Between Two Chollas- Interview with Jake Walker, River Guide
JM: Today I have the pleasure of interviewing Mr. Jake Walker, NMRA’s head boatman and SUP Extaordinaire. Jake, what was it that brought you into rafting?
JW: Well, I guess it was always just meant to be… I’ve always been on the water. I took two weeks, and went up to Arizona with a buddy. We stayed at a rafting company out there, and all of a sudden, I was getting paychecks! It started as a visit, and turned into a job. I didn’t want to make rafting a job, or make anything on the river a job, because I didn’t want to take the fun out of it. But, it’s still fun, 25 years later.
JM: That was my next question. Is that how long you’ve been guiding? 25 years?
JW: Yeah… since ’92, however long it’s been since then!
JM: Tell me, what’s the best part about being a guide?
JW: The best part about being a guide is the freedom. To pull up [stakes], and go to the next place, no questions asked- without it being weird like it would be for other people. Also, the interaction with the people, with the guests.
JM: So then, what’s the hardest part about being a guide?
JW: The hardest part is probably relationships. What it has done to relationships; it makes [relationships] a little tougher when you’re not present.
JM: Personal relationships?
JW: ROMANTIC relationships! I think it’s really good for personal relationships, tenfold. But as far as romantic interests are concerned, it (guiding) seems to have always taken a toll on them.
JM: What is a trip or river that’s on your “bucket list”?
JW: Well, of course I want to paddleboard the Grand Canyon, and the Selway River. Definitely on my list.
JM: What’s your favorite kind of boat or vessel, and why?
JW: Of course, a paddleboard! Just because of the freedom, and the ability to push the limits with a very low threshold of fear.
JM: OK! Last but not least, what’s your favorite band?
JW: My favorite band -this week- is…. oh man, I don’t ever have a favorite band, I love them all! But I’m gonna throw Shiny Roots out there this week, because they cancelled their show in Santa Fe, and they didn’t get support there.