Story by Kathy Jo Lynne, Photos by H20
How does a person build a business and enrich a community at the same time? Ask Zach Mason, owner of H20 Idaho. He says, “I took my passion for rafting and turned it into a company.” And, as far as the community, Zach chose Riggins, Idaho. To that end, he set up shop along the Salmon River and began to create a “family-like” operation that includes his guides, his clients, and his community. He wants the Treasure Valley to know there are “more rivers than just the Payette” and they are all different.
H20 employs seven full-time guides that are certified in CPR and First Aid, and Leave No Trace. Some have certificates in Wilderness First Aid and EMT courses. “I have the best guides on the river. We are a big family ourselves,” Zach says. “We pride ourselves on customer service.”
H20 trips include half-day to multi-day, whitewater to fishing, or they will create just about anything you can imagine. You may want to start your day with meditation and yoga in the morning, and again, under the stars at night, with a raft trip sandwiched in the middle. Or, maybe a corporate team-building adventure suits your needs? How about a high school reunion? A birthday celebration? An anniversary? H20 also specializes in creative culinary skills to complement your adventure with steaks and seafood as regular fare. In fact, they won second place in the Dutch Oven Cook-Off in Riggins last year!
When asked about his favorite trips, Zach describes a half-day trip that consisted of a group of adults with special needs and remembers their faces lit up as they experienced the outdoors in a new way. His favorite multi-day trip involved a group of teenagers. He recalls them transforming from being “the top of a head and a forehead” to fully animated, interacting faces. With a degree in Parks and Recreation – Outdoor Recreational Leadership, Zach enjoys just watching his groups “mesh.”
He also dedicates himself to his career as a full-time firefighter and paramedic in Meridian. Zach’s personal passions include fishing and skiing, but his love for family seems to drive his vision. Zach and his wife Jessica have two children. He says, “I wanted to have a good rafting company so I can give it to them.”
Zach’s enthusiasm for rafting is unmistakable. He elaborates on his vision for growth by saying, “The big thing is we are working together with other outfitters.” He describes the “old school mentality” as “this is a pie and everybody gets a piece,” but today he says, it’s really “a sheet cake.” There are plenty of rivers to explore. He beckons, “Come up to Riggins and go rafting.”
Zach sums up the river experience by quoting the Greek philosopher, Heraclitus. “No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man.”
To learn more: h20idaho.com