Meet the Crew

Libby Tobey
Missoula, MT

Libby’s passion for kayaking, adventures, and researcher has led her to explore and work in interesting places all over the world. After her undergraduate degree, she continued her studies by pursuing a master’s degree in resource conservation at the University of Montana, with a focus on international conservation and development. Libby is planning her thesis on salmon migration, culminating with an epic adventure, kayaking the headwaters of all the salmon river drainages to the ocean.

Patrick O’Connell
Bozeman, MT

A crew and guest favorite, Patrick brings an infectious joy on every Middle Fork trip. Originally from Dubuque, Iowa, Patrick studied environmental science at the University of Iowa. His passion for the outdoors led him to Bozeman, Montana. During the winter he works a variety of skilled labor jobs, and trys to ski as much as possible. Chances are you can find him at Bridger Bowl Ski Area, exploring the ridge. He’s probably the best Iowa skier in Montana.

Idaho River Journeys Guide
Galen May
Sandpoint, ID

Galen has carved out a life in the outdoors, river guiding on the Middle Fork and ski patrolling at Schweitzer Mountain. With an outgoing spirit and infectious positive attitude, Galen ensures that friends, co-workers, and guests can’t help but have a good time. Her eagerness to share the fun, the beauty, and the natural history of the river makes for great memories that last a lifetime. With an eye toward the future, Galen intends to continue guiding, patrolling, and pursuing a degree in business, which will allow her to continue on her adventure.

Ry Grivetti
Terlingua, Texas

Ry got his first job as a guide at 15 years old, he worked out on the Channel Islands exploring seas caves and leading multi-day kayaking trips. As his passion for guiding grew, Ry ventured beyond the ocean and started working on rivers. Guests will find that Ry is a gifted naturalist, interpreter, and birder who never tires of sharing his love of the natural and cultural history of the Middle Fork Salmon. He spends the winter months in Big Bend national park running canoe trips. His home is a 100-year-old mining cabin with no electricity or running water and the closest cell service being 80 miles away, exactly how he likes it.

Idaho River Journeys guide
Drew Harrison
Sisters, OR

Drew’s calm personality and demeanor, paired with years of guiding experience, makes every day on the Middle Fork with him enjoyable and memorable. Drew is from Sisters, Oregon. Where he developed his fishing skills early, exploring the bountiful rivers and mountains that central Oregon has to offer. Drew is currently applying to med schools, and plans to start in 2023. In his free time, he’s recording new music, backcountry skiing, and challenging his brother (Eli) to feats of strength.

Sunny Wyatt
Pocatello, ID

Sunny grew up exploring the mountains and rivers around Pocatello, Idaho. She earned her undergraduate degree at the University of Puget Sound in Spanish and molecular biology. After several years working as a ski patroller in Bozeman, Montana, she returned to school and finished a degree as a Physicians Assitant. She made the transition from guiding full-time to a career as a PA at the Pocatello hospital. Regardless of her crazy schedule at the hospital, Sunny is still able to pursue her passion for outdoor activities, and work a number of trips each season.

Skip Volpert
Salmon, ID

Skip has more than 150 Middle Fork trips and hopes to do another 150. He knows of many amazing side hikes and looks forward to taking guests on morning sunrise treks. He is a wonderful fly-fisherman and loves sharing his fishing knowledge. Skip is an avid photographer and often sets up his camera at night to take long-exposures of stars and capture the Middle Fork landscape. If you have a DSLR camera make sure to bring it, and Skip will show you how to shoot the incredible Idaho stars.

Julia Hatch
Salmon, ID

After making the move out west from upstate New York, Julia fell in love with the Middle Fork. Looking to make the move permanent, Julia worked as a ski patroller for the Yellowstone Club out in Big Sky, Montana. Her passion for wilderness medicine led her into a nursing career, and she currently works at the Bozeman hospital. Beyond her medical knowledge, Julia has a warm, easy-going personality. Guests thoroughly enjoy connecting with and talking to Julia. Above all, she’s an amazing mentor and role model for young women in the outdoors. 

