on what some of our guide staff is up to on the other side of the year.
…or as his high school biology students call him, Mr. Sipe!
Remember when you were a kid, and you saw your teacher at the grocery store and thought, “Mr. Greene buys groceries?!?” Of course Mr. Greene buys groceries! Mr. Greene not only buys groceries, he hiked the Appalachian Trail last year and is a pretty gnarly opponent in the mixed martial arts ring. “Whaat?!?” #Mindblown
Zach’s students would be wowed to learn that it was his experiences working as a canoe guide in the Canadian wilderness that inspired him to pursue a bigger role in the outdoor industry. He became a kayak instructor and trained to be a whitewater raft guide soon thereafter.
When Zach’s not walking his students through a frog disection, he is spending time with his wife and 16-month daughter at their home, only about 20 minutes from the Lower Yough put-in, in Ohiopyle, or directing local soccer programs in nearby townships!
In these chillier months, Zach enjoys downhill and cross-country skiing in Ohiopyle and remains active on his mountain bike throughout the year.
When asked what made him come to Ohiopyle and stay close to the Youghiogheny River, Zach said, though considerably smaller than Canada, Ohiopyle State Park is home to such a variety of activities.
“Ohiopyle is an oasis; it’s one of the most beautiful places in the country. The diversity of a weekend vacation in Ohiopyle is tough to beat- whitewater, climbing, hiking, skiing in the winter and mountain biking year round. The mountain biking in Ohiopyle is the best kept secret in the area.”
Ohiopyle State Park, only an hour from Pittsburgh, and three hours from DC, has long been the getaway for many metropolitan and suburban dwellers. There’s just something about the place that unwinds even the most high-strung soul.
Besides the many hobbies Zach does in Ohiopyle State Park, he said his work as a guide has added valuable professional skills to his repertoire.
“In the classroom, you have to motivate students to take risks in the learning process, that because of peer pressure, they may not be comfortable with. Guiding and kayak instruction has given me the ability to work with people that aren’t in that comfort zone and allow them to excel.”
Kim, also known as Kimmy, Kimbo Slice and au naturel, started working at Wilderness Voyageurs six years ago. She is a full-time nursing student for the rest of the year at the University of Utah, in Salt Lake City. When people talk about living the dream, they are probably talking about Kim!
Though she devotes much of her time to schoolwork, Kim is a member of her school’s ultimate Frisbee team and is an avid snowboarder on the renown terrain surrounding Salt Lake.
“Backcountry touring is my favorite! It’s a great to get away from the resort scene and find some serenity in the mountains.” Kim said her most recent purchase, a split board, which is a snowboard that breaks apart into a pair of skis, has made more of her favorite backcountry runs more accessible because she can cross-country ski to them, rather than hike with her board on her back.
But Kim has always had a pioneer’s attitude, trying new and different things to satisfy her curious spirit. Growing up only five miles from beautiful Ohiopyle Falls, Kim said she used to walk her dogs on the Great Allegheny Passage, when she became inspired to get more involved in the whitewater scene.
“I’d always see all these crazy people going downstream in kayaks and I wanted to do that so bad! So, I started working at Wilderness Voyageurs when I was 15 and I cleaned toilets until I was old enough to guide.”
Besides becoming plumbing saavy, Kim said the skills she’s gained from guiding in Ohiopyle have made her a stronger woman. “Guiding, as a woman, has given me the confidence to lead and exceed in every aspect of my life. It’s taught me how to take charge and have fun at the same time!”
In hopes of sharing these Ohiopyle experiences with her west coast gals, Kim brought friends Nyssa and Sophie home with her this past summer to live and work at Wilderness Voyageurs.
Kim said she had some difficulties in her early guiding days because she lacked the assertive and confidence-enstilling body language that her male counterparts seemed to communicate more naturally. So, of course, Kim found a solution.
“Body language is 90% of how we communicate. So, every morning, I do this Superwoman pose in my mirror,” she said, giggling. “It empowers me and allows me to bring that presence to my day!”
If you’d like Superwoman Kim or Zach the biology teacher to be your raft guide this season, call and request them! Either way, Wilderness Voyageurs would love to pair you and your friends or family with one of our eclectic guide staff members. We promise, we’re ALL a hoot!
For more Ohiopyle State Park photos, check out our Pinterest board!
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Blog content was written by Tara Nathan.
If in Ohiopyle, stop in and see us at Wilderness Voyageurs, 103 Garrett Street, Ohiopyle, PA 15470
Or give us a call at 1-800-272-4141
#visitPA #OhiopyleStatePark #getoutside #allworkallplay