Adam Rowland

Before my trip with Team River Runner, I was honestly contemplating suicide. Time and time again, I’ve told myself “you’re too strong for that”, “that will not be your fate”, but as we all know depression and divorce have a funny way of making the strongest man feel alone and abandoned. Couple that with my blindness, and I once again felt like a prisoner in my own home.
Knowing my fellow blind veterans look to me for inspiration was the only thing that gave me the strength to call for help.  It was the best thing I could’ve done, within three days of asking for help, my brothers, Daniel Wallace and Lonnie Bedwell had me scheduled for my first kayaking trip with Team River Runner for the 2016 Montana OuttaSight Clinic!
I made it through the days leading up to the trip, and it wasn’t until my four-hour layover in Salt Lake City that I began to have some anxiety about how I would be able to kayak through whitewater and rapids. Stepping off the plane in Bozeman, Montana was the first time I met Chris Price, not knowing he would change my life and I would forever be tied to him. The next day, I was told Chris would be my guide over the next week helping me practice my roll technique, bow rescues, and he would be the beacon I use to navigate the river, always calling out to me so I had a point of reference and telling me how to place my kayak for the upcoming Rapids.
It was the third day that the magic started to happen, finding out we were born on the exact same day, same month, and same year might have been the craziest thing had Chris not seen a duck trapped in some fisherman’s line on the bank where it had wrapped the line around the branch. Unsure of what it was, he said “let me check this out real quick”, once he realized what it was he asked me “do you want to go try and save this ducks life”, my answer was “Hell Yes!” We beached the kayaks on the bank of the river and he guided me over towards the duck, on a funny note he asked if I wanted to get the duck when I said yes, he said it has a hook in its tongue and flipped out his pocket knife and went to hand it to me. I told him “bro, a blind guy with a knife and a thrashing duck is not a good combination!” I said I’ll get the duck you can work the knife and remove the hook! After that moment I realized if I had taken my own life, I would not have been there to help save another.
After the duck, only one major hurdle stood in our way, Yankee Jim Canyon!
Only having two days to conquer this section of rapids I walked away from the first day feeling a little defeated as I was flipped twice by the rapids, but as crazy as it was being blind and upside down in rapids, I was never alone Chris showed me he would do whatever it took to save me!
Which set the stage for day two of Yankee Jim Canyon, but something was different, knowing Chris had my back and it was the last day I had to beat not only the butterflies in my stomach but the rapids as well.
It seemed as if we were able to play and enjoy the river that last day purposely rolling upside down and waiting for each other to come to the rescue. Knowing we had each one another’s 6, all that anxiety was gone. Needless to say Yankee Jim Canyon lost that day with zero rollovers in the Whitewater!
I will always remember the Montana Outtasight Clinic trip and my brother Chris Price!
Adam Rowland
US Army
E-4, Specialist

Vanessa Jones

Committe Co-Chair

Vanessa A. Jones is a dynamic force dedicated to fostering
inclusivity, encouraging discussion, and promoting a culture of
belonging in the outdoor sports community. Hailing from
Washington, DC, she brings a wealth of diverse experiences and
perspectives to her endeavors.
As a US Army veteran and ordained Chaplain with a focus on
seniors and caretakers, Vanessa is deeply committed to serving
others. Her work as a patient-caretaker advocate reflects her
passion for supporting vulnerable populations and ensuring their
voices are heard.
Currently, Vanessa is employed by a resettlement agency, where
she confronts challenges head-on with resilience and
compassion. As a single, Black woman veteran, she embraces
the unique hurdles she faces, viewing them as opportunities for
growth and empowerment.
In her downtime, she wears many hats, including that of a
missionary, spreading hope and positivity wherever she goes.
Weekends are spent paddling, immersing herself in West African
dance and finding solace and joy in nature’s embrace.
Vanessa is committed to equitable principles, ensuring that
everyone’s opinions are valued and heard. Through her
unwavering dedication and inclusive leadership, Vanessa is
paving the way for a more equitable and diverse outdoor sports
landscape.