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You’ll be well taken care of. Our guides are the best in the business, all are trained in river and backcountry safety and first-aid. They’re all exciting individuals, experts in everything from rowing a rapid to sharing a good story. They take having fun seriously and will inform, entertain and engage you in a variety of ways. They’ll also show you their favorite places…a short walk up a side canyon to a private waterfall…a view from a cliff overlooking what seems to be the entire world…sleeping under the stars on a soft, sandy beach.
Our operations staff is seasoned and steadfast, a rarity among seasonal outfitting businesses. Our operations manager Tim Gaylord has been with us for 34 years. Trip leader and Vernal operations manager Kerry Jones has been around Holiday for 30 years and several of our trip leaders, like Tilts and Jessica, have been around for more than ten years!
Tim is Holiday’s operations manager. He makes sure our trips run smooth, so your vacation is trouble-free.
Obviously, with 30 years of guiding and running our operations Tim knows what he’s doing and does it well.
When he’s not training guides, inspecting gear or chopping wood, Tim enjoys Utah’s great places on his mountain bike or skis with his wife, Vicky, and young adult children, Travis and Courtney. It’s hard to get Tim to sit in any one place for very long, so if you see him say “Hi” before he disappears into the warehouse and beyond!
I was born at the end of the war to end all wars, 1945, in Hermosa Beach, California. I spent my youth surfing, sailing, diving, and just playing around the beaches of California and Mexico. After graduating college with a degree in Zoology, I moved to Utah and found I could make the same money skiing as inspecting crops for insects and poisoning so the choice was basic — I became a professional ski patrolman and began river running in 1973. In 1979 I became a partner in Holiday and moved to Idaho and began running the Salmon river. I continue to manage Holiday’s Idaho operation. Winters I am back to my roots surfing and kayaking in Mexico.
My first rafting trip was with Holiday in 1979 through Westwater Canyon. In 1982, as soon as I was old enough, I began working for Holiday as a rookie. Along the way, I fell in love with free flowing rivers. Now I manage Holiday’s Vernal operations, so I can run the Yampa every spring. I also love to run the Main Salmon whenever I get a chance, but also enjoy getting out and guiding on any of our rafting or mountain biking trips. My wife, Tammy, and I also love being on the river with our kids, Topher and Baily, in our wooden dory the “Yampa.”
As a kid I worked cleaning boats back in 1966 for a candy bar and a soda pop. Having grown up in Vernal, UT, I knew many folks in the river business and became acquainted with Dee Holladay in 1983, I have been driving for him ever since. I’m the Father of five and have my own Jewelry business. Driving for Holiday keeps me connected to the outdoors, the river and the guests. I enjoy meeting people from all over the country and even the world.
When I hear someone mention that “Their life is going downhill” I think to myself “How lucky they must be! I wonder if they are talking about skiing or rafting?” Hi, I’m Steve Wassmuth from Grangeville, Idaho and I consider myself one of the luckiest people in the world because I get to do what I enjoy pretty much 365 days out of the year. From September to June I spend the weekdays with twenty some nine and ten year old students in my classroom where I get to teach all subjects including Idaho State History. ON the weekends when there is snow I ski patrol at the local ski hill just out of town. When the snow begins to melt in the spring I get out of my kayak and play on the local rivers. I have really enjoyed having the opportunity of showing people the different rivers and all that goes with spending time in the outdoors. What could be better than spending my summers with people on vacation, who want to have a fun time, sleeping under the stars, swimming in the river, laying on the beach, eating wonderful meals, sitting around the camp fire, enjoying the wildlife, making new friends and reacquainting with old friends. Yes, I am a lucky man. Oh, did I mention dress up night and sand golf? I hope that Ill see you on the river someday and I’m sure that you will enjoy your life “as it goes downhill.”
Mike has been a licensed river guide since 1983. Spending as much time on the rivers as possible is a goal for each summer. Working full time for Agilent Technologies as a Thermographer and Failure Analysis Technician puts some restrictions on his river time, but he still gets out around forty days a year. Making new friends and sharing time on the water is what brings Mike back each year. When not guiding on the rivers, Mike spends much of his time fishing . His favorite trip is an October steelhead-fishing trip down the lower stretch of the Salmon River. In July you can find Mike fishing for small mouth bass on the Grande Ronde River in Washington. Growing up in Grangeville, Idaho exposed Mike to the wonderful outdoors, which he still enjoys very much. Some of Mike other hobbies include black powder hunting, basketball and GeoCaching and spending time with his family.
