If you rafted with us between 2005 and 2011 you may remember a tall, bearded, imposing, yet gentle figure that graced the camp. Assisted by such blithe spirits as Scotty, Penny, Jose, Randy, Heather, Joe T. and of course, Charlie the River Dog, that figure was Greg Hawkins, the alter ego of Obi Wan Kenobi, and the Master of all that is MaLode!
It is with great pleasure and excitement that we announce that the Master has returned. This puts a smile on the faces of all of us here at the camp, and we are excited to spread the word! Since much time has passed, a brief introduction is in order:
Growing up in Texas with access to outdoor adventure of all kinds, Greg came to appreciate nature’s power and beauty directly through hands-on experiences. This is what led him to pursue a BS in Recreation Administration, followed by experience as Manager of the LeFlore County, Oklahoma, Youth Adventure Program and Ropes Challenge Course.
Facilitation of group process is one of Greg’s true gifts, and having found his passion, Greg then pursued a Masters in Education while managing the Outdoor Recreation Program at Texas State University. Leading and coordinating whitewater rafting and canoe trips, rock climbing, hiking, biking and all manner of outdoor adventure is where Greg is truly in his element.
My first personal encounter with Greg was in the late 1990s when he worked as Manager for an exceptional team of guides that composed the Chili Bar Outdoor Center (CBOC). At six foot two, he literally stood out, and it was clear everyone felt a presence that made him special, on and off the river. When MaLode and CBOC joined in the year 2000, Greg did not come with the deal. Rather, like the Jedi he is, he took his time to check us out before finally joining us as our General Manager. Once on board, however, he went all in! He was essential to the transformation of Mother Lode River Trips, a conservation advocating whitewater rafting company and saver of rivers, into the Mother Lode River Center of today with the addition of the Outdoor School, Challenge Ropes Course and Sustainable Practices Programs. Those were great years, and when Greg answered the pull of greater family responsibilities to manage the recreation facilities owned by El Dorado County’s water district, we missed him greatly.
Now that fate has intervened to enable his return, we at the River Center are prepared to welcome Greg home. In the tradition of guides gone, but not forgotten, let us raise the MaLode cry of gratitude: “thanks for the shoes”! Whatever the challenges ahead, we are excited to meet them, while providing the opportunity for the next generation of Jedi Eco-Warriors to make a difference in the world. Those warriors are needed more than ever, and Greg is calling you home……