Skye – River GuidePosted July 17, 2023 by Reily Schultz
Hometown: Healdsburg, CA
Guiding Since: 2017
Have you ever met someone who seems like a perfect fit for their job; Beyond being good at what they do, their personality lending itself effortlessly to their craft? If you haven’t, then you haven’t met Skye.
Skye has been a part of the whitewater community since she was a child. Her father was a renowned river guide and he was eager to share his passion with his young daughter. By the time she was a teenager, Skye knew the South Fork of the American River like an old friend. Inspired by family and local friends, she signed up for AO’s guide school in 2017.
Something she may not have known when she signed up was that she was entering this training in a record-breaking high water year! Such a challenge deterred a handful of hopeful students, but not Skye. She faced the adventure head on and rapidly built up her skills and confidence.
Challenges, Rewards, and Appreciation
Skye is one of our core guides on the Tuolumne River. During the summer, the shores of the Tuolumne are home to Skye more so than her house back in Lotus. She loves to facilitate guests exploring a place they have never seen before. Seeing people get excited about the awe-inspiring place she calls home is one of Skye’s favorite things. Going on a rafting trip means breaking away from routine and intentionally putting yourself in situations that may be challenging, exciting, and rewarding. Skye understands the importance of this escape, and does everything she can to help guests find and enjoy a sense of freedom and play in this new environment. Multi-day trips and camp life are Skye’s favorite parts of summer trips. Not to be overshadowed, Cherry Creek creeps up as a close second. While Skye isn’t interested in commercially guiding the upper Class V section of the Tuolumne (yet), she has immense respect for the Class IV run. Having a challenge to reach for prevents her from feeling stagnant, and gives her room to learn and grow.
Whitewater has become a huge part of Skye’s identity. She is good at what she does and she knows it. This confidence comes with no inflated ego, and was hard earned and bolstered by a company that could see her strengths even before she could. AO offered, and continues to offer, Skye opportunities that she would not go after on her own. She has learned how successful she can be at overcoming challenges, both on and off the water. Finding a path that feels so natural but is still difficult has made Skye an even better guide. She understands the anxiety guests can have about rafting, the uncertainty they feel at the start of a trip, and knows how to help them overcome it. Guiding has taught her resilience, how to trust her own abilities, and allowed her a deeper appreciation for the variety of people and their lifestyles.
Her personality shines off the water, too. Skye has a knack for just about everything she tries, and she likes to try everything. She has dabbled in construction as she builds her own home, volunteered on farms in both Hawaii and Chile, learned to knit sweaters, play the cello, and is an avid artist.
Chilly Winter, or Chile Winter?
In true river guide fashion, Skye regularly chases summer when the California rafting season ends. Seasonal work lends itself to working outdoors, which has been a perfect fit for Skye. She heads South to Chile to spend her winters kayaking and guiding rafts down the Futaleufu River. After the record-setting high water 2023 season, Skye looks forward to working for a gap semester program in Chile that focuses on outdoor experiences and cultural exchange! A summer spent immersed in another culture is the perfect way for Skye to unwind from daily whitewater. Her love of travel keeps her moving, but also keeps her coming back to the flexibility and community of All-Outdoors. Not every job will let you leave for six months and still welcome you back like family when you return.
There is always a sense of peace when you raft with Skye. Even in the thick of a rapid her presence as a guide helps guests stay calm and listen for her paddling commands. If you’re looking for some good stories, ask Skye about the best belly flops she has seen, the book club she hopes to start, or her favorite animals to see while rafting.
Words to Live by: “Skye’s the limit!”