Kelly Dunham Growing up in Green River was the ideal place to spend time outdoors. I had experienced much of the vast desert country from the ground and air so the water was an obvious choice for me. In 1984 I started guiding for Holiday. My plans were to work for one summer… (So much for that plan) Most recently you will find me at the Green River headquarters where I organize food, guides, and gear for trips. We are one big happy family at Holiday with a very diverse group of guides and guests. That, along with the challenges of organization, are what keep me returning for season after season.
Cataract Canyon is my favorite section of river. I love the power and complexity of the river, the beauty and grandeur of the canyon present a different experience each time through. I also love riding the White Rim and getting the “other perspective” of Canyonlands from high up.
Holiday’s “senior” guide my favorite part of the job is still providing and sharing a positive trip experience with new people. I’m originally from New Hampshire, but have been a rolling stone guiding rafting trips in West Virginia, Alaska and Zimbabwe on Holiday’s off-season.
In the winters I’m on the road with the US Ski Team coordinating race set-ups…the rest of my free time is spent on my recreational lifestyle — golfing, mountain biking, skiing, traveling and playing with good friends.
Kevin White I started guiding rivers for Holiday in 1981. Under the careful guidance and teachings from world class guides Dee and Sue Holladay, Mark O’Neil, Cliff Johnson, Winston Thomas, Toni Crumbo, Sherpa San Huie, Frogg Stewart, Bret Jameson, John Wood, and Tim Gaylord, I was shaped and molded from a rookie to a company leader. Working for Holiday isn’t just about running rivers from point A to B. There is a constant thread of compassion and respect for the river, the canyons, environment, history and humanity that is worked into a well oiled machine of a company that helped me go from an arrogant and cocky California surfer kid to a professional white water guide and Holiday company leader. Holiday River Expeditions is a family run business and when you become an employee for HRE, you become one of the family. My best friends and relations were made during my years working for HRE, and they are relationships I have had the privilege to share with my family as well. It’s difficult for me to choose my favorite river or canyon; it’s like asking to choose your favorite child, each one is beautiful and unique in their own way, but, I would have to say, that “front oar” on a triple-rig in Cataract Canyon on the Colorado River, in the 50′s or 60′s is one of the most thrilling experiences I have had…ever! After taking a 22 year hiatus to raise my two beautiful daughters and teach elementary school in Ojai, California, I am excited about working again this summer and many summers in the future. My wife Kathy, and my daughters Tristyne and Tuesde have had many river experiences in my wooden dory, the “Ojai”, I built in 2000, and we are always planning and looking forward to our next river trip, “…rivers running through our veins, rivers to us call…” I have been credited for being the first river guide to brave, Big Dog shorts in 82 or 83, thus ending the era of “short shorts” and Speedos; sorry JW, and I’ve been seen wearing all red, Big Dog shorts and Holiday Red,(my favorite color) T-Shirt, in fancy restaurants, in SLC, in August…visor and all. Come out and run a river with us. We’ll all have an experience of a life time. KW P’S…My photo is me on front oar, getting pounded by Pelican in #2 rapid, Cataract Canyon, Colorado River, circa 1984.
Tim & Kate Sattelmeier My favorite part of each trip is sleeping by the side of the river in the canyons. This is the lure that draws me back to the river every spring. I grew up in a sleepy little resort town in Northern Michigan called Petoskey, went to university in Ann Arbor then wandered around before settling down in Utah. In the winters, I’m a writer and ski instructor at Park City Mountain Resort.
Dave Vernon Coming from scenic Utah, it was easy to follow my family’s love of the wilderness. After spending six summers on the Snake River in Wyoming, I joined the Holiday crew in 1996. Every year I come back for the adventurous rapids, the quiet solitude of a desert sunrise, floating through the majestic cliff walls and the great people. When I am not on the river or trail, I teach at an alternative education school. If you ride on my raft, you might hear a joke or a story or two (maybe even a true one!).
