Biography by Ote Dale
How Coyote got her name
I remember this so well, on one of my very early river trips back in 1972-73? I was privileged to be one of three guides on a very special family river trip on the Green River in Desolation canyon. This trip not only changed my life, but my nameÌÐ.againÌÐ..
My mother and father named me Sue. My mom told me she saw a cute little blond girl on her own honeymoon that was named Sue. I am blond and I suppose I was pretty cute. I was the third child of four. The name Sue however never stuckÌÐ..it morphed many times; Suzy, Suzy Q and mostly TescherÌÐ.from my last name. Once in college I was also coined Suzy CrÌÜme CheeseÌÐ.and other things; for a very short time a boyfriend nicknamed me Suzy Wolf, shortly after this he started calling me Paat pattÌÐ.which I never understood and still don't. But it was endearing. I still to this day do not understand this process that occurred with my name. But I will say that when the Coyote happened, well it finally felt like me! Coyote by the way is a trickster, in a creation story and a changer of things. I don't know that I am really any of that but I do feel right with my Ote name.
On that 1973 river trip, my first as a paid guide, I read to the trip guests a Navajo creation legend. In the story there are two main characters or Gods; Begochiddy the Great God, and Coyote the trickster. Coyote fiddled around with creation a lotÌÐas far as I have read. Anyhow, the people on this river trip, right then and there, decided that we guides were these gods. Okay? So they called the leader of our trip, from then on, Begochiddy soon to be shorten to Bego and they honored me with CoyoteÌÐ..soon to be shortened to Ote or OteyÌÐ.this wonderful name has stuckÌÐ.forever. At this time of my telling the year is 2012 and I am 64 years old.
The rest of my story:
I am a farmer by birth, a river guide by choice and passion, not a great college student, an (attempting to be) artist, and outdoor adventurist, I am married to Regan Dale and we have two children. I also practice and instruct Yoga in the small town of Kanab, Utah, where Regan and I have retired after 21 years of management for O.A.R.S/Grand Canyon Dories. We have not yet retired from guiding and rowing our dories.
I was born in Salt Lake City Utah on a snowy day in November 1947. I was baptized, at birth, into the Mormon faith. In my own mind however, I stopped believing the teachings around the age of 16. This did not seem to disturb my father or motherÌÐthat is another story.
My Father Arden B. Tesch was a dirt farmer, in other words we grew crops not animals. We grew mostly sugar beets for sugar, and other crops such as alfalfa and corn; both for feeding animals. As far as I remember my dad only used manure for fertilizer, so I suppose back then he was an organic farmer! My father married my mother Norma Thomas (Tommie) during the depression in 1942, they were seriously in love and remarried so, I say this because I was witness to their endearing love for each other, day after day. My mom was an exceptional dedicated mother. She took care of the four kids and her hubby with the cleanliness of a hired maid. She cooked, cleaned and helped us kids learn to be good and to be hard workers. This established a work ethic that I have to this day.
My father gave me a special gift of strength and belief in myself not only as a worker but even more as a women worker. Even though he has passed away I still think of him each day. He taught me with loving kindness to work hard and appreciate life. I loved working in the fields, driving the farm equipment and changing water. Daddy told me one time that I was as hard a worker as any man and to never allow someone to tell me I couldn't do something just because I was a woman. I wanted to be a farmer. But I realized that my younger brother was probably going to be the next Tesch farmer so in 1966 I decided to give college a try. I did take with me my father's words that I could do anything even if it was considered a 'man's job'.
I attended Utah State University, and because I was so conflicted with my religious belief I chose my major as Philosophy. In so doing, I lost all my desire for any established religion. Today if anything I would consider myself spiritual in that I praise and love the earth. I did not excel in school and went from one study to another for almost three years.
Another two years were spent traveling to Canada, and spending whole summers climbing the mountains around Jasper and Banff. This was a very magical time, very free, very physically fit.
In 1971 I was invited on a one boat private trip in the Grand Canyon. This trip changed my life forever. I struggled after this trip to become a river guide on the Colorado river, it was my fathers words that helped me stay the course and realize how unacceptable it was for most of the men guides and owners of river companies to say to me 'oh this job isn't for women, it's a man's world'. Or 'Women aren't strong enough to row boats and run rapids'. The way I did finally get a job was to work really hard and ÌÇfree' doing warehouse work, driving, packing food or swamping for boatmen that drove the motor boats in Grand Canyon.
Finally in 1974 Clair Quest with Moki Mac Expeditions gave me my first paid guide spot rowing a ten man war surplus rubber boat. However, the only reason he even considered me was because it was launch day and he needed a boatman. The other male guides convinced him at that time to let me have a try. It turned out well for me and I think I may be one of the first women to have ÌÇrowed' a commercial river trip. I ended up working for three different companies before finally getting the job I truly desiredÌÐin 1976, not as a boatman, but as ÌÇthe cook' with Grand Canyon Dories. I rowed a rubber baggage raft. I loved every minute of it and was determined to be the first woman to row a dory.
Love, rightfully so, interfered with my dream, in 1978, I married James Regan Dale who was one of Martin Litton's dory boatmen. He was and still is the love of my life. We had our son Duffy Dale in 1979. Duffy now rows the dories and builds and rebuilds them for O.A.R.S in Flagstaff AZ. Both Duffy, his wife Kerstin and our daughter Alissa as well row dories in Grand Canyon.
I only did a few river trips in the 80's and most of these were as the cook. I did row one dory boat through the canyon in 1984 on the high water. In 1981, we had our second child, my beautiful daughter Alissa Verbena Dale. Alissa went to College on a big fat scholarship to the University of Arizona, Her scholarship was the first to be given to a dancer. She graduated with honors in The Arts and went on to dance professionally for the Nevada ballet. This also is another story.
A big surprise came my way in 1988: the Grand Canyon Dories were bought by O.A.R.S.
The manager at the time called and asked me if I would like to row a dory! Now, you must realize that now I was nearing my 40th birthday and my dream has finally come true.
Of course I did have mixed feelings about it. But, I went and that has become my career and passion ever since. By now I have likely rowed the canyon in the dory boat at least 80 times, maybe more. I love the work, I love the people that I meet and I continue to learn from those that I guide through the canyon. I truly believe it is a privilege to guide, rowing a dory, through the most amazing Grand Canyon.
That's it, but this is shortÌÐ..so many stories to tell.