(Photo courtesy: Colorado Wilderness Rides and Guides).

Joshua Baruch. (Photo: Colorado Wilderness Rides and Guides).

Joshua Baruch. (Photo: Colorado
Wilderness Rides and Guides).

When he was in college studying adventure and leadership education, Joshua Baruch took a break to go on a long-distance hiking trip with his mother. The two covered 450 miles on the John Muir Trail and the Tahoe-Yosemite trails, hiking from the Tahoe area to Mt. Whitney in California. 

Baruch, CEO/General Manager of Colorado Wilderness Rides and Guides, says the trip was a catalyst for his career. His Boulder-based company leads all types of trips throughout Colorado, from mountain biking tours to whitewater rafting trips to rock and ice climbing. The outfitter also offers several outdoor education classes, including avalanche safety education, outdoor survival skills and raft guide training.

So much of life is spent on a timeline, and the long-distance hike he completed with his mother was more “event-oriented” — the two were hiking until they completed their route, which took about three weeks. He also realized the importance of relationships and connections when it comes to the great outdoors.

“I think from a stewardship standpoint, the best thing we can do for the preservation of open areas and outdoors is create connections and relationships for people,” he says. “If we want places like Rocky Mountain [National Park] to be preserved, the best way to do that is to take people out and show them a ‘wow’ moment, and then all of a sudden they’re the next candle for preservation for the next generation.” 

For Baruch, his parents laid the foundation for his love of the outdoors. His dad was a professional athlete and coach and taught him how to “have fun in motion.” The trips he took with his mom sparked his love for outdoor adventure. He was 7 when he went on an eight-day backpacking trip across the Presidential Range in New Hampshire’s White Mountains.

For others who are new to outdoor recreation, or are looking to learn a new skill, Colorado Wilderness Rides and Guide can help forge those connections with nature and help equip people with knowledge about what kind of gear and supplies they need.

In the high season (May to late September), Colorado Wilderness Rides and Guide gets about 15 groups out a day through its multiple trips. About 6,000 people a year take part in trips, which can range from a few hours to several days. 

Some epic trips include climbing Mt. Alice in Rocky Mountain National Park, climbing Bastille Crack in Eldorado Canyon, whitewater rafting on Clear Creek and a multi-day bike trip along the Kokopelli Trail, stretching 142 miles from Loma, Colorado to Moab, Utah.

The outfitter also works with corporate groups, leading team-building events, and can customize outdoor adventures for families and groups with activities including camping, hiking, backpacking, rock climbing, whitewater rafting, biking and fly fishing. 

By Brittany Anas, Longmont Magazine