Zach & Kim Crumbo I’ve been running rivers for as long as I can remember. My father, Kim (pictured on right) was Dee Holladay’s first full time guide, and my summers as a kid were often spent going on river trips with him. I grew up living at the South Rim of the Grand Canyon, and spent my first summer at Holiday after my freshman year of college in 1998. Life has led me in different directions since then, and as of 2005 I will have finished my Master’s of Fine Arts in photography. But I still can’t stay away from the Canyons of the Colorado Plateau: the stories of the river and canyons still fascinate me, and I’m never more at peace than when floating quietly along the river.
Jennifer Davison After a trip down the Colorado river in 1998, I quit my highfalutin software job and became a “dirt-bag river guide”. Did you know that river guides eat over 1 pound of sand a year? I love the desert rivers of the Southwest because they are the life blood of the entire area, from the expanding metropolises to the colonies of algae on the river banks. They are powerful and extremely vulnerable, and my favorite part of river guiding is witnessing other people coming to these realizations. During the off-season I continue my post-graduate work studying these same relationships between water and arid ecosystems. I also do a fair amount of playing, with my dogs and my awesome co-trip-leader Zach. But when asked to “go to my happy place”, I usually end up somewhere between Pot Creek and Wild Mountain, watching big horn sheep in the glow of sunset and listening to canyon wrens serenading the rapids.
Jessica Durham I grew up in the great state of Idaho where we are not known for our famous potatoes but for our Famous Whitewater, so when my friends heard I was going to boat in Utah they thought I was crazy, after my first San Juan trip I thought they were crazy. Having a little bit of experience and the desire to sleep under the stars as much as possible, Holiday River has helped me become the person I am today. Boating as much as possible (commercially and privately), starting my own urban gardening business (with a boating friend) and trying to make a difference in this world one cause at a time. I am here to congratulate you on discovering the desert, it will change your life forever. Hope to see you on the water!
Rick Coriell I am Rick Coriell, and I was looking for employment during my freshman year of college and thought well I could get a job doing what I love. So I applied to Holiday and some how convinced Tim Gaylord that I was worthy of Holiday. I had grown up rafting all over the west with my family. To this day I still have no idea why Tim hired me, except maybe …. DESPERATION. Anyway I have fallen in love with the western rivers. They have the power to constantly make me think of them all off season, in Ft. Collins where I am currently working with Autistic kids. I hope to see you on the river, and may you always find yourself in the flow.
Ben Levine aka Hailing from the wild west, I grew up in Wyoming and have always had a passion for the outdoors. In 2003 during my junior summer of high school I began my Holiday legacy and spent a spectacular summer in the warehouse where I became know as LB “Little Ben”. Now several years later I am known as BB “Big Ben” and have moved from my native Wyoming to Park City, Utah. I attended Dixie State College in St. George, Utah, and while I was there I was able to mountain bike, explore Zion National Park and wake board for the majority of the year. Every summer though I return to my second home, Holiday, were I am able to work with the finest most exciting group of individuals that I have ever had the privilege of meeting. I especially enjoy going on trips with my big brother Jason. Who as his picture very accurately portrays is the best looking and most serious trip leader in the history of river rafting, it must run in the family. My favorite river trip is the Yampa River, which is referred to as the last wild river because it is the last undammed river on the Colorado Plateau. The scenery that it provides is absolutely breathtaking, every camp sight is perfect for camping and a great game of river horseshoes, the hiking is amazing and the rapids are as the nickname suggests, wild. I have found my one true love in the canyons and rivers of the west and feel honored to share their exotic beauty with everyone who I have the privilege of journeying through them with.
My name is Jason and I’m a third year Rookie here at Holiday. I come from a long history of Appalachian Americans, that looks to each day with a smile wondering which way to go, lucky for me the boat seems to always know where to go. In the winter, I am presently accepting invitations to anywhere in the world. I have worked on the rivers of New Zealand, Chile, and West Virginia, but my resume is not limited to the river. I am an expert synchronized co-ed underwater basket weaver, professional certified duct tape technician, competitive napper, and a nuclear engineer. My leisure activities include entertaining telemarketers, hanging with Cashmere, playing pranks on my boss Tim (year round activity really), playing matchmaker, and the list goes on. If you like good stories, good food, good laughs, I am your man, but more importantly, if you want a good looking river guide..look no further then Brin (his photo is on this page). There is no better way to see the Canyons then from the river, hope to see you out there.
