Ryan Jordan

“I’m Ready to Help.”

“I’m Ready to Help.”

I’ve been a guide for a long time. Officially, I started 25 years ago.

For the last many years, I’ve heard the same old thing from my son, usually after he sees the photos from my trips:

“I wanna go.”

“I wanna catch those fish.”

“I wanna sleep up there.”

“I wanna cross that glacier.”

I wanna. I wanna. I wanna. It’s been like a broken record. I leave, he cries. Same old story.

This year, it was different.

“I wanna help you guide.”

Ohhhh really?

Now that rings a little different, I have to admit.

So I tell him.

You’re ready to be the camp cook, exhausted? You’re ready to hang heavy bear bags? You’re ready to repair the packrafts at midnight? You’re ready to stay calm when the clients are freaking out because it’s snowing, they’re cold, and you know exactly what you’re doing? Yeah?

OK, cool.

It starts with learning to work. Hard work.

“What do I have to do?” he says.

That’s the right question!

I love guiding because I love to work hard. I love carrying a client’s pack if they’re struggling, I love to battle a storm when I know that my joy in a storm helps a client’s morale, and of course, I love that part where you’re showing a client how to cast a tenkara rod, and your fly lands perfectly and up comes that twenty-something inch cutthroat. “That’s how it’s done,” you say, and “Wow! Gimme that rod!” they say! And it happens again. Bam. Fish on.

So when Chase asked me this winter, “what do I have to do?” I told him to load up his pack with twenty pounds, we’re climbing hills twice a week.

So he loaded up with almost 30 pounds, and said, “OK, let’s go.”

“Alright then, let’s go.”

This is a short film I made about a typical after-school training hike on a local trail. Yes, it’s still winter in Montana. But it’s awesome, and we love it, because we hike year round.

We train in the Bridger Mountains, mostly. This trail is the Bozeman darling, the College “M” Trail.


Technical: Shot on a Panasonic GH3 (24p MOV, 72 Mbps, flat (-5, -5, -5, -5), exposure grading in post, with some 40% slo-mo thrown in for fun. Lens was the wonderful little Panasonic 12-35/2.8 (weather-sealed!) with manual focus racking using Wiley’s killer $50 Follow Focus rig on CF bars – heck ya, because it’s light!