Aaron and Jonnie Helfrich
Owners and trip leaders, Aaron and Jonnie Helfrich, met in 1988 on a multi-day trip on the Middle Fork of the Salmon. Five years later, they married. Four years after that, both kids were on the scene, and Jonnie would need to stay home in the summers to raise them. A Helfrich Outfitter LLC was born, because she couldn’t survive a summer without being on a river.
Aaron and Jonnie’s son has loved the outdoors since he could remember; it’s in his blood. He started rowing a drift boat on his own when he was 12. He started guiding rafts in 2013 at age 17, the youngest guide on the river, but with lots of river-running experience. Garrett proved himself a valuable asset on the team, and his quick smile is disarming. He’s proud of his family’s river heritage and takes his place among the 4th generation of Helfrich guides. He’s floated many rivers across Oregon and in Idaho. He is an avid hunter and angler, spending most of his free time in the outdoors.
Leah Helfrich grew up on the McKenzie River. As a 4th generation guide, she has had a lifetime of training. Rafting allows her to be outdoors and on her favorite river every day, and she loves sharing such a defining part of her life with others. Her love of the outdoors led her to Montana State University in Bozeman. After Spring graduation and Summer guiding, she’ll leave for Huntsville Texas to pursue her Master’s degree at Sam Houston State University. Besides guiding, Leah enjoys hiking, fishing, hunting and is a 4-time state-champion in Trap, Skeet and Sporting Clays.
Born and raised on the McKenzie River, Nate grew up with a passion for the water that led him to begin guiding professionally in 2012 after years of trips with family and friends. His personal connection to the river runs long; his first home was on the upper section and another was three houses down from Helfrich Landing. This combination of personal connection and enthusiasm for the outdoors allows Nate to share many unique stories and facts.
When not on the river, Nate keeps himself busy as a full-time student at University of Oregon and as a drummer in at least three local bands.
A fan of traveling, Nate has been to at least 12 countries and most of the states in the US. You are sure to have an exciting trip with this enthusiastic and experienced river rat.
Davis is currently a student at the University of Oregon and has had the pleasure of living in Eugene his entire life. The Willamette Valley and the beautifully powerful McKenzie have always provided him with opportunities for adventure and escape from the city that he simply could not pass up. He grew up riding along in his father’s drift boat and fly fishing the McKenzie. He continues to fish from both banks and boats on all stretches of the river. He became a guide simply because he wants to share the beauty of the river with others. Hopefully they experience it in the same way that he has come to love it. Guiding has been one of the most rewarding and fun experiences in his life. He’s learned a lot about the state, rivers, and other people. On the McKenzie, there are seriously no bad days.
Gabe was born and raised and lives in Springfield, Oregon. He loves to guide not only because of the experiences but also because of the beauty of the wild McKenzie River. When he’s not on the river, he enjoys hunting, fishing, mudding and spending time with friends around bonfires.
Wyatt has lived in the Willamette Valley his whole life. He loves rafting and fishing the McKenzie and John Day Rivers with his family and friends. When he’s not on a river, you can find him playing football, hunting or being a camp counselor at Camp Harlow.