Brin Finnigan born and raised in Vermont, I spent a good deal of my young life staring at maps. I was particularly drawn to the vast blank areas of the American West. In one of these wide-open spaces two great blue streaks converge in the heart of the Colorado Plateau’s canyonlands region. Guiding for Holiday Expeditions since 2005 I’ve found that the maps and dreams of my childhood are grossly inaccurate. The Colorado and Green Rivers are anything but blue and the land anything but blank. I’ve discovered that by sharing knowledge with my guests and simply bringing them to these spectacular canyons they gain an ownership of the place and the desire to protect it. Along with my life on the river I have also earned a B.A. in Environmental Studies from Gettysburg College and a BCU 3-Star kayak certification and become a Seminar Coordinator for the Headwaters Institute. Prior to Holiday I worked for my campus outdoor education program, guided sea kayaking trips up and down the East Coast and in the Great Lakes, and washed dishes professionally.
Matt Chick I grew up in Salt Lake City and did some trips with Holiday with my parents when I was younger. I thought working at Holiday would be fun, so I applied to Holiday and started by working in the warehouse. While there I was pretending to fix stuff, but I was probably breaking more than I was fixing. Ever since then I have been a guide for the last few summers in between attending the University of Kentucky. I think Holiday is a good fit for me since in my personal ads I have always put liking long walks on a beach and cleaning banos. The nights and the mornings on the river are spectacular, even when someone forgets to get the fish smell off of the griddle and we have fish flavored french toast…mmmm…fish toast. I guess the rapids are nice too.
“I grew up boating with family and friends in the Salmon River drainage and after a summer of construction in Arizona I figured rowing boats wasn’t a bad idea. Closing in on a decade later I’m still at it, enjoying one of the longest free flowing rivers in the lower 48 states in the largest continuous wilderness. The new hobby is learning banjo. After years of washing dishes while fellow guide Russ Sly played fiddle for guests I figured it was time to switch roles. If you join me on a Main or Lower Salmon expedition I’ll be sure to pick enough tunes and tell just enough jokes that you have to plead me to stop.
During the winter I find myself training skiers and teaching instructors at The Yellowstone Club in southwestern Montana. And during the fall I argue my way through a graduate program in Philosophy. Some folks like to call me Robert Redford. But I’m not into that. For most everyone else, I’m known simply as TL.
So come on out to Idaho and experience for 4 – 6 days how pristine beaches the size of football fields, a clear and clean free flowing river, and enough ninja, campfires, whitewater, lasagna, coffee, star gazing, and costume wearing can make you forget that there is in fact no 4g or paved roads for miles.”
Spending time out of doors reinvigorates the soul. It makes us feel more connected with the world we live in, which helps us recognize that all of the beauty we see is also inside each and every one of us. Special things happen when we reconnect with nature.
I was drawn west by endless expanses of undeveloped land after finishing college and 25 years of life in the sometimes hectic northeast United States. After one year of exploring the Upper Green River Basin in the Wind River Range of Wyoming, I was washed downstream to Holiday River Expeditions, where I have been floating, pedaling and walking ever since. The Colorado Plateau, it’s rivers and canyons, and all the incredibly diverse surrounding landscapes offer endless opportunity for exploration. With a little luck, I will see you all out there for many years to come.
Zach Colman Coming from a family of boatmen, I knew I had my work cut out for me to differentiate myself from the rest of my family. I grew up outside of Denver in a whirlwind of outdoor activity mixed with city life, struggling to fit in. Constantly criticized by my peers I became very quickly the person I had to be to make everyone around me feel comfortable. With the mastery of that skill I combine my passion for sustainability and the environment to further Holiday Expeditions as a company. I have, through my years at Holiday, brought back style to the canyons, focusing on innovative methods for expressing myself while on the river. If it be a pop-culture anecdote, friendly banter with guests and boatmen, or simply cynicism that comes out of my mouth it is easy to tell that I am a fun loving person that doesn’t take himself too seriously. My laid back style of guiding quickly makes guests comfortable and any anxiety or nervousness vanishes when I take reign of the oars. Let’s be frank, we’re on vacation!!
