Rowan – River GuidePosted May 30, 2023 by Reily Schultz
Name: Rowan (Row)
Hometown: Salt Lake City, Utah
Guiding Since: 2016
Finding a sense of belonging among strangers can be a rare thing. Not everyone has the right personality or skill set to encourage strangers to bond and treat each other like family. But Rowan does.
Rowan is always excited to get on the water. Whether it’s his first day on the water of the season or his 100th, he will be in the back of his boat welcoming his guests to the family with sincere enthusiasm. He thrives in this ever changing environment- every day is different, every day you get to meet new people! Rowan’s outgoing energy makes it easy for guests to let their true colors shine. He says that in his experience, this kind of freedom is unique to All-Outdoors. AO gives both guests and guides the space to be themselves. Even on days where it feels like everything goes wrong, Rowan is ready to make you laugh and forget all about the chaos.
Little T, Big T
Rowan understands the value of getting kids outside while they are young. During the off-season he works as a ski coach, working with the same group of kids from when they are 12 to 18 years old. He loves being able to watch them grow up and watch their skills improve every year. When Rowan first started working for All-Outdoors he ran a lot of the Tom Sawyer float trips, which are geared towards kids as young as 5 years old. Every trip was fun-filled and ended with a smile and reflections on the core memories he instilled in a new group of kids. You probably won’t find him on the “Little T” anymore, but you may still find him sporting some blackberry face paint as he paddles down the river.
Nowadays you are more likely to catch Rowan rowin’ down the “Big T” (Tuolumne River) or helping train AO’s latest batch of fresh faced river guides. His emphasis on the community trust aspect of the AO guide staff lends itself well to this kind of training. Rowan has learned many times the importance of watching out for your fellow guides and guests. Trust, respect, and having each other’s back are crucial skills for any raft guide both on and off the water.
All-Outdoors has been the catalyst for a lot of personal growth for Rowan. Being ‘checked-off’ as a raft guide means being given an opportunity for leadership and control in your boat. This can easily get to your head when you are 17 years old. Egos need to be left behind as novice raft guides require help from more senior guides who have no patience for a big head. Rowan quickly learned the importance of respecting and listening to your elders, and that sometimes you just need to “shut up and listen.”
Duality of a raft guide
His work ethic these days is unmatched. Rowan has taken on several roles at All-Outdoors over the years, including South Fork manager, Middle Fork American crew, Tuolumne crew, and guide school instructor. He continues to pass along the lessons he learned as a first-year guide, encouraging folks to learn from the experience of others and to have each other’s back. Off the water, his work ethic is just as strong. In 2022 Rowan co-founded an art transportation company that receives, transports, and installs art all over the West Coast. He and his business partner built their company from the ground up, relying on their honest hard work and communication skills to get themselves started. They saw a need and jumped to fill it, just like Rowan does at All-Outdoors.
Rowan speaks about rafting with such genuine enthusiasm it’s hard not to get swept away. If you do find yourself carried away in his tales or by the current he’ll be there with a smile, ready to help you out.
If you have a quiet moment on a trip with Rowan (unlikely), ask him about the most disappointing margarita he’s had, why he doesn’t wear chums with his sunglasses on the river, or challenge him to a game of cornhole (but only if you feel like losing).
Words to Live By: “Shut up, Rowan.”