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What’s in an Idahome? Introducing Canyons Guide and Writer Maddie Friend


What’s in an IdaHome?

For the past decade, a sense of place  — whether rooted already or yet searching for — was the locus of much environmental thought. 2020, with its grief, burdens, and quarantines, made me connect to a sense of place differently: inside.


For the past twelve years, I have been proud to be a guide across the Western US. In 2016, I followed the waters upstream from Arizona to my first dream of an Idaho season. Complete with big water classics, snowy Julys, and the magic of the Middle Fork in fall, my world was rocked. The guides, the people, the community, the place – they kept me here. They made me fall in love, dig deeper to know more, more about this wild place deep in the Frank. 


Under the tutelage of esteemed guides before me, I came up rowing wooden boats, paddle rafts, and gear rigs on the Middle/Main/Lower Salmon, Snake River in Hells Canyon, and even the Middle/Lower Owyhee. The incredible crews I have worked with built me into the guide and person I am today. These places made me an even better guide on desert rivers: in Idaho waters, you have to adapt even faster at the speed of rocks.


COVID, as it did for so many people, wrecked me. I took the season off from boating. Not a day goes by that I do not think about those free-flowing streams and those that should be. I took the year as a river metaphor itself, an upset boat in turbulent waters, clinging to tubes and floating my head above water. I trusted my PFD, but I was not yet to shore.


Now cautiously on the bank, I look out to the 2022 season. While inside, I built a

careful confidence in myself, learning the rhythms of breath and movement in a new environment. Still, I cannot wait to once again live in the spectral joy of  intentional river community.


Look for the big wide grin and the dimples – I will be out there.

About Katie Proctor

Katie's favorite thing is being out in the wild running rivers, climbing mountains and sleeping under the stars with her son, pup and partner Colin. She is a Mama, boatwoman, yoga instructor, massage therapist, writer, mountain biker and up-for-anything adventurer!

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