My path to the river has been round about, but I love it here! I grew up in northern New Mexico, and have been in love with the great New Mexican outdoors my entire life.
It all started with Jeep trips, skiing, hiking, and loading up the horses for many a rodeo when I was a kid. I discovered skiing early, and have been a ski patroller for more than 20 years. After spending many years crying as the snow melted off the mountain in the spring, I finally realized that I could re-cycle my snow! And off to the rivers I went! I soon discovered that I also love sharing the out-of –doors with others, so guiding felt very comfortable. Fast forward, and I now work as a raft guide for Kokopelli, and kayak instructor for our sister company, New Mexico Kayak Instruction, Inc.
I have also dabbled in desks with drawing boards, and fancy microscopes looking at brains. I picked up Bachelor’s degrees in Engineering and Biology along the way, as well as Minors in Chemistry and Manufacturing. For a while, I designed highly efficient ground source heat pump systems as an engineer. I also spent time in Neuroscience, where I was able to help publish in the field of Adult Neurogenisis. Nowadays, if I am not on the river, you might find me doing research to improve care in the ER! Come play outside with me!
Kokopelli Guide: since 2017
Favorite Color: Snow white
Favorite Charity: Atalaya Search and Rescue
Favorite river and why: The Rio Grande is by far my favorite river. It is New Mexican as all get out! It is very friendly and welcoming, but also strong and worthy of respect. It is also very brave, in that it traverses an amazing amount of dessert on its way to the Gulf of Mexico. All and all, the Rio Grande is a good metaphor for the people of my home state!
What I like most about rafting is: … the opportunity to share something that I love with like-minded outdoor enthusiasts. Let’s face it, blasting big rapids is fun, but a shared pleasure is twice the pleasure!
My favorite river-related story is: During a guide-only high water rescue skills practice this year, I watched another boatload of guides deliberately flip a boat in the biggest single rapid on the Racecourse. Old man river threw that raft straight up, clean out of the water, before it tumbled back into the rapid upside down. I literally saw the entire bottom of the raft in the air from downstream! We recovered the crew and put them back in the boat in less than 5 minutes. Mission accomplished!
Certifications: Emergency Medical Technician – Basic (EMT-B), Outdoor Emergency Care Technician, CPR for the Professional Rescuer
Hobbies: Skiing, Backpacking, Jeeping, horseback riding, camping, climbing, kayaking, rafting, playing drums, guitar, euphonium, and honky-tonk music!
Eric in Action