Meet Chad Tucker
This spring, we’re featuring Chad Tucker–a solid AzRA guide who plans to be here for the long-haul! As you’ll read below, he started at AzRA a little later in his career after going on a trip with his dad, Randy Tucker. And now, we have three Tuckers guiding for AzRA, as Colter Tucker, Randy’s nephew, Chad’s cousin, guides for us too. There are a lot of Tuckers around here, and we wouldn’t have it any other way! Read below for some more information on Chad!
Where were you born? Tell us a little about yourself!
I was born in bountiful Utah. Went to junior high, high school and college down here in Flagstaff. After that, I moved around to all over the country chasing the ever corporate dream and realized that the dream was actually a nightmare. I really missed not being able to get out into the wilderness and enjoy nature and needed to find a way to get back to the area that I grew up in.
What’s your history with AzRA?
I started doing assistant spots with my dad, Randy, and realized that this is the career that I wanted to change to. So I asked Fred (one of AzRA’s owners) if I could use him as a reference and apply to some of the other outfitters and he asked me why don’t I work for AzRA? I told him I didn’t want to ride Randy’s coattails and he told me that if I get my certs, he would put me on the schedule, and here we are.
When did you start guiding (this could be anywhere other than Grand Canyon & then tell your story about how you ended up guiding in GC)?
I was hired in 2010 and was given two trips, one swamper (helper on motor trips) and one rowing. I realized I didn’t have enough rowing experience so I contacted Holiday River Expeditions in Green River, Utah and asked if they needed any extra help with guides that year. They were gracious enough to give me a job, and I learned how to roll a boat. Needless to say, I was still terrified on my first rowing trip as a baggage boat in the Grand Canyon. I’m really glad Ed did not see me throw up before I entered into Hance rapid.
What types of trips do you guide?
The trips I guide in the Grand Canyon are rowing trips, dory trips, and motor trips.
What are your favorite rapids and hikes?
Well, who can argue with Hermit Rapid. Upset is always fun and probably the most underrated rapid in the Grand Canyon. I really enjoy Tiger Wash. My favorite hikes are the ones we don’t get to do too often like Surprise Valley up and over, the diving board at 50 mile, and when I trip lead, I always try to find a new hike that I have not been on. I asked for a lot of information from some of the more seasoned guides to try to find those hikes out.
Any other interesting facts about yourself you would like guests to know?
We recently just got two Rhodesian Ridgeback puppies, and they are a handful, but love spending time with them and Tracy out on hikes. I did an upper private trip with my dad in 2007, 2 days into it, I said, “this is what you do for a living?” This was the first time I’d been down the river and instantly, I was hooked.
What do you do when not guiding at AzRA in the off-season?
During the winter I’m a ski instructor up at the Snowbowl here in Flagstaff, and that’s just as rewarding as seeing the smiles on the customer’s face is down in the Grand Canyon.
Do you have hobbies, or things you like to do?
I love to ski in the winter, do a lot of hiking with my wife, Tracy, both summer and winter, and we just took up mountain biking so we’re getting into that now.
What do you love about the Canyon and guiding?
Just listening to the comments and seeing the expression on our guest faces when they’re in the canyon for the first time. They’re just in awe and every time I go down the Grand Canyon I’m in awe as well. Even the short time that I’ve been guiding, the Grand Canyon changes at the river level all the time and it’s just impressive to see how mother nature works.
Any advice you would give guests that are planning a trip with us?
Quick dry shirts should only be worn in April and October. The rest of the year bring cotton shirts so you can stay cool.
Chad led my 2022 trip and Tracy was an assistant. This was my eleventh trip but so many new things. I have never seen so many fossils and many of them at places I had stopped or stayed before. Historical sites, cache of oars and tools from early 1900’’s Kolb Brothers movie, pieces of the two planes that crashed and resulted in the formation of the FAA and a whole area near Elves Chasm with inscriptions and dates. This was just a few of the new experiences and when my daughter asks why I keep going back it is because every trip has been different. She’s coming with me this year for my trip 12 and her 3rd but first full canyon.
Thank you for sharing, David! I’m so glad that Chad was able to take you to so many new places. There are so many opportunities to see something new down there–we just have to lead you to them! Glad we could. 🙂