Offbeat Interview Series with Neal
Neal ‘Peaches’ McAdam
Born in San Jose California and raised in Yucaipa California, Neal grew up swimming and surfing. He ultimately became a competitive swimmer in high school. Neal attended college at the University of the Pacific, graduating with a degree in Sports Medicine.
He got into boating by taking commercial river trips with his family on the Rogue and Green (Desolation & Grey) rivers. After college (1996), Neal was looking for a summer job and attended a guide school with ARTA, in Oregon. After a few trips on the Rogue, Neal was given a baggage boat spot on the Main Salmon. Thus was his introduction to Idaho. He ended up doing 4 baggage boat trips that summer, and got licensed on the Middle Fork & Main Salmon. Neal continued to work for ARTA for 10 more years. He started guiding in the Grand Canyon the last couple of seasons with ARTA and didn’t make it back to Idaho from 2007-2009. After meeting his (to-be )wife Laura, Neal migrated to Team Canyons in 2010. He continued to work in the Grand Canyon, during the shoulder seasons with AzRA (2005-2015), until his son Lucas was born. He completed over 60 rowing trips through Grand Canyon. For 15 winter seasons, Neal worked on the Ski Patrol at the Canyons Ski Resort in Park City, Utah. For the last 7 years there, he worked doing snow safety work.
Neal and his family moved to Idaho full-time last June. This winter he was a full time, stay at home dad and a part-time cat ski guide at Brundage Mountain, in McCall, ID.
If you could be a river superhero, what would you be? Anemoi, the Greek god of wind, I’d always blow downstream.
What is your favorite dress up theme? Anything that goes with my gold medallion.
What is your ‘go to’ crazy hat night creation? Equisetum wreath.
What brought you to Canyons? Being able to run the Salmon with my now wife Laura.
How many years have you worked here? Coming up on my 8th season.
What is your favorite thing about Canyons? All of the great guides and great guests we get to boat with.
If you could describe Canyons in 3 words? Eat, sleep, boat.
When you hear the word Idaho, what comes to mind? Whitewater.
What are your top three favorite camps? Cliffside (MF), Groundhog (MN), Solitude (MF) I’ve never stayed there, looks great.
Your favorite hike? Warren Creek (MN)
Top three favorite rapids? Hell’s half mile (MF), Pistol Creek (MF), Big Mallard (MN).
Currently, what is your nemesis rapid? Boneyard (lower lower chutes) (MF)
What river do you want to run that you haven’t yet? Tatshenshini.
What do you consider a ‘real’ job? They’re all real.
If you could only have one kayak in your quiver, what would it be and why? Remix 79 for overnighters.
What is your favorite thing to cook on the river? Coffee because it’s early and there’s no line for the groover.
If you could take a musician or band down the river today, who would it be? Josh Strain
What is your most memorable swim in a river? Both flips in Lava.
What is one of your river rituals or superstitions? Full submersion at Lava scout (doesn’t always work).
What is your most valued non-river-related item that you bring with you on every trip? Pillow
What is your favorite groover spot? Cliffside