Maine Rafting and Hiking Guide: Sandi Howard
Name: Sandi Howard
Hometown: Windham, Maine
Age of First Rafting Trip: 20
Year you started guiding at Northern Outdoors: 1997
What type of guiding do you do? Whitewater Rafting, Hiking, Leadership Programs
What do you enjoy most about working at Northern Outdoors?
Northern has a great philosophy that centers on great adventures, exploring beautiful rivers and landscapes, and sharing experiences with others. I really enjoy helping people build skills that make them feel empowered and confident to engage in physical activities that push them emotionally and build connections with others and nature!
What is your favorite river to guide, and your favorite rapid on that river?
I love guiding on the Kennebec, Dead, and Penobscot rivers with the views of the gorge walls and fall foliage landscapes. My favorite places on the rivers include Alleyway (Kennebec), Cribworks (Penobscot), and the one that always makes me giggle the most as we get bounced around is on Little and Big Poplar rapids (Dead River).
What’s your classic Northern Outdoors memory?
My first year as a rookie guide we were still offering 2-day rafting overnight trips. Being scheduled to a guide the first part of the overnight trip I had never been on left me with a feeling of anticipation. The day began with 4-person customer-guided rafts on some Class II rapids on the East (?) Branch of the Kennebec, a scenic float across Indian Pond, and arrival to our overnight site. We cooked mussels and lobsters for the guests and prepared the wilderness sauna with hot, hot rocks. We stayed in the sauna as long as we could stand it then ran down the path to bathe in Indian Pond. The next morning was my first time guiding the Kennebec at 8,000 cfs. I'll never forget the emotions that ran through my mind and the feelings of exhilaration tempered by relaxation during my first overnight trip. What a gem of an experience!
Where do you adventure when you are not working?
I love to ski, hike, and explore other rivers with my husband and son in New England.
What do you do in the off-season when you’re not guiding for Northern Outdoors?
I'm an Associate Professor of Music Education at Keene State College in Keene, NH. I conduct a choir and train undergraduate students to become music teachers. My husband and I also lead off-season outdoor recreational leadership classes based out of Northern Outdoors for college credit through Keene State College.
Tell us about any certifications, special talents, guide awards.
Over the last 21 years at N.O., I have been humbled when recognized for the Rookie Guide of the Year Award, Outstanding Service Awards, Outstanding Performance Awards, Guest Award, and Rolls Royce Award. We have such a strong staff that I think we all push each other to do our best everyday.
What rivers have you run outside of Maine?
Kicking Horse River
Which Kennebec River Brewery beer is your top choice after a day on the river?
Magic Hole IPA