Darby Vreven is one of those rare guides blessed with phenomenal experience, poise, talent, athleticism, and a sunny, outgoing personality. He started guiding on the Kern in 1982 and has seen the Kern River run at levels many just dream about. In 1983, the Isabella spillway overflowed and the Lower Kern ran in excess of 7,500 CFS (cubic feet per second). Darby was one of only a handful of guides who ran the Lower Kern at these impossible levels and has some tall tales of his exploits that day in the Lower Kern Canyon. He is a veteran of two Iron Man Triathlons and has recently retired as a special education teacher for Kernville Elementary here in the Kern Valley.
Darby has been the lead instructor for our spring guide trainings over the past few years. His love of guiding and high degree of experience has enabled him to pass on invaluable skills to our guide trainees. He's pictured here running an oar boat through Carson Falls rapid on the Forks of the Kern last weekend. When not on the water, you can find Darby running with his faithful golden retriever, Solar, or mountain biking on the trails that crisscross the Kern Valley.