Middle Fork Guide
Pat Gaydos
Salt Lake, UT

Pat combines his love for fly fishing and skiing in a career that spans both passions. In the winter, he’s a ski patroller at Alta Ski Resort in Salt Lake, Utah, and also guides heli-skiing in Nevada’s Ruby Mountains. When the snow melts, Pat’s focus shifts to fishing, his other great passion. He has guided fishing expeditions across the United States. Known for his patience and eagerness to teach, Pat is always happy to help guests get a line in the water.

Middle Fork Guides
Keri Knudsen
Pocatello, ID

Originally from Minnesota, Keri moved out west to attend nursing school in Colorado. She now lives in Pocatello, Idaho, working in the cardiology department at the Pocatello hospital. Keri is an expert botanist and avid birder, often pointing out wildlife and plants from the raft. Guests find her vibrant spirit and supportive personality very approachable and comforting. When not guiding, Keri does community work with her medical expertise, often volunteering with Doctors Without Borders.

Idaho River Journeys Guide
Jo Schroeder
Salmon, ID

Jo is a true representation of the best qualities in guiding. Her local knowledge, positive attitude, and hard work make every trip with Jo a delight. She has been guiding on the Middle Fork since 2004. Growing up in Salmon, Idaho, the Frank Church Wilderness was her backyard playground. Jo now owns and manages a commuter airline based in Salmon called Gem Air. Aside from work, she is an integral part of the community. She volunteers on many local boards and holds down the defense for the women’s Salmon hockey team. With her experience guiding on the Middle Fork, Jo exemplifies being a veteran guide.

Dave Walter
Missoula, MT

Dave is a multifaceted guide, working year-round river seasons. He spends his spring on the Kern River, summer and fall in Idaho, then summers again in New Zealand. On a trip, you can find Dave leading hikes, sharing Middle Fork history, teaching guests how to fly fish, or simply playing a fun campfire game. His vast experience, welcoming personality, and knowledge make Dave a much sought-after guide. He is a friend to all, and by the end of the trip, we guarantee you will be calling him “Montana Dave.”

Middle Fork Guide
Hannah Fast
North Fork, ID

Hannah is an avid fly fishing guide. She mostly works September fly fishing trips on the Middle Fork. Hannah loves all aspects of fly fishing and is passionate about helping people learn and advance as anglers. Her wealth of knowledge, patient personality, and constant encouragement make fishing in Hannah’s boat an experience unlike any other. When not casting a fly line, Hannah enjoys birding, ultra long-distance running, woodblock painting, and raising twins with her husband, Geoff, in their strawbale house.

Brian Chaffin
Missoula, MT

Brian started working for IRJ in 2001 while studying at the University of Idaho. His insatiable passion for rivers fueled his research to a doctorate degree in geography. He now teaches at the University of Montana, as an Assistant Professor of Water Policy. Although his research takes him all around the world, Brian manages to work a few trips each season. Brian considers guiding to be as much about teaching as it is anything else, and he loves to introduce guests to new ideas and experiences while on the river.

Esa Morrison
Quincy, CA

Esa lives along the Feather River in Quincy, California. After graduating from college, she worked as a stream surveyor researching salmon habitat and river watersheds, school teacher, ski instructor, and EMT. Even with the busy schedule, she has managed to spend the last five summers guiding on the Middle Fork. Guests are drawn to Esa’s knowledge of the diverse ecosystem of the Middle Fork, her upbeat attitude, and her positive interaction with kids.

Joe Lellek
Hamilton, MT

Joe is one of the most relaxed and approachable guides on our crew. With over 100 Middle Fork trips under his belt, Joe brings a wealth of guiding experience to every adventure. A resident of Hamilton, Montana, he spends his off-season building custom homes and doing remodels. Joe’s passion for the outdoors extends beyond rivers, he’s an avid elk hunter and enjoys exploring the Bitterroot Valley. A familiar face on early-season trips, Joe’s favorite trip is June 3rd, where his expertise and easygoing nature shine.

