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A guide is a person who leads travelers or tourists through unknown or unfamiliar locations. The term can also be applied to a person who leads others to more abstract goals such as knowledge or wisdom.
Explorers in the past venturing into territory unknown by their own people invariably hired guides. Lewis and Clark hired Sacagawea to help them explore the American West, and Wilfred Thesiger hired guides in the deserts that he ventured into, such as Kuri on his journey to the Tibesti Mountains in 1938.
Tour guides lead visitors through tourist attractions and give information about the attractions' natural and cultural significance. Often, they also act as interpreters for travellers who do not speak the local language. Automated systems like audio tours are sometimes substituted for human tour guides. Tour operators often hire guides to lead tourist groups.
Mountain guides are those employed in mountaineering; these are not merely to show the way but stand in the position of professional climbers with an expert knowledge of rock and snowcraft, which they impart to the amateur, at the same time assuring the safety of the climbing party. This professional class of guides arose in the middle of the 19th century when Alpine climbing became recognized as a sport.
In Switzerland, the central committee of the Swiss Alpine Club issues a guides’ tariff which fixes the charges for guides and porters; there are three sections, for the Valais and Vaudois Alps, for the Bernese Oberland, and for central and eastern Switzerland.
In Chamonix (France) a statue has been raised to Jacques Balmat, who was the first to climb Mont Blanc in 1786. Other notable European guides are Christian Almer, Jakob and Melchior Anderegg, Auguste Balmat, Alexander Burgener, Armand Charlet, Michel Croz, François Devouassoud, Angelo Dibona, Andreas Heckmair, the Innerkofler family, Conrad Kain, Christian Klucker, and Matthias Zurbriggen
A wilderness guide leads others through wilderness areas and works to ensure the safety of their clients.
Wilderness guides are expected to have a command of survival skills (such as making shelters, fire-making, navigation, and first aid) and an understanding of the ecology and history of the location where they guide. Other common skills among guides include traditional handicrafts and cooking methods, fishing, hunting, bird watching, and nature conservation.
Hunting guides are employed by those seeking to hunt wildlife, especially big game animals in the wild. European hunting guides working in Africa are sometimes called white hunters, although the term is most commonly used in the context of the early 20th century.
Guides employed on safari, usually for "photographic safaris", although the term can also be a synonym of hunting guide. Safari guides who are self-employed, working on their own account with their own marketing and clientele (in contrast with those who work for an employer) sometimes refer to themselves as "professional safari guides". Safari Guides can be unqualified, but most should be qualified and be part of an Association. Associations are typically linked to specific countries and are governed by that countries laws and policies. Associations such as The Field Guides Association of Southern Africa (FGASA) and Uganda Safari Guides Association (USAGA) play an important role in training and educating Safari guides to improve knowledge and safety.
Guides employed by those seeking to fish for example big game fishing in Sea, lakes and also rivers. Fishing guides have been important in many areas of the world, including the Norwegian coast, the Swedish archipelago, Florida coast, and north Canada rivers and lakes, etc. Fishing guides in the Gulf of Mexico are commonly referred to as a Charter Guide. There are also specialists such as a Fly fishing Guide.
In pre-modern times, the lack of detailed maps made local guides almost essential to the direction of military operations. In 18th century Europe, the stricter organization of military resources led in various countries to the special training of guide officers who had the primary duty of finding, and if necessary establishing, routes for other military unites.
The genesis of the "Guides" regiments may be found in a short-lived Corps of Guides formed by Napoleon in Italy in 1796, which appears to have been a personal escort or bodyguard composed of men who knew the country. Following the unification of Italy in 1870-71, the new national army included a regiment designated as Guides - the 19th Cavalleggieri (Light Horse).
In the Belgian Army the two Guides regiments, created respectively in 1833 and 1874, constituted part of the light cavalry and came to correspond to the Guard cavalry of other nations. Until the outbreak of World War I, they wore a distinctive uniform comprising a plumed busby, green dolman braided in yellow, and crimson breeches. Mechanised in October 1937, both regiments form armored battalions in the modern Belgian Army. Following a series of amalgamations the Belgian Guides ceased to exist in 2011.
In the Swiss army prior to 1914, the squadrons of Guides acted as divisional cavalry. In this role these light cavalry units were called upon, on occasion, to lead columns and provide scouts.
The Corps of Guides of the British Indian Army consisted of a unique combination of infantry companies and cavalry squadrons. After World War I the infantry element was incorporated in the 12th Frontier Force Regiment and the Guides Cavalry formed a separate regiment - the 10th Queen Victoria's Own Corps of Guides Cavalry (Frontier Force). This unit still exists as the 2nd (Guides) Battalion of the Frontier Force Regiment of the modern Army of Pakistan.
In drill, a "guide" is an officer or non-commissioned officer who regulates the direction and pace of movements.
A psychedelic guide is someone who guides a drug user's experiences as opposed to a sitter who merely remains present, ready to discourage bad trips and handle emergencies but not otherwise getting involved. Guides are more common amongst spiritual users of entheogens. Psychedelic guides were strongly encouraged by Timothy Leary and the other authors of The Psychedelic Experience: A Guide Based on the Tibetan Book of the Dead. Trip sitters are also mentioned in the Responsible Drug User's Oath.