Mathilda – River Guide

Posted August 30, 2023 by Reily Schultz

Name: Mathilda
Hometown: San Diego, CA
Guiding Since: 2021

If you ask any avid rafter, they’ll likely be able to tell you which river, and often which trip, solidified their love of rafting and rivers. For Mathilda, it was a 3-Day rafting trip on the Tuolumne with All-Outdoors when she was 16. It only took one trip for her to be sold on whitewater rafting, but it would be a few years until she joined the AO family as a guide.

Mathilda on the beach

Trading Research for Rivers

It didn’t take Mathilda long to realize that something was missing from her life as she worked a corporate job after graduating from UC Berkeley. Even though her work was meaningful and important, she often caught herself wondering – where was the excitement? The adventure? The fun? She wanted something that would get her outside, offer new challenges, and more freedom. Thankfully, she thought back to her experience on the Tuolumne River, and her father’s stories about being a raft guide for All-Outdoors. After years of being a student and working in public health and tech, Mathilda stepped away from the corporate world in favor of sunscreen, PFD’s, and rafting. At this point in her life, she quickly realized that this kind of work was a better fit for her than working indoors on a computer every day. Such a dramatic lifestyle switch was fully supported by her family, having faith that no matter what Mathilda does, she will always land on her feet.

Rafting with Mathilda
Mathilda and her dad eager to raft Cherry Creek; Mathilda guiding on the South Fork

Mathilda carried all of her “real world” experience into her work as a raft guide. Her background in marketing, research, and public health makes it easier for her to talk to and educate guests, catch small details, and ask good questions to guests and senior guides. Her knowledge of social justice and environmental science has given her a wealth of knowledge to share with her daily guests. 

Even though many skills translate from one world to another, she is endlessly appreciative of the skills that guiding has taught her and helped her develop in different ways than her corporate job. Guiding has given Mathilda new perspectives on, and helped her hone how to be an effective communicator, how to be a leader, how to make split-second decisions, and how to quickly solve complex problems with confidence.

Humbled and Inspired

One of Mathilda’s favorite things about being a raft guide is the potential for growth – both in herself and in the guests she paddles with every day. She loves the challenge of guiding, and that there will always be more to learn. This work has been both humbling and inspiring for her, reinforcing the lesson that “you have to suck at something before you can be good at it.” She enjoys the controlled chaos of rafting a river for the first time, and the new opportunities that are offered to her as her skills develop. Mathilda encourages personal growth on every trip she guides – making sure guests are learning about rafting, camping, the waters they are exploring, and taking time to connect with each other. At the end of a trip, everyone in Mathilda’s boat leaves with a new appreciation for both rivers and each other. 

Mathilda on the South Fork American

This focus on growth and community is part of why Mathilda loves All-Outdoors, as well. Her excitement is palpable as she talks about the joy of working with a company that does things for the love of rafting, and the love of rivers. She has engaged with the community she has found within and surrounding AO; volunteering at events for Friends of the River, and guided on impactful trips with Veteran’s Path, Homeboys Industries, and the Anti-Recidivism Coalition on the Middle Fork American River.

From North to South

One of the perks of being a raft guide is having the opportunity to take winters off, or accept another seasonal job over the winter. Mathilda has taken full advantage of this, and has been able to chase summers and experience winter in those few short months! One of Mathilda’s first loves is surfing – it’s something she will always jump at the chance to do. She hopes to continue to chase waves through South America, having visited Columbia and Peru in the last few years to surf and soak up the culture. If and when she gets tired of an endless summer, Mathilda heads up to Nova Scotia to visit the Canadian side of her family. Her time spent at her family’s cabin played a big role in Mathilda’s love of nature and outdoor sports. 

Mathilda's Adventures

Mathilda is a pro at engaging the guests in her boat. Her inquisitive nature and huge smile can get anyone talking! If you want to turn the tables on her, ask her why she sometimes rafts wearing Converse, why she was allowed to play with fire as a kid, or about her ultimate frisbee team.

Words to Live By: “Embrace the suck”

Author Bio

Reily Schultz

Reily is a Gold Country native. She graduated from Willamette University with a degree in Studio Art and a minor in Gender Studies and Psychology. She joined the All-Outdoors family in the spring of 2022, working as a California Rafting Consultant and a member of the marketing team. Her favorite All-Outdoors itinerary is the multi-day Tuolumne rafting trip. Reily is an avid artist, outdoors-woman, and purr-fessional cat snuggler.


Back to Top

Email Newsletter

Get season updates, latest rafting videos & blogs, plus enter to Win a Free Trip for Two! Learn more

Manage My Reservation