Joe Ballent It all started with a high school rafting trip with Grand Canyon Youth and he was hooked. Joe Ballent was, is, and always will be a member of the epic Holiday Expeditions Warehouse Crew ’08, undoubtedly the single most hard-working, cohesive, ruthlessly efficient, and good-looking group of individuals to grace Green River. He is currently a student at Bradley University in Illinois where he majors in Entrepreneurship, and was an NCAA Division I scholarship Cheerleader his freshman and sophomore years, lifting 18-year old girls over his head in such exotic destinations as St. Louis, Missouri and Baltimore, Maryland. Retiring at his peak due to time commitments, he now pursues such activities as rock climbing club and being an R.A. in the dorms. In the summers he manages to escape to scenic Utah to pursue his true passions, including rafting, rock climbing, 90′s grunge/rock music, freelining, haphazard ziplines, quesadillas, going to Ed McStiff’s, the Firefly series, and trying to be like Tim. A veteran of both Grand Canyon Youth and Outward Bound rafting/service excursions, Joe also recently appeared on a centerfold in Chaco’s 2008 catalog. Previous work experiences include working at a candy store, coaching lacrosse, and ski instruction. A big thanks goes out to Emma for hooking him up with this sweet job!
Noel Gugliotta Noel Gugliotta was, is, and always will be a member of the epic Holiday Expeditions Warehouse Crew ’08, undoubtedly the single most hard-working, cohesive, ruthlessly efficient, and good-looking group of individuals to grace Green River. It should be noted that I provided all of the good looks… I can already tell that my favorite part of the year is going to be when this stellar crew COMES ON HOME TO GREEN RIVER! First of all, I want to be Seldom Seen Smith and hunt me some grizz. Oh yeah, I love mimicking Tim, and I win all water fights. Coming to Holiday showed me that there’s a simpler, more appreciative life out there for me to live. A life full of early mornings making breakfast with friends, sunny days on the river, and long nights with jokes and stories to tell. To me there’s no better feeling than waking up under the Utah sun with the wild wind blowing through the canyon brushing by my face on one of the most gorgeous landscapes in the world. Anyway, Holiday helped lead me to my major of Environmental Policy at Colorado College which I hope I can someday use to help preserve these lands I’ve come to love so much.
I am originally from Santa Fe, New Mexico. I grew up hiking and skiing every chance I got. I went on a few but not many day river trips. It was not until I was a senior in high school and did a 4-day Desolation Canyon trip with Holiday that I fell in love with the river. Ever since then I have loved this area and wanted to learn as much as I can. I worked in the warehouse for my first year and got out on the river whenever I could. I love to share my knowledge with people about the places that I love. The rivers have changed my life forever and I want to share that love with as many people as I can.
TBurd I’m a visual journalist and river guide currently living in Utah. Born in Salt Lake City and raised in South Texas, Florida, Saudi Arabia and Austria. I have been influenced by numerous travels around the world as a student, captain of a sailing catamaran, relief worker, and journalist. My passion for people, the outdoors and photography have brought me to Holiday; not to mention my parents getting married on Hades Bar on Westwater Canyon. I’m in love with the water whether it be frozen or flowing freely. In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, I made three trips to the Mississippi Gulf coast to give aid with KIRF (Kirwin International Relief Foundation) and to make a documentary on the current condition of Mississippi after Katrina. ‘Mississippi Forgotten’ gives residents of Mississippi a chance to speak out. You can see some of my work online at www.mankindphoto.com. I work the Winter season at Snowbird Ski and Summer Resort in Little Cottonwood Canyon doing photography for PowderShots and Superior Photography. Mostly Action and Portrait photography and lots of skiing. During the summers I am working as a river guide at Holiday Expeditions doing guiding and photography and video of the whitewater adventures.
