Reese – River Guide

Posted February 24, 2023 by Reily Schultz

Name: Reese
Hometown: Napa Valley, CA
Guiding Since: 2017

What do a Napa Valley winery, a mountain side in Colorado, and the Middle Fork American have in common? They have all been called home by an awesome river guide named Reese!

Reese in Napa

Skill and enthusiasm

Growing up, Reese struggled with the same sense of indecision many of us face when it comes to what we want and where we want life to go. Some people search for years to find the right fit. Reese’s perfect fit found her. It only took 4-5 river rafting trips for her to be informed that she had ’what it takes’ to be a guide. A former All-Outdoors guide recognized Reese’s skill and enthusiasm and encouraged her to attend AO’s guide school. The unexpected whole-hearted support from a newly acquainted All-Outdoors guide was a big factor in Reese’s next steps into the rafting community. She eagerly credits the guide staff at AO for her continued enthusiasm for the job and river.

After falling in love with the river for a season, Reese wasn’t quite convinced that the universe had led her down the right path. Maybe she was meant to be a line cook, cheesemonger, floral designer, winery concierge, or a personal assistant? She spent a few years focusing on these other aspects of her life before realizing that she was fighting an unnecessary battle to find a new direction in life. She realized that there was nothing stopping her from doing exactly what she wanted; guiding guests down a river every day.

On the right path

The universe continues to show Reese that she is on the right track. Since her return to the river, Reese has been given many opportunities to take on more responsibilities, all of which she has accepted head on.

Before her experience as a guide she would never have put herself in leadership roles. She learned quickly just how good she is at staying calm under pressure, making sound decisions, and managing other guides and guests. Her decision to come back to the river has led her to discover even more things that she is passionate about.

Winner – The Cookie Challenge

Reese had been skiing for years and headed to Colorado in the off season. She had never really considered being a ski instructor, but she followed her passion and the universe provided. Reese got to use her 2022 off-season to improve her own skiing skills, as well as those of the children she instructed in the “Happy Camp” ski course. She knows first hand that exposing children to outdoor recreation when they are young can make a big difference in their confidence and sense of safety outdoors, and approaches every rafting trip with the same mentality.

Chunder rapid – Middle Fork American

Making space to play

Reese’s focus while on the water is always to make sure all of her guests enjoy their day. She says that seeing adults get to forget about technology and their responsibilities and have the freedom to play is her favorite part of any rafting trip. Reese reminds all of her guests that they are here to not only have an epic day of whitewater, but to experience the river and engage in the process of a rafting trip. Her reassuring presence makes it easy for guests to let down their guard and join her in soaking up all that the river canyon has to offer.

Her love of the river might only be surpassed by her love of food and cooking. In a family of artists, Reese considers food her favorite medium. It is easy to see how passionate Reese is about food. Her face lights up when she talks about flavor profiles and details the collection of recipes she has invented on her own. If you join us on a Middle Fork American overnight trip, keep your fingers crossed that Reese will be running the camp kitchen and adding her favorite pop of flavor to each recipe. 

Reese is particularly gifted at seeing the strength in every body. Everyone brings something different to the table and, just like in one of her recipes, Reese is talented at finding the right place for each skill to thrive and create the result she wants.

If you find yourself in Reese’s boat feel free to ask her about her favorite cheese, Tuesday night dancing at the hot springs, or her river-worn accordion.

Words to live by: There is nothing stopping you from doing exactly what you want to do.

Ski-cuterie board by Reese
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.


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