Rhonda Whitsell, known as "Scooter" (her Appalachian Trail name), is a short solidly-built dirty blonde/brunette with a love of the outdoors. She, like Crystal Chladek is a recurring character in many of Wes's books.
Scooter first met Crystal in 1995 at Ocoee Adventures in Ducktown, Tennessee. She had already been a river guide for a few years before Crystal arrived, ten years on eastern rivers all told before she moved on. Like Crystal, had been through OLTA (Outdoor Leadership Training Academy).
Scooter did the Appalachian Trail (AT) in 1993 and starts the AT a second time with Crystal in 1997, but because of bad knees is forced to drop out at the Nantahala Outdoor Center (NOC). She ends up getting a job at NOC. In 1999 Crystal recruits her out of NOC RR1 to join Canyon Tours which needed an experienced rafter. She is the second most experienced boatman after only Al Buck himself. She took over as a crew leader in her second year with the tours and makes herself distinctive by always smoking a cigar when the tourist's bus first arrives.
Scooter will be turning 30 in 2001 and is described as "her hair sunbleached to a dirty blonde she was sort of a smaller, older, coarser version of Crystal."BB12 Despite her increasing age, in the off season when not running rafts, she joins her fellow guides surfing, sailing or skiing. Scooter is still 27 in April 1999, so has not had that years birthday.RR1
Scooter attended the University of Virginia which is also where she picked up her cigar habit. She knows it gives her a butch appearance, but she swears she likes guys, just not enough to give up her joy at being a boat bum. She can see spending the rest of her life on the Colorado River, probably with Canyon Tours.
On November 24 2001, she and Jim are married by Pastor Jordan at Lee's Ferry, immediately after the wedding of Crystal and Noah Whittaker.RR63 The couple spend their honeymoon and first few months of the off-season in Mexico where Dave and Mary Wells usually stay. They sailed with other rafters and Randy Clark around the Bahamas on the Felicity Ann in January 2002.PE32