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Offbeat Interview Series with Mike

Mike ‘Hicksy’ Hicks

In his early years, Mike spent a fair amount of time in and on the water, whether it was fishing the saltwater jetties along the shore or running through the bayous of the gulf. Visiting family in Alabama early on in his life often led to trips to the creeks or lake fishing with grandpa.
After moving to Idaho at 16, Mike eventually started exploring the Snake River. But then once he found the free-flowing  Salmon River, he knew it was definitely the place he wanted to be. Since the mid-90s, Mike has lived in Riggins, Idaho on the banks of the Salmon River. He has made a career out of guiding people on multiple rivers in various states, fishing, rafting, and recreating.
Being a part of the Canyons family for the last six years has been special. Its the perfect mix of a supportive environment with a high standard of river ethics.

The Interview

If you could be a river superhero, what would you be?   I would be a salmon smolt.

What is your favorite dress up theme?   Island tropics.

What is your ‘go-to’ crazy hat night creation?   Cowboy hat, not too creative.

What brought you to Canyons?   Fate….After surfing with my wife, Devon, and Greg, Canyons owner, at Mill Wave, late one summer, Greg contacted me several months later to see if I would work a Team River Runners trip on the Main Salmon. Of course, I said, YES. Then that turned into 2 more trips that season.

How many years have you worked here?   6 years, so far.

What is your favorite thing about Canyons?   Diversity in everything.

If you could describe Canyons in 3 words?   Oh, My, Gosh!

When you hear the word Idaho, what comes to mind?   Wilderness and free-flowing rivers come to mind.

What are your top three favorite camps?   Tappen Island (MF), Sunflower (MF), Camas Creek (MF).

Your favorite hike?   Aparejo Point. (Cathedrals?)

Top three favorite rapids?   Velvet Falls (MF), Tappen Canyon (MF), Redside (MF)

Currently, what is your nemesis rapid?   Hells Half-Mile on the sweep boat

What river do you want to run that you haven’t yet?   Imnaha River

What do you consider a ‘real’ job?   A real job to me is any job that you love and that you work hard at doing and get a sense of satisfaction from doing it.

If you could only have one kayak in your quiver, what would it be and why?   Single man Inflatable kayak, that way I can pack just enough gear and still be maneuverable.

What is your favorite thing to cook on the river?   Sockeye salmon and the New York strip

If you could take a musician or band down the river today, who would it be?   Jerry Garcia

What is your most memorable swim in a river?   Hippo-ing (floating around in an eddy with PFD on and beverage in hand), with my wife on a hot day on the Lower Salmon River.

What is one of your river rituals or superstitions?   No answer.

What is your most valued non-river-related item that you bring with you on every trip?   My pillow

What is your favorite groover spot?   Any groover spot would be a favorite.

About Greg McFadden

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