Meet Margeaux Bestard
Photo by Taylor Miller
If you’ve ever been on the river with Margeaux, you know how enthusiastic she is about the river! And it’s absolutely contagious! She cares about the river, Grand Canyon, her river trip guests, AzRA, and her fellow guides. She’s also a member of our Respect and Inclusion Task Force here at AzRA, so she cares about making Grand Canyon a more inclusive experience for all. Read all about her here!
Where were you born? Tell us a little about yourself!
I was born in Pomona, California. Goddess of Fruits. I grew up in Claremont a small college town 35miles east of Los Angeles. My father was born in Paraguay and my Mother was raised with 10 other children in the high desert of Lancaster. I have and older sister in NY, brother in SD, and half younger sister in California. We had the opportunity to travel quite a bit as a child, often to Lake Powell and Lake Tahoe. We adventured on bikes, hiking around, playing water sports and skiing. I always felt so grateful to have access to so many different environments; ocean, desert, and mountains.
What’s your history with AzRA?
I was assistant on a GCE trip and ran into Brad Dimock at Black Tail Canyon, I had met him at the GTS that spring and was always shaking hands to meet folks that might be interested in a young ambitious assistant. He left me a note in mailbox at Deer Creek asking to be an assistant on an August motor trip. I got off the river, contacted AZRA and accepted. Brad end up not being on that trip, he was hospitalized for mrsa that year. It turned out to be a single boat with Ed Hasse and Dennis Smoldt. I hiked into a rowing trip later that October for Dave Edwards. It got me enough on the radar that I was put on the schedule the following year for a training trip and swamping spots. I rowed my first boat for AZRA in 2013.
When did you start guiding? This could be anywhere other than Grand Canyon & how you then ended up guiding in Grand Canyon.
I’d say I started from the bottom and now, I am here. I took my first river trip in Feb 2010 with the long-time guide from AZRA Dave Edwards. It was an artist trip that focused on “Chasing the Light” of winter. I fell in love hard and fast. I decided I would trade my city building canyons for sandstone and limestone walls. John Running and Dave helped me pull together some references and I walked around to outfitters with my availability and enthusiasm. Often I cold called river companies for assistant spots. I took trips wherever I could to gain experience. I did hike exchanges for multiple companies to gain interp knowledge and familiarize myself with the place. I gained more skills working for Grand Canyon Youth on the San Juan and running Diamond Down trips in GC. All I knew is that I wanted to be in Grand Canyon, I never thought I’d be rowing boats, driving motor rigs or Trip Leading. I worked for science studying fish in the canyon as well, which got me in the canyon year-round for lengthy periods of time. It’s a magical place that has me captivated.
What types of trips do you guide?
I run paddle boats, rafts and motorboats.
What are your favorite rapids and hikes? Why?
Thunder River over into Surprise Valley is a highlight. The flowers are always popping up there and a waterfall in the desert is always a shockingly gorgeous scene Whisper Spring up Kanab, Stone Creeks magic up and around through and through or just a day on that beach. The Nankoweep drainage has the sweeping view of the north rim which is great perspective. Tough ask though. It is all so beautiful and special.
Any other interesting facts about yourself you would like guests to know?
Photography is my passion and Grand Canyon has been a muse to my lens. I am not a landscape photographer, but a portrait photographer. I love seeing people in their element. I enjoy focusing on finding the intimate details of nature. Flowers, bugs, seeds, odd n ends.
What do you do when not guiding at AzRA in the off-season?
I spend time creating art, hiking and boating through nature. Family is also important to me. With my family growing in the recent years they have become more of a priority and presence in my life. My dog Marfa is often in tow for adventures.
Do you have hobbies, or things you like to do?
I love cooking and baking. Nothing too complicated, but something that can bring people together for a meal.
What do you love about the Canyon and guiding?
The canyons magic never fades or grows old or tired. I am always in awe of what she is showing me. The spells she casts on me and the people she carries downstream. There is always something new to discover and the place can transformative. I have met lifetime friendships and chosen family down there. Grand Canyon is humbling and sparkly with all her harshness and beauty. It is so rare we can disconnect from technology. There are so many dings and lists distracting us from meeting our basic needs of just living through each day with an open heart. Grand Canyon lends the opportunity to experience quiet and deep connection with nature and sometimes new friends.
Any advice you would give guests that are planning a trip with us?
Take the risk of letting go. Bring a notebook and pen, write down a few words each day. It’s only the first time the one time.