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A Caretaking Adventure in Hells Canyon: Adventure, Plus Stipend and Tips

This caretaking adventure isn't just about work. Exploring, gold panning, meeting people from all over the world, fishing, plus receiving a stipend (pay), tips, and a place to stay are all part of it.

During a visit with friends in northeastern Washington, John and Lynn were pleased to learn that all over the world, property owners need caretakers. They had never really thought about the property caretaking field before this, but they soon warmed up to the idea of caretaking, and subscribed to The Caretaker Gazette. The couple immediately saw a caretaker-wanted ad in the Gazette that interested them.



John and Lynn on their Caretaking AdventureJohn and Lynn on their Caretaking Adventure

John and Lynn decided that they were the perfect couple to take this position since they wanted to travel and they both had the background and experience required. Lynn has a cooking background and was recently retired from the University of Washington after 20 years working in Housing and Food Services. John is retired from the Seattle Fire Department, had done pick-up work for a construction company, and attended recreational vehicle technical school. He also worked for a catalog and film production company providing technical assistance, caring for their RV, and cooking for the crews. In addition, John has also been the Maintenance Manager for Boardwalk Lodge, a 5-star fishing lodge in southeastern Alaska.

The couple responded to the ad in the Gazette by email and then followed up with a phone call to the property owner. After submitting their resumes and photos and then more phone conversations, John and Lynn were asked if they would like to see the ranch. Since they were visiting their daughter in eastern Washington, they agreed to take a look.

On the day John and Lynn arrived at the ranch, they met the Ranch Manager on the Snake River. They were then jet boated to the ranch, which is located in Hells Canyon, 37 miles upstream from Lewiston, Idaho.

John says, "We were sold immediately, and decided to take the position right on the spot."

The View of Hells Canyon, Idaho, while Property CaretakingThe View of Hells Canyon, Idaho, while Property Caretaking

The property, located on the site of a historic ranch, is owned by The Nature Conservancy Group and is leased to a river exploration and excursion group. John and Lynn's duties were to take care of about 11 acres, out of the total 14,000 acres. Their area included the historic old mansion, a three-acre orchard, two log cabins, and approximately five acres of grass. The rest of the ranch is left natural and the guests may hike and explore as much as they desire.

John and Lynn's duties also included the care and feeding of the guests (two to eight at any one time), making sure they were fed well and ensuring they had a relaxing vacation. On arrival day guests were treated to a wonderful excursion on a large jet boat through Hells Canyon followed by a country style dinner served by John and Lynn. The couple were also responsible for ensuring that all guests were comfortable with their accommodations. In the morning, they served the guests a good breakfast that included Swedish pancakes. If the guests were staying on for another night, John and Lynn provided them with lunch on the ranch. For guests who were leaving that day, John and Lynn prepared a hearty sack lunch for the guests to take with them

On this caretaking adventure, John and Lynn received a small stipend, room and board, plus any tips they were given by the guests staying on the property.

According to John, "The most interesting part of this position was meeting the diverse array of guests from all over the world, and getting to talk with them. Learning about where they come from, their views on life, etc. It was real eye-opening!"

The couple's caretaking adventure was unique in the way that it taught them how to enjoy isolation. There was hiking and exploring near an old Chinese mine located up a trail along the Snake River and fishing for smallmouth bass, trout, salmon, and steelhead in the river. John and Lynn could also just relax, read, or go swimming.

They could even pan for some gold at various locations along the river. Gold in a very fine form comes from the Salmon River that joins the Snake River upstream. Deposits are found in the cracks and crevasses of the rocks after the spring runoff in May or June. They also enjoyed watching the deer and wild turkeys that were always in the orchard along with owls, hawks, sparrows, and other birds and animals.

Lynn says about their caretaking adventure, "For us, this was fun, interesting, and quite an adventure in an isolated part of the world, as this is. We hope all of our future caretaking positions are as pleasing."

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This caretaking adventure profile of property caretakers John and Lynn was reprinted and used by permission from Gary C. Dunn, publisher of The Caretaker Gazette. There are empty homes in every state and country, and property owners are looking for trustworthy people to take care of their properties. The Caretaker Gazette contains property caretaking/housesitting openings in all 50 states and foreign countries. Many of our RVers park their rig in the homeowner's driveway or backyard, and either stay in their RV or enjoy living in a nice home. Published since 1983, subscribers receive 1,000+ property caretaking and housesitting opportunities each year, worldwide. Some of these caretaking and housesitting openings also offer compensation in addition to the free housing provided. Short, medium and long-term property caretaking assignments are in every issue. The Caretaker Gazette, 2503 E Martin Luther King Jr Blvd, Austin, TX 78702. (206) 462-1818. www.caretaker.org


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