|Birth name||Michelle Rawson|
Michelle Rawson has worked for Canyon Tours for a number of years. Her nickname was the The Alien. because, as one boatman had put it, “She’s a little spacey, if not downright weird. And besides, her parents are from Roswell.” INTA1
Michelle started as a swamper in 1989 at the age of 15 and became a boatman on her 18th birthday. After Louise Buck died in 1999, Michelle tried to help out in the office since she knew how to run the computer and where the checkbook was, but she wasn't a bookkeeper and it was easier to take new reservations ahead of the waiting list. It was Michelle that took the reservations for Randy Clark and Karin Chladek, mispelling Karin's last name S-L-A-D-E-K despite writing Crystal's paycheck.DW72 The arrangement was only temporary and by October 1999 she warned Al Buck to get her back on the river or she'd quit and run a motor rig with GCR.
Michelle has a fierce bubblegum habit and looks exceptionally young. Although 25 at the time, she looked like "a young blonde who could barely have been out of high school" DW66 Elsewhere it was mentioned that her blonde hair was worn long. Crystal Chladek described her as as "strong as a mule, a black belt that can whip my ass, can drink any other two boatmen on the river combined under the table, and happens to be the next senior boatman in the company to Al himself".AT16 She could be a trip leader but doesn't want to be as between her looks and the gum, she would have a difficult time as an authority figure. Later she admits it rubs against her slightly submissive personality.PE25
In 2001, Al selected her to run the recording raft for Myleigh Harris despite her image and projected demeanor. Trey Hartwell thought she looked about 17, about 10 years younger than she really was. She worked with Myleigh and Trey in setting up the equipment and even made some suggestions for experiments, such as recording in the raft on easy stretches.BB25
By the 2001-2002 off-season, Michelle has seen the other women pair up and marry and gives her solo situation a more serious review. She decides to spend time with Duane MacRae at his winter job preparing dog teams for the Iditarod in Spearfish Lake. Their romance is covered in Pulling Even. When Al wants her to be a team leader, he is unsurprised to find her resistance continues. His alternative is met with smiles as she agrees to be the Assistant Team Leader for Duane.PE25
Michelle's parents are Pat and Rachel Rawson, both were Canyon Tours boatmen, but by 1999 they were running a gift shop on the south rim of the Grand Canyon. Pat and Rachel's off-Canyon home is in Roswell, NM.PE25
Michelle's older brother Mike is a police officer in the Phoenix area and helped Crystal Chladek track down her brother Jon in 1999, as he was estranged from the rest of the family.AT15 Mike is married to Alana and they have two children.
As Canyon Tours is seasonal, many of the employees get together during their winter off. Michelle sailed around Florida and the Bahamas with Crystal and Scooter in the winter of 1998-1999. The trio added surfing the next winter. The 2001-2002 sailing trip was repeatedly modified after Crystal and Scooter got married and Randy Clark was the only other single on the trip. During this sailing trip Randy Clark suggested The Alien nickname, which stuck as everyone on the trip used it. PE33
In June 2004 Michelle became the turnaround supervisorDBR34 when she was pregnant and had to stay off the river because she had a moderate risk of miscarriage.INTA16 This reduced the work the crews needed to complete on a turnaround weekend, and stopped some problems when there were 2 crews on turnaround the same weekend.