November 11th, 2016

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Hatch river guides have to be vigilant at all times during a Colorado River rafting trip. Guests are more likely to hurt themselves on land than on the boats, and those running the trip must be prepared to help them. In this Flashback Friday, Ted Hatch and Elizabeth Sowards discuss the guides on her 1984 river trip and the care they took to protect everyone on the river with them.

Hatch River Expeditions Grand Canyon

Photo Credit: Roy Webb

E. Sowards: They were really good, and you know, though boys… there were two times I particularly noticed… One time when one of the boys, he was 15 years old… he was giving his dad a bad time sort of… he wanted to be home with his friends and his girlfriend… but he climbed up on a wall at the place where the fall was coming down with great force. He got "walled up" there. Ace crawled up there with those thongs, I don’t see how he did it, but he got up there and got him down.

I noticed when Glade and I were going up the canyon, they were very attentive to be sure that Glade, being heavier, you know, there were a few places that they were very watchful of him. Then, one day the kids were playing "Frisbee" on the beach. The Frisbee went in the river. The boy piled off in there to get it, and I saw Butch… he took out running as fast as he could to jump in and save him. But the boy was a good swimmer, and it was in a little cove-like spot, so he got it and he swam back out of the river. The dad told Butch not to go in for him, he said, "He’s all right. Don’t worry." But Butch was right there ready to go in for him.

Ted: Yes, they have to watch close.

E. Sowards: I could tell by the expression on their faces that they were really concerned about the group in all ways… their safety and everything.

Ted: They need to be… because when they are out like that… anything can happen. More people get hurt walking on the bank… around the ledges and the rocks. More people get hurt there than in the boats, but it is still an injury and you have got to take care of it. No one wants to ruin a trip by having to copter a person out. But the guys are trained and trained and "then we hit them on the head," see. (Laughs) You know, we want them to take care of people.

E. Sowards: Well that’s excellent. We really appreciated them.

Next week, learn what flights out of the canyon were like in Ted Hatch’s day.

Flashback Friday: Guides and Guest Safety on Colorado River Rafting Trips was last modified: August 18th, 2015 by Jessica Clark

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