Best Made Guide Bio: Zachary Collier, River Rafting
What can I say, I love the outdoors, and I love opening up the wilderness to people that spend most of their time inside. I started rafting and kayaking the rivers of California while in college at UC Davis. Weekend trips on the American, Stanislaus, Merced and Tuolumne Rivers had me hooked. When I could scrape together the funds, I would head to Costa Rica, Honduras, Nepal, or Chile to paddle the amazing rivers of the southern hemisphere. It was while I was attending graduate school at Stanford in 1998 that I began guiding professionally for ECHO River Trips. I guided multi-day trips on the Tuolumne, Rogue and Salmon Rivers for ECHO before embarking on my most challenging test to date: teaching high school math. I loved teaching, (especially having the summers off to continue my explorations of the world), and I learned a lot of skills that have served me well in mentoring and instructing new river guides. But I found my Eagle Scout roots were planted very deep and as the love of outfitting river trips had grown throughout the years, I decided to embrace it as a full-time career.
I took over operations of ECHO River Trips from the retiring owners, Dick Linford and Joe Daly in 2007. I still manage their company and in 2009, I started my own outfitting business, Northwest Rafting Company, on the Rogue River in southern Oregon. I love bringing people out of their comfort zones for a wilderness adventure. Paddling a family through rapids for their first time takes me back to my first trips, and I can only hope that it will plant a seed of appreciation for the amazing natural environments to be found around our planet.
In addition to rafting, I love mountain biking, running, skiing and camping around my home in Hood River, Oregon. I still have a penchant for traveling abroad, and I hope to take more adventurers around the world to experience rivers in unique locales. I just returned from my first rafting tour of Bhutan, which was a huge success for me and my clients! When I’m not on the water, I spend a lot of time developing gear for our guides and managing ECHO and Northwest Rafting Co. I look forward to sharing stories with the Best Made Company!