Beautiful Determination

“In 1983, I went on a commercial rafting trip in the Grand Canyon. Between Crystal [Rapid] and Lava [Falls Rapid] (two huge rapids), there was a fast moving but flat stretch of the river. I asked the guide if I could row. He said, ‘Sure.’ I slipped into his seat and took up the oars. My job was to stay in the current and out of the eddies. I still managed to slip into a big one. It took two tries to get back in the current by working smarter not harder. The guide never commented. I loved it. On the bus ride out, I found myself sitting next to the owner. I asked, ‘What would it take to be a guide for you?’ He replied, ‘Go back to your own area, learn how to guide, then give me a call in two years.’ I was a 37-year-old woman with two teenagers, but that spring, I was the first to sign up with ZigZag, a local company. Two years later, I walked into his office, spread my arms out and said, ‘Here I am.’ He laughed and asked, ‘Who are you?’ That’s how I became a Grand Canyon river guide at the age of 40.”

— Carol Zada

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