“Everything I’ve done as a job since leaving high school has been water-related,” says Jacob Rothrock, North Idaho College’s Outdoor Pursuits program coordinator. Rothrock grew up in North Carolina and attended the state university in Raleigh before moving to Colorado after graduating in 2004 to work as a raft and fly-fishing guide in Salida and manage a ski shop in Winterpark. His love of the outdoors and sharing those experiences with others is what eventually led him to NIC 10 years ago for a job with Outdoor Pursuits. One of Rothrock’s favorite ways to spend time on Lake Coeur d’Alene is sailing and paddling. “The faster we go, the less time we have to enjoy where we are. I can’t go too fast because I miss things,” which, he says, is why he tries to help students slow down and feel a connection to a place, whether it’s a lake, mountain, or city. “What I like best about wilderness and adventuring in the wild is that it treats everyone the same – it’s a level playing field. Cold is cold; hot is hot. If you’re on a mountain, it’s uphill for everyone,” he says.

He also likes teaching people to do things for themselves. At Outdoor Pursuits and NIC he teaches bike maintenance, sailing, outdoor cooking, paddleboarding, lake and whitewater kayaking, and fly-fishing. “I’m amazed when people who’ve lived here a long time have never been on the lake.” After a decade in Coeur d’Alene, Rothrock and his family are imbedded in the lakeside city’s community and waterfront culture. Next time you’re in Coeur d’Alene, be sure to take time to enjoy the NIC beach, rent a sailboat, and say “hello” to Rothrock. He’s happy to give you some pointers on sailing, which he says is easy to learn, especially with NIC’s rental Hobie-Cats. //