Steve Markle

Professional Outdoor Guides & Adventure Experts
Nickname

Sparkle

Where did you grow up?

Wheaton, Illinois

Where do you call home now?

Hathaway Pines, California

Year started at OARS?

2002

What’s the best part of your job?

Sharing the restorative power of nature with our travelers and working for a family-owned company that truly cares about their employees, our guests and the environment.

Tell us about your favorite rapid, hike or camp and what makes it special

In 2014 I finally got to do the hike up Tapeats Creek in the Grand Canyon to Thunder River, through Surprise Valley and down through the Throne Room and the Deer Creek Narrows. It’s a challenging full-day hike from the river and the only other way to get there is on a multi-day backpacking trip so there’s virtually nobody else out there.  Every stop along the way offers otherworldly views of waterfalls, yawing valleys and narrow gorges. To me, the Surprise Valley hike is what our trips are all about—accessing the absolute best of Mother Nature in the company of friends and loved ones, but without the crowds.

Do you have a lucky charm or special river tradition?

I picked up a Nyami Nyami (Zambezi River God) necklace a few years ago and I think it makes my fear of big scary whitewater a little less crippling…it’s a healthy fear.

What can you not live without on a trip?

Bomber rain gear.