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Canyons guide Hattie Tehan Salmon River

Offbeat Interview Series with Hattie

Hattie Tehan


Hattie likes to consider herself an Oregonian through and through. Born and raised in the small town of Sisters, Oregon she grew up among mountains, wildflowers, animals, and a loving community. The Central Oregon community is still home and it is where you can find Hattie, her partner Syver (also a Canyons guide!) and their cat Mo in the offseason. When she’s not meandering down rivers with Canyons she is a teacher and an outdoor educator. Throughout the past 10 years, she has taught everything from basic backcountry living to advanced Spanish grammar. She has lived and worked throughout the West Coast, Southwest, as well as South America. Teaching has been an incredible journey for Hattie thus far and she hopes to continue working in educational settings for most of her days.

When she’s not working with students or on the water with Canyons, Hattie fills her days with the things that make her happy. Not surprisingly, much of her free time is spent on rivers. Whether kayaking the neighboring Payette drainage, doing a multi-day paddleboard trip with her mom or joining her friends’ on their biannual “Soggy Bottom Babes” all women’s raft trip, Hattie loves the perspective that the river brings her. When she’s not on the water, she loves exploring new areas, playing hard outside, making art, and spending time with the people that she loves. Hattie figures that if teaching doesn’t work out for her in the long run, that a career sewing fanny packs and bell bottoms will be next on her list!

The Interview

If you could be a river superhero, what would you be?   A river superhero?! I would love the power to make any water hot. We get so spoiled on the Middle Fork and Main with the hot springs, I’d love to be able to take hot springs with me on all of my river adventures. 

What is your favorite dress up theme?   The best costume party I have ever been to was when everyone had to dress (and act) as their adolescent self. It made for some big surprises and a lot of laughs at people’s teenage selves came out. 

What is your ‘go-to’ crazy hat night creation?   I love making as big of a flower crown as possible! 

What brought you to Canyons?   I’ve spent the past 10 years working in Outdoor Education and I was excited to explore the professional river scene in a new way. As a teacher during the year, teaching in the summer was a no-go and Canyons offers me the perfect break. Yes, the Canyons team works extremely hard, but most of the time it doesn’t feel like work and I go back to the school year feeling rejuvenated, strong, and inspired. 

How many years have you worked here?   I’m a newbie! 2020 will be year two for me. 

What is your favorite thing about Canyons?   I’m sure this isn’t a new one – the people. As I’ve worked for more and more companies and schools I have become fascinated with how we build community. Canyon’s does an amazing job of making you feel valued from the first email you receive in your inbox. I love working with such inspirational people who span eras and experiences but all have a common love for experiencing the river and doing it with our Canyons family. 

If you could describe Canyons in 3 words?   Emojis, love, and really-big-boats. 

When you hear the word Idaho, what comes to mind?   Currently, I think of home. I live right down the road from the Canyons warehouse in Cascade, Idaho!

What are your top three favorite camps?   Gosh, I’m just starting to get to know all of the camps but my favorites thus far are Little Pine (MF), Cradle (MF), and of course Sunflower (MF). 

Your favorite hike?   As of right now, I love the hike from Little Pine up to Johnson Point. 

Top three favorite rapids?   Pistol (MF), Tapan Falls (MF), and Jack Creek (MF)

Currently, what is your nemesis rapid?   Man, Arta Rock (this one has many names) kicked my butt last time!

What river do you want to run that you haven’t yet?   A Jarbrdge Bruneau multi-day kayak trip is on my list for this spring! 

What do you consider a ‘real’ job?   I’ve made money lots of ways throughout my life but right now my ‘real’ job is teaching high school leadership and Spanish and then splish-splashing around with Canyons in the summer! Not too bad of a combo! 

If you could only have one kayak in your quiver, what would it be and why?   Some people will think I’m crazy but I have a soft spot for my pink Jackson 2Fun. 

What is your favorite thing to cook on the river?   I love a good dutch oven lasagna. 

If you could take a musician or band down the river today, who would it be?   Lake Street Dive, no questions asked. 

What is your most memorable swim in a river?   My last one, on the canyon section of the River Paloma in Chile. My buddy and I were pretty surprised by some high water! 

What is one of your river rituals or superstitions?   When I’m scared or nervous I sing a pump-up-self-worth chant to myself that a good friend of mine taught me. Ask me and I’ll teach it to you some time!

What is your most valued non-river-related item that you bring with you on every trip?   I always bring my kindle with a few different books to read at night. 

What is your favorite groover spot?   I don’t think I’ve found it yet, but in general, any spot where you get a mix of the river and trees and you feel like you’re hiding!

About Greg McFadden

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