This turns out to be more of a love story than a business profile. Talking with the owners of Winding Waters River Expeditions, you often hear that they love what they’re doing. Love where they do it. Love being on the river. Love sharing that experience. Love, love, love. And the thing is, it’s genuine. Paul Arentsen and Penny Rieke met in the Wallowa Mountains back in 1997. They were doing what they loved: sharing the great outdoors with young people by leading backpacking trips across the Pacific NW and Alaska. The Wallowas stood out among the many locations they’d explored. They also noticed each other. Paul and Penny were married in 2003, and moved to the Wallowa Valley the following year.
Winding Waters was born soon after. The Arentsen’s moved a few miles outside the town of Joseph, tucked between Wallowa Lake and the imposing backdrop of Chief Joseph Mountain, named for the Nez Perce leader who said of the Wallowa Valley, “I love that land of winding waters more than all the rest of the world,” which explains the name of the company, Winding Waters River Expeditions.
Today, they enjoy raising their family while running the business. It’s both fun and chaotic (in a good way) to have the kids amid the scene at the boathouse and on the river in the summertime. Linden and Britton are both becoming ‘stinky river guides’. We’re so fortunate to have a great guide crew who love the kids and are wonderful teachers.