Aylan Lee is a guide for ROW Adventures. He is currently pursuing a Masters in Geography at Portland State University. Prior to working on the Rogue, he guided in Washington on a number day trip rivers. If he’s not on a raft, you’ll either find him in a kayak or messing around with bicycles.
What is your connection to the Rogue River?
I am a river guide for ROW Adventures.
How long have you been guiding on the Rogue?
The 2016 river season will be my fourth.
What’s your favorite part of working on the Rogue?
The atmosphere of the place is tremendously special. Watching people encounter it for the first time is always rewarding.
Do you have a favorite spot on the Rogue?
Tucked in an eddy in Mule Creek Canyon, somewhere above the Coffee Pot.
Is there a sense of community for those who work on the Rogue?
Very much so. In general, the guiding community is very supportive. Getting to know the lodge staff and caretakers of the Rogue River Ranch also adds to this sense of community.
Has the Rogue changed who you are?
Probably. It has certainly highlighted to me that, while I want to work in whitewater, it doesn’t need to be gut-wrenchingly hazardous for me to get excited. Overall, the Rogue is about the best work environment I could ask for. I could (potentially) be making more money somewhere else, making longer expeditions, or challenging my whitewater skills, but the Rogue always reminds me to optimize, rather than maximize.
What are the characteristics of the Rogue?
The whitewater can be challenging, but forgiving. The scenery gets other-worldly. I once had a priest describe it as a very Holy Place. I agree, although not in a strictly dogmatic sense.
Anything else you’d like to share?
The more time I spend on the Rogue, the more I care about it and the better it gets.