My memories first begin on and in the water. Growing up in Oregon with two Outward Bound instructors as parents, if we weren’t rafting, we were canoeing, slogging through temperate rainforests, and discovering the beauty of the natural world. I attended college in Montana, where I didn’t spend a lot of time in boats but still got outside to backcountry ski and rock climb whenever the opportunity arose. After college I moved back to Oregon and worked for six months in a real job before going on a 21-day private trip down the Colorado River that convinced me to quit my job and apply to Holiday. Luckily, Frogg let me join the Idaho Holiday team where I now spend three months a year on one of the most beautiful, still wild rivers in the world.
I have been a river runner my entire life and ever since my first river trip at age two muddy water has run a current through my veins and into my heart. Growing up I marveled at the stark contrast between a busy urban environment like Salt Lake City and the untamed tranquility I would find between two canyon walls. My adolescent summers were spent learning life lessons while lounging upon Holiday rafts: the greatest sense of pride comes with a good work ethic, one person can go far but one can go much farther working within a team, the river like life only flows in one direction and don’t touch the poison ivy! It was learning from the rafters of the 1990′s that led me to find my own oars; I am now excited to return for my fourth official season on the water. When I’m not busy running white water, I spend my off season in Salt Lake City. I recently graduated from the University of Utah with a BS in Environmental Studies and a minor in Psychology. I currently work as an advisory board member and grant coordinator for Peaceful Uprising, a local and national Climate Justice group. I also wait tables to pay the bills. In my humanitarian and environmental work within the Salt Lake City community I find those lessons from the river carrying over into all aspects of my life; I love finding the natural cycles within our cities and the currents that direct and shape our communities.
Feisty, yet laid back 25 year old free spirit. Utah native, was reported to be wintering on Florida Gulf Coast somewhere near Longboat Key. Honing her kayaking and paddle board skills under Frankie’s (her Golden Retriever) watchful eye.
Univ. of Utah grad in hospitality management, she is having a hard time keeping a real job and seems to show up at the River each year, which brings her inner peace. This is Jordan’s fourth season as a guide looking forward to new friendships, whitewater and the sunshine!
I chose to guide rivers for Holiday soon after receiving my B.S. in Geography and Environmental Studies with a minor in Experiential Education from the University of Utah. It was the best decision to choose Holiday over another company and I am so grateful to now be a part of their family. Thank You Dee and Sue and for creating a beautiful community.
I chose this career path because I see so many positive values that are offered from guiding. One is leadership, learning and testing my own ability to lead, and in doing this, always striving for excellence with each new experience. Another reason is because I am able to learn about myself without the electronic distractions and fast paced world we live in. Guiding really puts you to the test of living in the moment. The rivers teach you so much and you learn to become great at living in the present, otherwise you’ll get stuck on a rock or much worse. I enjoy sharing with others the values of the natural environments and the present and future concerns that we may face. I also feel grateful for being a part of people’s vacations where they can reach a sense of playfulness. And most importantly when I am older I want to have a six pack like Tim Gaylord.
In my other life I use snowboarding as my catalyst for living in the present. During the winter I work at REI selling toys to adults and Brighton Ski Resort in the Repair Shop.
The laughs, sweat, sand, rain, food, sun they all make for an epic adventure. See you on the river.
Guiding represents something unique to me; it is definitely not just sculpted and bronzed guides, hilarious banter, and brazen executions of maneuvers that you cannot learn at school. It represents an opportunity for me to share the way that I view the world and a captive audience that is forced to listen unless they swim to another boat. I have spent years exploring the Southwest, Mexico, Guatemala, India, and Nepal. All of my best experiences in life and friends seem to have come about through travel and exploration. I hope to continue sharing amazing experiences with people in the backcountry and through this help to preserve the natural world that is so important to me.
I’m Sandy and I am proud to be Holiday’s first charity case! Homeless in Green River–not really, but I was looking for a place to live during my service for Americorps–I decided to kill two birds with one stone by getting my foot in the door to become a river guide as well as finding a place to sleep. After showing up at the warehouse numerous times and tracking Tim down at Ray’s, tim finally took pitty on me. He let me move into the bunk house and eat company food in exchange for warehouse work and shuttle driving! (How’s that for bartering?!?!)
