The Heflins: Land, Erica & Griffin

Land, Erica and Griffin Heflin spend June, July and August in Missoula, Montana busy attending to Tarkio Kayak Adventures’ summer schedule. During their free time they enjoy cruising around in “Petunia”.  Petunia is the Heflins’ Sprinter van that, over the years, has undergone major renovations to make it the ultimate home-on-wheels.

The Heflins enjoy traveling internationally on and sharing Idaho and Montana’s spectacular rivers with others.  Land and Erica’s favorite thing to do is cruise around North America in their van with the pooches; visiting family, friends and playing outdoors along the way…..and now Griffin has joined the family and has hopped on board for adventure!

Tarkio Kayak Adventures is a family operated business. For many years Land has been Tarkio’s “Everything-Man”. Erica has been in the picture since 2004 and together they carry out a variety of responsibilities. Whether it is instructing and guiding on the river, managing the accounting, communications and marketing or coordinating trip logistics, these two are taking care of it. The Heflins work hard to maintain the philosophy, lifestyle and ideals that make Tarkio Kayak Adventures the unique company and community of paddlers it has always been.

Land is a Mississippi born, second-generation river guide and has spent his life on or near rivers. His graceful paddling and intuitive river sense are products of a life spent on the water. A veteran instructor who has taught at kayak schools throughout the US, Land is always a favorite among students. His dashing smile and love of boating are ever present. He can motivate even the most timid student to reach new paddling heights. Land’s personality and disposition create Tarkio’s present-day identity. He has a wonderful sense of humor and a comforting river demeanor that keep participants returning for more.

Land has traveled the world kayaking and has explored many rivers across the United States and Canada along with rivers in Bhutan, New Zealand, Nepal, India, Sri Lanka, Panama, Peru, Chile, Ecuador, Venezuela and Mexico. He has also spent time traveling in Austria, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Thailand and Cambodia.

A Hood River, Oregon native, Erica has spent the majority of her life in Oregon and Montana. She keeps Tarkio Kayak Adventures organized and running smoothly. She is a lover of animals and children and enjoys spending her time outdoors and traveling. She usually makes it on the river for couple of Tarkio’s summer trips along with most of the international adventures. Erica currently spends the majority of her time focused on Tarkio Kayak Adventures, managing the Heflin’s rental houses and taking care of the family.  Erica’s titles include: Cruise Director, Office Aficionado, Correspondence Enthusiast, Griffin’s Mommy and “Land Management Specialist”. Erica’s travels have taken her to Panama, Peru, Chile, Argentina, Mexico, Austria, Switzerland, Germany, Italy, Thailand, Cambodia, Bhutan, across most of the United States, British Columbia and Alberta.

IMG_0888Tarkio has a new “jefe”! Griffin Dorji Heflin made his debut in mid-August of 2013. He has been an amazing ray of sunshine and brightens every moment.  He does make it challenging to get work done but he certainly tugs on the heart-strings and is the best distraction ever.IMG_0207

Griffin enjoys floating down mellow sections of river, drawing, painting, playing in his sandbox, hopping, jumping (or launching) off the coffee table and most of all, getting into mischief.

photoGriffin’s favorite singer is Daddy. Some of Griffin’s favorite foods are elk steak, bananas, corn on the cob, apples, salmon and ikura. His travels have taken him to Ecuador, Baja and across the United States (thus far).  There is never a dull moment in the Heflin household thanks to the G-man!

The “Other” Heflin Children:  SHORTY the PIMP and PICKLES too!

Shorty FaceA few years back Shorty (The Pimp) joined the family.  It is estimated that Shorty is about 6 to 7 years old. He was rescued by some friends of Land and Erica’s down in  Baja.  Shorty was found by the side of the road, hanging out with his friend, a donkey.  He had a broken back-end, was starving and and suffering from mange. Shorty the Pimp, does indeed “walk with limp” permanently, but he is a survivor and quite a character. After spending some time with Shorty in Baja, the Heflins decided to bring him back to the U.S. to find a good home….and indeed a good home was found.

IMG_1486Pickles entered the Heflin scene more recently. She is a rescue, finding her way to a shelter in Thompson Falls, Montana via a shelter in Idaho. Prior to “doing time” in Idaho, Pickles was in a shelter located in California.  Pickles was “saved” from being euthanized and rode in a Cessna plane from California to Idaho with many other dogs being transported to a no-kill shelter. Pickles has balanced out the household, she is very affectionate and certainly a little pistol. Shorty and Griffin both have an amazingly tolerant and loving playmate.

Constantly offering unconditional love, the Heflin doggies are a large part of IMG_1496Land, Erica and Griffin’s daily life. They created a calming and comforting affect and their presence is greatly appreciated.  Though neither would be considered  a “water dog”fortunately both Shorty and Pickles enjoy rafting (and duckying) down mellow sections of river and camping.

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