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By Devon Barker

Idaho is in the national press limelight right now. You are all probably hearing about the Senator scandal, Barbra Morgan being a teacher from McCall turned Astronaut (SUPER GREAT), to all of our wildfires. When I began traveling cross-country to kayak people would think I was from IOWA and would ask, “Much whitewater there?” Well, Idaho is on the map these days but I wanted to tell you about my love of Idaho that started a few years back.

In 1988 I decided that I wanted to live in McCall, Idaho, but I was in high school. McCall is on the edge of the largest wilderness area in the lower 48 states so there is ample forests, rivers, and mountains. In college I trained out of McCall for Albertson College of Idaho ski team. I set my mind to working in McCall, Idaho as a teacher. As things turned out my first six years were on the Camas Prairie about 80 miles from McCall. I still knew I wanted to be there so I bought a house in 1998, just ten years after I had decided that was my home to be. For six years I waited for an opening and when one was not to be I was lucky enough to take a leave from teaching to pursue kayaking!

The last six years have been great but each winter I would come back to McCall and visit and call every principal and teacher I knew in the 60 miles radius of McCall. I was trying to sell them on a job-share contract. I have two passions in my life and one of them is kayaking and the other is teaching. I was always asked why I did not want to work full-time. This always led down the road of well, “You just come see us when you are done kayaking.”

This was problematic as I am a lifer when it comes to kayaking. Last spring there was a notice in the paper from a teacher who wanted to share a position, a position in the town of New Meadows just 21 miles from all of the Salmon River surfing and 9 miles from my home.

My dream of living in McCall and teaching has finally come true. I never knew I could be this happy. I am teaching, kayaking, and living in McCall, Idaho. You all should come and visit me. I have lots of room and there is so much to do in Idaho. This week my mom came up for four days and we alternated our evening after kayaking between picnics on Lake Payette to soaking in area hot springs.

I am training for Nationals for Freestyle, which will take place the end of September, and training for Surf Kayak Worlds, which will be held in Spain in October. Riggins, Idaho and Cascade, Idaho, both under 30 miles from McCall, are getting whitewater play parks and I am so happy to help this process! In addition to this I just got a grant from New Belgium Brewery in conjunction with Jackson Kayak to teach my Dare to Kayak program to 3rd-12th grade students. I am teaching T/TH and alternating M so I have plenty of time to kayak and share my Dare to Kayak message too!

I am pinching myself to make sure this is really my life- not just a dream. Enjoy these photos and the website of my classroom.

Thanks for all of your support. Miss you all and cannot wait to see you soon. Paddle in Peace,


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Fires in Idaho

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Kids Camp on Payette Lake

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Post Surf fun in Idaho

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Salmon River Surf

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Salmon River Surfing in 2Fun