So here I am! Living the dream, going with the flow! Other tidbits about me… I’m from Michigan (say Yah do da UP, Eh?), I laughed out loud the first time I saw a tumbleweed blow across the road, and my first river trip was Westwater Canyon. I enjoy leaning about the ancient peoples of Utah and sharing it with my guests. My favorite part about being a guide is reflecting on the day’s adventures while listening to the river and looking up at the canyon-framed, star-scattered night sky before falling asleep on my raft!
“… obviously. With his diverse and varied background, extensive outdoors experience, quick-wit, and natural aptitude for river reading, it was only a matter of time before Julian Springer ended up working for Holiday. They’ve got quite the assortment of the best and baddest boatmen the West has to offer…” – Anonymous, unknown
I grew up in the mountainous regions of the world, from the Rockies, to Kathmandu and the massive and majestic Himalaya. Inevitably, I became enamored with the beauty and grandeur of the great outdoors. I studied geology in college, mostly as an excuse to be outside, and ended up in Japan guiding whitewater. A summer yelling paddle commands in terrible Japanese, and I was instantly hooked. As soon as I was finished at Colorado College, I packed all of my belongings into a storage locker (except my flip-flops and my sunglasses of course) and moved out to Utah. I was lucky enough to have been connected, through fellow guide Noel, to Tim and the Holiday crew. Being able to spend my days on cool, swift flowing water, or biking and hiking under a hot sky through sun-bleached, water worn rock is a privilege. As is working for Holiday Expeditions. Dee and Sue Holladay have created an amazing organization, filled with funny, energetic, whacky, loving characters, all devoted to giving people the best possible river trip they can. Because lets be honest, what’s better than floating down the river with your friends?
Susan Munroe did not want to be a guide. In love with the open desert, all she wanted was to drive shuttles and meditate on the heat-warped, orange landscape passing beyond her open window. And then she went on a river trip. It might have been floating beneath endless canyon walls, or riding out the fury of Cataract Canyon’s rapids at high water, but gradually she realized that just driving wasn’t going to cut it. A native of New Hampshire and a professional freelance writer, Susan spends her time off the river reading, and her time away from Holiday traveling and pursuing her goal of writing for National Geographic. She’s traveled and worked in New Zealand, Antarctica, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, and Chile, and maintains a travel blog stuffed with stories of the cultures and people that she meets along the way www.susanmunroe.com. She believes that the world has lessons to teach those who are willing to explore it, and she loves sharing her experiences and excitement with others.
My first river trip was on the San Juan with my middle school class. Not surprisingly, this was one of the most fun trips I have ever gone on. It took four years before I made it back to the river when I went on an 8 day Grand Canyon trip with Grand Canyon Youth (GCY). It was on this trip that I realized the true power of the river as both a physical and transformational force. The hook was set. I began to pursue guiding after my freshman year of college, and was lucky enough to work with GCY guiding youth trips. Upon graduating with a BS in Environmental Chemistry I knew my next step was to take some time and explore some new rivers. I chose to work for Holiday after going on a Gates of Lodore trip, where I was taken by the beauty of the canyon and the technical challenge of the river. I am grateful for the opportunity Holiday has given me to share the places and things I am passionate about with others in the hope that a shared sense of place can protect the wild rivers that still exist in the deserts of the southwest.
Just a small-town boy, born and raised in South Det….. Originally from Mt. Shasta, California, I have been living in and exploring the arid landscapes of the Southwest since 2004. When not on the river (and often-times there, too), I am a landscape and portrait photographer, trying to capture the rugged beauty of this region through the lens. I enjoy the challenge of chasing the light, attempting to catch Mother Nature in her most raw, powerful and dramatic moments. www.jessekasten.com My love for the outdoors and the Southwest have led me to Holiday, where I have maintained my presence “in the flow” since 2011. I can’t think of a better way to experience the awe-inspiring landscapes of the Colorado Plateau than by floating down one of it’s wild and scenic rivers; and maybe riding a tasty wave or two along the way! May you forever remain in the flow…. Jesse
I was born to a settler family that earned its notoriety by building dams. Now I work on the longest undammed river in the lower 48. It is a privilege to share the Salmon River with others. Its cool waters lull us to sleep and carry us to our next camp. My first year on the Main Salmon was 2011, but my first year as a guide was in 1996 when I answered a classified ad – at the time, I had never set foot on a raft. Since then, I’ve worked in Colorado, Wyoming, West Virginia and Costa Rica. Each of those places has resplendent rivers that I care about deeply, but the Main Salmon is different. It flows through a massive wilderness, an unpopulated area so large it has room for the legends of our dreams and imaginations. It’s humbling to be part of that landscape.
