From Guest to Guide by Zach Kellman

As a stubborn teenager, being with my family on vacation was not exactly a favorite activity.

Needless to say, being in your teens can be an extremely crazy and confusing time that every family comes to understand through experiencing it. My parents informed me they had planned a trip to the Canadian Rockies with Austin Adventures in the middle of summer.

Even though I possessed a great passion for the outdoors, I almost had a fit.

In fact, I recall having a rather large objection to going on the trip even without any knowledge of the itinerary. I couldn't stand the idea of missed summer parties and potential flings, even if just for a few weeks.

How could going on this trip benefit me in any way? Unfortunately, it didn't matter because I was getting on that plane whether I liked it or not. If I refused, drill sergeants were "apparently" going to come and take me to teenage boot camp in the middle of the night, or so I was told to persuade my decision. Life certainly has some interesting and ironic twists that for me would come to fruition nearly a decade later.

The weather was gray, cold, and damp the day we arrived in Alberta. I'm sure you can picture my lack of enthusiasm at the time. Our guides Marcy and Karl picked us up the next morning in that big white Austin Adventures van that you learn to love by the end of the week, and off we went.

They were so friendly that I felt relieved in a way. Somehow they seemed to instantly understand my plight as an adamant teenager, and were determined to show me a good time.

The trip kicked off with a bang while rafting the Kicking Horse River, which was so full of glacial sediment it looked like it was milk instead of water.

It was especially enjoyable for me because I was (and still am) a whitewater-kayaking junky, and had plans to return after the trip for a personal run. I can't recall many details from the first several days, but my blurry memory comes to focus the second I think of Moraine Lake.

The turquoise glacial water and towering mountains were too much to ignore, even for the most reluctant observer.

Over the next several days we lodged in some of the nicest accommodations I will ever have the privilege to stay in, and the food was phenomenal.

When we arrived in Banff it was time for "night-on-your-own," but we were all enjoying each other so much that Marcy and Karl actually ate dinner with us. That meant a lot in retrospect, because I now know how valuable that time is for guides to get ahead.

My final memory of the trip was walking on the Athabascan Glacier. We strapped crampons to our boots and wielded ski poles before trudging up the ice.

Once "off-piste", we stared down into crevasses hundreds of feet deep, and watched as melt water cascaded straight into the glacial abyss. The last night, the group met in a cabin and shared what we had gained from the weeklong experience.

I can't remember exactly what I said, but it was something along the lines of "I didn't want to be here at first and ended up having the trip of a lifetime with my family."  A big part of that was because of our awesome guides.

Who would've ever guessed that roughly ten years later, and by a simple twist of fate, I would be part of the Austin Adventures family and be able to work with such an amazing group of individuals?

Certainly, I would have never predicted it, but it has given me a unique perspective when guiding in Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks. My Canadian Rockies experience not only proves that the most disgruntled teenagers can enjoy themselves on these trips, but also that they can truly change your life for the better.

 

 

Related Posts

The Best Winter Family Vacations for Sun, Snow and the Holidays

 

How to Plan Your Winter Family Vacation for 2022 

Adventurous families…

The Best Time to Visit Maine

So you’re considering a visit to Maine—the popular U.S. coastal…

Best Time to Visit Death Valley

 Visit During Other National Parks' Off-SeasonUnlike most National Parks, the…

Best Time to Visit Bryce Canyon National Park

Best Time to Visit Bryce CanyonIf you’re thinking of visiting…

Best Time To Visit Banff National Park

 

With unmatched panoramic views and magical vistas of jagged, winter…

Best Time To Visit Glacier National Park

Anyone who's been to Montana will tell you straight: Big…

Best Time to Visit the Grand Canyon

 

The Grand Canyon is one of those must-see geological wonders…

Your Guide to Teen Trips

 Your Guide to Teen TripsTraveling with your children during their…

10 Best Places to Visit in Montana

 

Many of the best places to visit in Montana are…

Things to Do in Alaska in Summer, Spring, Winter and Fall

 

One of the biggest aspects of your next Alaskan trip…

7 Reasons Why You Should Take the Family to Costa Rica this Christmas

 

If you're looking for something fresh to do this holiday…

The Best Time to Visit Capitol Reef

Capitol Reef is one of Utah’s lesser-known natural wonders.

However,…

10 Fun Facts About National Parks

It's no secret that we, at Austin Adventures, love national…

The Best Time To Visit Arches National Park

 Thinking about when to visit Arches National Park?Utah holds a…

The Best Times To Visit Zion National Park And What To Do There

Thinking about the best time to visit Zion National Park?Zion…

Top 10 Reasons to Get a Guide on Your Trip to Costa Rica

The Resplendent Quetzal is an elusive, near-threatened bird that often…

Go Climbing in Yosemite!

