Glacier Guides and Montana Raft

A River Guide on Their Day Off - Montana Raft

Good morning! My name is Chelsea Tuttle and I’m stepping in to write a guest blog for Glacier Guides and Montana Raft today while Dre (our multi-talented marketing and social media guru) is out on a 6-day backpacking trip. I am here to tell you about what a river guide at Montana Raft does on their day off.

First, a quick snippet about myself:

I began my whitewater career as a photographer for a rafting company in Colorado, but when my husband and I decided to relocate to Montana (he’s been a raft guide for 5 years) I decided to make the leap from shore to boat and become a guide as well. This is my first year guiding for Montana Raft and I’m absolutely loving it so far.

Sunny day putting on a wetsuit to go rafting

Knowing I’d be swimming at some point during the day, I chose to wear a wetsuit despite the warm weather! (Photo by Christian Tuttle)

Since I’m married to a fellow raft guide, my answer is often, “I go rafting!” One doesn’t usually become a raft guide if they don’t love being on the river, so it’s usually a no brainer on a nice day off to head back out without customers in your boat.

Rafting on the Middle Fork of the Flathead River

Christian Tuttle sits admiring the view as we float down Moccasin Creek, which joins into the Middle Fork of the Flathead. (Photo by Chelsea Tuttle)

My husband and I are lucky enough to own our own raft that is a smaller and more sporty version of the rafts we guide commercially. Because of its size, we can run narrow lines through rocks and down side channels we usually wouldn’t be able to in the larger rafts.

Rafting on the Middle Fork of the Flathead River

Christian immediately took a dip to cool off and swam most of Moccasin Creek before we entered the main river. (Photo by Chelsea Tuttle)

Rafting on the Middle Fork of the Flathead River

While Christian swims, I sit on the front of the boat to steer and guide it by myself. (Photo by Christian Tuttle)

We usually take our time and float down the river at our own leisurely pace, stopping to snorkel by some exceptionally beautiful limestone or catching side eddies to try and surf a small wave coming off of a rock ledge (yes, you can SURF in a boat!). A river guide doesn’t get many days off, so we have to take advantage of it all.

Rafting on the Middle Fork of the Flathead River

Christian snorkeled around some shallow parts of the river, checking out the fish and beautiful limestone rocks beneath the surface. (Photo by Chelsea Tuttle)

Rafting and snorkeling on the Middle Fork of the Flathead River.

Since snorkeling can be a little scary in moving water, Christian sticks close by the boat as I keep an eye on down-river obstacles and hazards. (Photo by Chelsea Tuttle)

If we’ve thought far enough ahead to pack snacks or lunch we’ll stop in a picturesque spot to enjoy it while we watch other paddlers come down the river. Sometimes, if we’re feeling really brave or want to re-run a rapid, we’ll pull our boat on shore and hike it up to the beginning again. (Warning, would not attempt this without good footwear and lots of caution.)

Rafting on the Middle Fork of the Flathead River

Finding a good spot to tow the boat up river to re-run a wave or rapid can be tricky. (Photo by Chelsea Tuttle)

Rafting on the Middle Fork of the Flathead River

My husband Christian and I, not at all regretting spending our precious day off on the same stretch of river we work on daily. (Photo by Chelsea Tuttle)

Living and working in the greater Glacier National Park region has graced us with one of the most beautiful stretches of river we’ve ever been on (and we’ve been on quite a few). Every day that we get to spend on the river provides us with a better understanding and appreciation of it. We hope you can come rafting with us soon and see why we love being on the river so much that we spend our days off on it too!

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