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Interview with Greg McFadden

Offbeat Interview Series with Greg

Greg ‘Greggales’ McFadden

Raised in Southern Maryland, Greg grew up sailing the Chesapeake Bay and horseback riding on English Fox Hunts. Choosing to attend college at the University of Colorado in Boulder, brought him west. In 1991, his ‘bestie’ Angela invited him to come on a commercial ‘wine tasting’ rafting trip on the Main Salmon, with Canyons. Greg was hooked instantly. In order to work for Canyons, he had to gain some river experience. So, he began paddling and rowing trips on the Upper Colorado River, Clear Creek and the Arkansas River in Brown’s Canyon and the Royal Gorge in Colorado. After a few seasons honing his skills, Greg was hired by Canyons in 1994 and continued to work as a guide, until he bought the company in 2010. Since then he’s been stepping up his game as owner/outfitter/guide. He also makes time to row at least one Grand Canyon trip a year with AzRA.

Greg is an avid watercolor artist and quite renowned in many circles. Throughout a trip, you will typically find him painting at least once or twice. Check out his colorful creations at RiverPainter.

In the winter time, Greg resides in Aspen, Colorado and is a snow safety manager and a cat ski guide for the Aspen Ski Company. To please his creative spirit, Greg likes to perform in plays and fashion shows. If you are lucky, you might just catch him in the act sometime.

The Interview

If you could be a river superhero, what would you be?   Aqua man…I would be able to hold my breath forever and be able to predict the Spring run off with precision. 

What is your favorite dress up theme?  Dress up?… any costumes bump it up. I do love a parade and rainbows, of course. 

What is your ‘go to’ crazy hat night creation?   My throw bag turban. It’s always a hit. 

What brought you to Canyons?   My dear friend Angela who I went to college with. Her dad originally owned the Middle Fork permit that Canyons bought.       

How many years have you worked here?   I became licensed in Idaho with Canyons in 1994. 

What is your favorite thing about Canyons?  My favorite thing about Canyons is the sense of family we have. It’s like coming home.

If you could describe Canyons in 3 words?   FEEL THE LOVE!

When you hear the word Idaho, what comes to mind?   Free flowing rivers, vast wilderness, awesome stories…and Home Sweet Home.

What are your top three favorite camps?   Marble (MF), Cradle (MF), Rabbit (MN)  

Your favorite hike?   The Castles above Trail Camp. Love an echo.

Top three favorite rapids?   Velvet (MF), Black Creek (MN), Chittam (MN).    

Currently, what is your nemesis rapid?  Pistol (MF)

What river do you want to run that you haven’t yet?   The Tatshenshini River in Alaska.  

What do you consider a ‘real’ job?   Any job that you love passionately, keeps it real for you.

If you could only have one kayak in your quiver, what would it be and why?   Remix 79… so cozy.  

What is your favorite thing to cook on the river?   Tiramisu.

If you could take a musician or band down the river today, who would it be?   Sir Elton John and hubby…  

What is your most memorable swim in a river?   Moondaca swim on the Futaleufu. It blew my skirt and helmet off.   

What is one of your river rituals or superstitions?   I tap my ring on my paddle before a big rapid. And glitter is always in my PFD.  

What is the most valued non-river-related item that you bring with you on every trip?  My watercolor painting supplies. 

What is your favorite groover spot?   Love the old groover spot at Magpie (MN). Dreamy…. 


About Greg McFadden

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