Idaho River Journeys Guide
Dre Golden
Dalles, OR

It is hard to find a more genuine or pleasant guide than Dre. He was raised in The Dalles, Oregon, near the Columbia Gorge, where he was first introduced to rivers and the outdoors. Dre earned a degree in education while playing rugby at the University of Oregon. His educational background and previous teaching experience make him a superb communicator and someone who is eager to show you the natural surroundings. He has discovered innovative methods to explore his passions for the outdoors and helping people through his work as a teacher, river guide, and retreat planner.

Middle Fork Guide
Maddie Tomlinson
Salt Lake, UT

Maddie is always optimistic, quick with a laugh, and one of the most supportive guides. Chances are she’ll be in your paddle boat, with an upbeat and gregarious attitude. After graduating with a degree in Applied Economics and French, Maddie moved to Salt Lake with her husband working as Operations Manager for a Swiss Consultancy firm. Even with a full-time job, she balances life as a raft guide, improv troupe member, enthusiastic angler, an avid excel spreadsheet creator..

Middle Fork Guide
Wilson Kroll
Sandpoint, ID

Wilson is from Boise, Idaho, and developed an early interest in the state’s wilderness areas. He has extensive experience guiding on several rivers in the area, including the Main Salmon, Lower Salmon, and Hells Canyon, and has now found his way to the Middle Fork. Guests will enjoy his passion for geography and the history of the river along with his relaxed and easy going nature. During the offseason, Wilson ski patrols at Schweitzer Mountain, and his other interests include skiing, bicycling, and (of course) running rivers.

Idaho River Journeys Guide
Corby Fuhriman
Whitefish, MT

Corby has a passion for adventure and sharing that joy with others on river trips. He has a diverse guiding background, running rivers all around the world, including the White Nile in Uganda, Alaska, Oregon, and South America. Whether you’re in Corby’s boat or talking with him at camp, you’ll be immediately drawn to his positive energy and knowledge of the Middle Fork corridor. When not guiding, he splits his time living in Whitefish, Montana, and traveling as much as possible.

Middle Fork Salmon Guides
Shannon Orr
Bellevue, Idaho

Shannon has been living in the Wood River Valley for over 30 years and has been a Middle Fork guide for 20 of those. She works as an intuitive therapeutic massage therapist and volunteers at the Swiftsure Therapeutic Equestrian Ranch. While her work keeps her busy, she carves out time for one or two trips a summer on the Middle Fork.

Nate Moody
Moscow, ID

When you first meet Nate, you will immediately be engaged in a conversation about the history of the Frank Church Wilderness, geology, or a Cormac McCarthy book. His passion for outdoor leadership and education lead him into a career as the Outdoor Program manager at the University of Idaho. While he no longer works a full season, guests always treasure having him on trips for his entertaining storytelling and vast knowledge of the Middle Fork.

Mary Papale
Point Reyes, CA

Mary is the glue that holds our operation together. She handles reservations and plans our menus. She is Will, Matt, and Skip’s mom. She enjoys connecting with our guests by phone and email and getting to know them over the years. Mary’s specialty is planning our trip menu and developing new recipes for our guests to enjoy.

Bob Volpert
Point Reyes, CA

The founder of IRJ, Bob got his start in the rafting business in 1971. After rafting the Middle Fork in 1977, Bob purchased River Adventures West from outfitter John Dorr in 1978. That company had operations on the Middle Fork and Main Salmon. Today, Bob advocates for the protection of wilderness areas and has co-authored two entertaining collections of river stories under the title Halfway to Halfway. He is no longer actively outfitting, but his passion and contributions to Idaho River Journeys are seen on every trip.