Elena began her commercial guiding career as a “swamper” on Idaho’s Middle Fork of the Salmon River about a decade ago. She stepped onto a raft the day after graduating high school and never looked back; the pursuit of wild rivers has dictated her every life move. In Missoula, Montana where she earned a bachelor’s and master’s degree in Natural Resource Conservation, she became an avid kayaker as well, and eventually worked as the lead kayak instructor at U of M. Her passion for kayaking and guiding has taken her all over Chile, Costa Rica, Zambia, Bhutan, and of course every corner of her home state of Idaho.
Her favorite part of being on the river is two-fold. One part is presence- when you’re on the water, there is just you, your crew, the gear, and the river; the river simply does not allow for distractions. The second part is the human connections- whether it’s in the heart of Idaho’s Frank Church Wilderness on the Salmon or in the deep gorges of Patagonia on the Futaleufu, Elena finds that miles away from cell phone service, the internet, and all the complexities of the modern world, we are able to form our most treasured connections while sharing simple pleasures like listening to the sound of the river.
Along with running rivers, Elena loves to dance, cook and play the ukulele. Her ideal day involves running class V and then tearing up the dance floor all night.