First off let me start by saying rock climbing is…

9 Best Places for Your Yellowstone Photography

 

Yellowstone Photography GuideOur world’s first national park—perhaps best known for…

The 15 Best National Parks to Visit in the U.S.

The Best National Parks to VisitOut of the 59 national…

9 Fun Facts About Alaska

 

Alaska. The Great Land. The Last Frontier. The Land of…

10 Tips for Choosing the Right Tour Operator

When it comes to your precious vacation time and dollars,…

Fun Facts About 3 Classic American National Parks

 1) Yellowstone National Park

There are fewer than 1,000 geysers in…

10 Fun Facts About Yellowstone National Park

 

Here at Austin Adventures, Yellowstone National Park is a place…

When is the Best Time to Visit Yellowstone National Park?

Hey adventurers! It’s Kasey Austin – the President of Operations…

The Differences Between Our Yellowstone, Wyoming, & Montana Vacations

First of all, I should explain that Austin Adventures, based…

How to Explore the Canadian Rockies | Your Adventure Vacation to Canada

Mountains can take on different meanings for everyone—inspirations, challenges, something…

Bryce and Zion National Park Hikes - Trails

This Austin Adventures blog post was written by one of…

Cycling Yellowstone to the Tetons

To help you get inspired to bike it up this…

Top Three Favorite Adventure Activities When Visiting Yellowstone Park

Yellowstone National Park is one of those destinations that every…

Top 5 National Parks (that are NOT in the U.S.)

 

Nearly 100 countries -the U.S. included -have lands classified as…

Five Types of Geothermal Features You'll Find Visiting Yellowstone National Park

There are rare Geothermal Features and pools in the Yellowstone…

Four Rules for an Adventurous Mindset

Follow these four rules to live a more adventurous life.Often…

The Value of Traveling with a Tour Operator

Twenty reasons traveling with a tour operator makes your life…

10 Ridiculously Cool Things You Didn't Know About Death Valley

It's always been a hot destination, so we couldn't be…

Top Five Experiences in Yellowstone National Park

By Austin Guide: Bryan Codi

I have been fortunate enough to guide for…

Driving the Alaska Highway & Driving to Alaska

 

Driving the Alaska Highway…The Ultimate Road Trip to begin your…

7 Last-Minute Travel Ideas and Tips

 

So you've got some unexpected time off on the horizon?Or…

Why Alaska is one of our Favorite Adventures

Why Alaska is one of our Favorite AdventuresAlaska, the name…

San Juan Islands: The Best Kept Secret in Washington

The Space Needle is great, not to mention the dripping…

Spinning Wheels in Grand Teton National Park

Spinning Wheels in Grand Teton National Parkby Rob Hartsig

Of all…

Highlights from Europe Guide Training in Holland

What do you get when you have more than a…

The Best National Park Vacations

Did You Know?You can visit a different national site each…

8 May-cations You Don't Want to Miss

When most people think of traveling during May, they think…

The Best Time to Visit Costa Rica

Perhaps you already know the popular things to do of…

Tips for Photographing the Southwest United States

Before I get started, I want to introduce myself -…

Six Things You Might Not Know About South Dakota

South Dakota doesn't quite have the pole position on most…

An Austin Adventures Extension By Sheri Saari

At the end of the Austin Adventures guiding season, people…

Top Ten Awesome Things About Alberta

1. Alberta, known for its majestic Canadian Rockies, contains five national…

How Do I Prepare for an Adventure Vacation?

After talking with hundreds of people about adventure vacations, I…

Give Me 5 Minutes -- And I'll Show You An Unbelievable Arizona Bike Tour

Immersed in sun and sceneryAs we roll in the New…

Can You Tell the Difference Between a Black Bear and a Grizzly Bear?

As a guide in Yellowstone National Park, it's very important…

Angel's Landing

If you're looking for a thrilling hike with amazing views…

Things to do in Bozeman, Montana

 

On all the Austin trips that I have led, I…

Things to do in Jackson Hole, Wyoming

Today, I want to talk about one of my favorite…

3 Places to Visit in Southwest Utah

Considering a Southwest Adventure?Seek out nature's playground of red rock…

Need an End of Summer Trip? Explore the Secrets of South Dakota!

As the end of summer is quickly approaching, what better…

Abu Camp, Botswana

Well, I am in Botswana, and SO excited to be…

South Dakota - History of the Old West

Who doesn't just love a good story of pioneer grit…

Arches National Park

 

There is just something about the desert for me.

It's harsh,…

Top 5 Reasons to Visit South Dakota

Visit South Dakota!Kasey here, Field Operations Liaison/Guide for Austin Adventures.

As…

Go Big Sky with Our Montana Vacations

Four World-Famous Parks in One Trip!Austin Adventures offers the most exciting…

Adventure Vacations for Couples at Havasupai Falls

Nothing can make you feel more alive than the rush…

Secret Paradise in the Grand Canyon, Havasupai Falls

The Grand Canyon is easily one of the most iconic…