How did you find yourself at Holiday?

Holiday North was located in the town I grew up in, Grangeville, Idaho.  I also had a brother, Steve, who was working for Holiday and I thought it would be a good way to spend my summer guiding on the rivers of Idaho.

What years did you spend guiding?

1986 to current

What is something you learned while at Holiday that has stuck with you and has been valuable to life beyond the river?

Live life every day, take care of our rivers and always leave it better than you found it.

Mike wassmuth lounging on a raft - HRE alumniWhat is your favorite stretch of river that you have been on? 

Love all of them, the Main Salmon River section was always a favorite. 100 miles of wilderness, beaches, rapids, wildlife, hiking, and a limited number of people.

Do you still do river trips?


What do you miss most from guiding?

Meeting new people from all over the world and experiencing the river with them.  Still guiding, so I guess I don’t really miss it yet.

What was it that pulled you away from guiding?

Still guiding with other companies in Idaho.

What advice or sentiment would you share with young guides working today?

Guide as long as you can as long as you enjoy it, and don’t burn yourself out to the point where it becomes more of a job than an adventure.

Do you have a favorite memory of Dee? Sue? Tim? Frogg?

Dee: His love of the rivers and canyons.  His attention to detail.  His great smile.

Sue: Kindness and always interested in what has been going on in my life.  On a main Salmon trip with Sue and Dee, we were sitting around the fire and I got stung in between my toes. I must have yelped, then ran for the river. Before long Sue was there with some Alvera and says “use this, it’s great for burns”  I told her it was a bee sting, and she just turned around and said, then this is not going to help at all”

Tim:  Spent a morning rewiring a trailer with Tim, fun to work together and learn from each other.  All the time, while we were working it seemed either his phone was ringing with a question from someone, or a guide was coming up and asking questions about a time going out or coming in.  Busy guy.

Frogg: Couple of things I always remember about Frogg, “Shut the cooler door”!

He never really got rattled no matter how many rigs broke down, how many trips were out, guide shortages, or food problems, he just dealt with them and figured it out. Likely why he was successful.
Another thing I remember was how good he was with kids on trips. Kids loved hanging around him like a big teddy bear, he teased them and they teased him back. Always fun to watch the interactions.
What’s your most memorable story from a river trip?Mike Wassmuth on the beach- HRE alumni

So many.  One I remember often was from an early morning float, I had one guest on the front of my boat, an elderly gentleman drinking his coffee and enjoying the scenery.  Neither of us had said anything since we left the beach probably 10 minutes ago.  Finally, he says to me, “Mike, if there was one thing I would like to know it’s where I am going to die”.  I responded, “Why’s that”?  He said, “I wouldn’t go there”.  We both laughed for a bit and then it was quiet time again.

Do you have a story to share about a positive experience with a guest? 

I have had many many positive experiences with guests, so many new friendships, and learning how other people live and other beliefs.  What I like most is how families seem to get along better on the river than at home. Maybe less distractions and more time to focus on each other.

Are you in touch with any guides you met during your time with Holiday? 

Yes, quite a few.

What are you up to these days? (career, passions, hobbies, artistic endeavors, etc…)

I am retired and live in north Idaho.  Still guiding part-time on Idaho rivers. Traveling some and attending major league baseball games. Love to fish, especially steelhead fishing in the fall.

Where do you call home? 

Post Falls, Idaho

Do you think you will ever be a river guide again?

Yes, this spring. 😲