OCTOBER PREVIEW ~ Color Runs and River Fun! by Chicago Toughill

I love paddling in Autumn… For the past thirteen seasons I’ve had the honor and extreme pleasure of paddling my home stretch, the Peshtigo River in northern Wisconsin, every October for my birthday. This year I turn 40 (the big Four Ohhhh!!) and I’m moving away to the Pacific Northwest to begin the next phase of my life. So I’ll no longer be working as River Manager at Kosir’s Rapid Rafts, the very best job a Dirtbag could ever ask for. But I WILL be headed Up North one last time to paddle and party with my DBFamily to soak in the glorious colors of the Northwoods before heading out west.  The cover photo for the month is of Five Foot Falls on the Peshtigo, shot by yours truly a few years ago for the Kosir’s Facebook page. I expect to share this view in person with many of the lifelong friends I’ve made there this weekend at my retirement celebration. 

There’s nothing quite like fall paddling. The air is so crisp and fresh, scented with foliage falling. Leaves reflected in the pools of the river, floating with the currents, rioting in oranges, reds, yellows, delight me. The crowds are gone from the river; it’s only a small core group of dirtbags out there, oftentimes it’s only me. The water is cold and refreshing, and many years we get a nice bump after the rains return. It’s a special beauty that most folks only see in photos, but one that I carry in my soul.

What does the future hold? For me, some epic soul boating with my PNW homies, who are itching to see me arrive with the rains that will be replenishing those awesome Class V runs they are famous for. Although I’ll be done guiding in Wisconsin, I’m not sure if I’ll be done for good with the profession. I still have plenty in the tank, I just need to evaluate what direction I want to proceed in. As for Dirt Bag Paddlers and my work as Executive Editor at DBP MAGAZINE ONLINE, the work is so rewarding that I can assure you all I have zero intention of walking away! You’ll be able to tune in here, on Facebook, and on Instagram (@DBP_4_LIFE) and enjoy the flows from rivers around the world. 
In this month’s lineup we’re set to deliver you some great stories of guiding (like a three part series from Adam Piggott’s raft guide memoir “PUSHING RUBBER DOWNHILL”), interviews with William McGinnis (renowned author of “THE GUIDE’S GUIDE”) and riverboard phenom Tom Paterson, coverage of the Southeast boater band River Funk by Associate Editor Wes Breitenbach, a Spotlight article on boats of the New World by Associate Editor Taz Riggs, and more! So hang on tight as we enter the Autumn, and as Taz loves to say, “ALL FORWARD!” Cuz we ain’t got no chicken straps on this boat, Dirtbags!! 
“We exist to share stories of paddlers of all disciplines from all over the world; to interview icons and play makers in the paddling community and whitewater industry; to preserve the stories of our collective history; to raise awareness of and to protect our rivers and resources; to promote whitewater festivals and events; to report on competitions and competitors in the race community; to give a home to the artistic side of paddling in poetry, artwork, music, comics, and humor; to be inclusive not exclusive, to preach unity and support, safety and camaraderie; to break down the barriers that separate society; to have a global outlook with a local feel; and to celebrate the Dirtbag Lifestyle!”
So get out there, be awesome, and make this world a better place!!
All Forward Thinking. 
That’s what it’s all about! Expanding our sport’s horizons is something we are actively doing… Reminding each other that our community is the same no matter where the River is, the color of skin or language spoken. On The River it’s all one language, the language of Flow. 

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