GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado - In May, the Post Independent hosted its annual Locals' Choice contest. More than 750 people used an online survey to vote for their favorites in any of 65 categories, including Best Rafting Guide.
After the votes were in, we checked in with finalist Katie Mycoskie, 33, who works as a river guide for Glenwood Canyon Rafting, which is located at 2610 Gilstrap Court in Glenwood Springs. Here are her thoughts on working as a river guide.
Q. How long have you worked at Glenwood Canyon Rafting?
A. Five years as head boatman.
Q. Where else have you worked?
A. River guide for Blue Sky Adventures, starting in 1999. Manager of horse operations for Lazy J Ranch, fly fishing guide, hunting guide.
Q. What's your background?
A. I was born and raised in Arlington, Texas, and grew up coming to Colorado in the summers with my family. I fell in love with Colorado. While I attended CMC and then the University of Colorado, studying business management, I spent the summers guiding in Glenwood Springs. After school, I moved here with my three horses, my mule and Gracy, my dog.
Q. What are the most important elements of being a good river guide?
A. Always respect the river and teach others to do the same. Work on your skills of knowing how to run the river under all conditions. Take pride in being a professional river guide.
Your No. 1 priority is taking care of the guests. Treat them like family and like no one is more important to you than whoever is on your boat.
Entertain with a great ride, lots of laughs, and be a history buff of the area and the canyon. Every day, come to work and give it all you've got!
Q. What do you like most about your job?
A. I have a smile on my face every morning as I drive through the Glenwood Canyon to work. Living the outdoor life is my passion.
The Colorado River is an awesome river. Having the opportunity to meet people from all over the world and introducing them to the river on an incredible rafting adventure is my daily goal. It is a thrill to expose people to a whitewater experience, no matter how many times I do it. I am addicted to whitewater.
Q. Ever had anyone famous on your boat?
A. A few times, but I never really focused on that aspect. I have met so many people. They have all been special to me.
Q. What was your most hair-raising guiding experience?
A. The high water levels in 2011. I have never rowed the Colorado River when it changed so drastically every day. There were rapids and waves that appeared spontaneously, things we had never seen before. Every day was a challenge, reading the water and picking the best lines. Our guests loved it. I have been waiting my entire life to have a year like 2011.
Q. What makes you a Locals' Choice favorite?
A. I love what I do. I take pride in knowing how to run the river.
Q. What do you do for fun?
A. Raft, kayak, fly fish, ride my horses with my dog, scout and hunt in the fall. I'm an avid shed hunter and sell the antlers for profit. I come to work and raft for fun.
Q. Any tips for a great rafting experience?
A. Raft with people who know what they are doing. A commercial rafting company is the way to go, especially if you have never rafted before. Be safe out there; the river demands your respect.
Choose trips that are appropriate for you or your family and you'll be back for more!