2015 Guest Reviews ~ Matt
We received this letter from Matt back on August 12, 2015 not long after his trip with us on the Goodnews river.
Paul Hansen ~ Alaska Rainbow Adventures.
I still feel as if I stepped off the Goodnews River only yesterday. Although it is hard to believe that it has already been a week since it ended, my strong feelings about the trip have not changed. I remain overwhelmed in a way that is hard to describe to people at home. In short, the trip far exceeded even my wildest expectations.
Of course the fishing was better than I expected and the scenery was more beautiful than I could have imagined. However, I did not expect the quality of people that we would share the river with. Your crew transformed a great fishing trip into the trip of a lifetime. At first I thought that maybe all returning fisherman felt the same about their own trips. But, I soon learned that this was not exactly the case. Regrettably, our flight home from Anchorage was canceled after we sat in the jet while on the runway for nearly two hours. During the many hours that followed I got to interact quite a bit with fellow passengers as we waited in long lines to haggle with airline bureaucrats over luggage, meals, alternative flights and hotels. Quite a few of these fellow passengers had come to Alaska in search of their own fishing-trip of a lifetime. Like me, they caught a lot of fish, enjoyed the beautiful scenery and had a good time. But, unlike me, their good times didn't seem to last. Most were understandably angry and irritated. Ordinarily I would have been too, but I often found myself suppressing a smile so as not to offend. I just kept thinking to myself: "this is so worth it." I still feel that way. Even if they had kept us on that plane for ten hours instead of only two, it would have been worth it.
Since returning home I have given a lot of thought as to why I feel so strongly about our trip. The combination of the location and the people made the difference. There are hundreds of good rivers and thousands of excellent guides, but it was refreshing to experience both at once in such a remote place. Of course our guides were technically proficient. They routinely put us on the fish, untangled our knots, and provided expert fishing advice. I would expect nothing less of any guide in Alaska. But, your guides provided so much more. From the very first day they made us feel like part of the family. This was in spite of the fact that they spent long days rowing us into heavy winds, pitching our tents, cleaning our mess, cooking our meals and keeping us safe. I'm still amazed all of this was accomplished without additional staff or other luxuries.
After many weeks on the water, I am sure all clients begin to blend together. We tell the same lame jokes and incessantly ask the same repetitive questions. I have no doubt that names, faces and personalities begin to blur. It is typical for interactions in such situations to become rote and mechanical. I have experienced this at various lodges, but I did not feel it on this trip. Our interactions felt genuine and heart-felt. They made us feel as if we spent the week camping and fishing with life-long friends. It is a rare trait for one individual to possess such a skill, but all four of your guides made us feel at home.
I know that I am eager to return next year, I can't wait to reunite with old friends.