In the off season, my wife and I like to ski, bird watch, hike, fish and backpack.
How I ended up at Holiday was due to a crazy chain of events over the course of a year, but once I arrived and met the amazing people that make up this company, I knew that everything happened for a reason and I couldn’t be happier now that I’m here. Holiday truly is made up of a “family of friends”. My co-workers and the people I meet on the river are my favorite part of the job. I wouldn’t give up the absurdity, the love, the hilarity, or the peace that I experience everyday here at Holiday for all the money and wealth in the world. The off-season is my opportunity to travel and see the world, but I’ll be back guiding in Green River every summer until I’m too old to row the boat (or Tim fires me, whichever comes first).
You could say I am a Midwest girl exploring the beauty that the West has to offer. And boy, does it have a lot to offer… so many places I have loved to experience, whether hiking, mountain biking, or most importantly rafting! I have loved every minute of it. The river canyons teach you to slow down, enjoy your life, and breath easy… My favorite memories so far on the river consist of making an utter fool of myself while wearing costumes, dancing, having yoga classes, and constantly LAUGHING with guests and our amazing crew. The guides here at Holiday make the trips what they are, and of course I suggest you come on a trip and experience what I speak of. I have never worked with a “cuter bunch” as they say. During the colder seasons, you can find me manipulating the anxious minds of children, adolescents, and adults while I work on my graduate degree in Clinical Psychology. You’ll also find me skipping class on powder days to shred that gnar! Come float with me and we can enjoy the beauty of the canyon together as we have a fabulous time laughing and carrying on!
My name is Lexi and I am from Kirtland, New Mexico. I moved to Salt Lake City eight years ago, for no particular reason. I discovered the river in the summer of 2012. I should say the river called me to and I answered in 2012. I look forward to spending time on the river for the rest of my days. I love working for Holiday, not only because they have become a family to me, but they care so much about the guests, employees and the environment. In the winter I work at Snowbird and play in the snow. So far, it’s not a bad life!
I believe in connecting my passions in life with my profession. I grew up on a small island in the Pacific Northwest, but my feathers began to fill in when I landed in Seattle, where I went to the University of Washington. There, I honed my professional, relaxed style and received degrees in Spanish and Communication/Politics. Seattle is an amazing city to combine an outdoor lifestyle in an urban area.
My wings grew in, and I found myself traveling for two and a half years, from mountaintops to oceans all North America, South America and Europe. I had to problem-solve day after day, especially while working with students in Spain, where I maintained an engaging, and creative teaching style. Coming from Orcas Island, I was excited to get out into the desert elements and experience everything the river has to offer.
I love music on the river and always am excited when people bring instruments. I live in Park City in the winter, Green River in the summer, and get after it everyday.
I was raised on rivers, snow and trails, born and bred to love the outdoors. My parent’s passions for canyons, white water and mountains was passed on to me, and consequentially I prefer to spend as many of my days outside as possible. So I think I have the two greatest jobs in the world! I spend my summers in breathtaking beauty, meeting and working with amazing people that share my passions. I get to explore some of the world’s most amazing places and expose people to the adventure and power of the river. I spend my winters teaching children how to do one of my favorite things in this whole world, ski! I get to play in the snow with kids and watch them learn and grow, and hopefully pass on my passion for the sport, the snow and the mountains. I also get to adventure around the state and ski as many resorts as I can find time to, and I guess I go to school too. I’m getting my degree in Psychology at CU in Boulder Colorado. To sum it up, I’m a very lucky girl. I am thankful everyday for all of the wonderful people in my life, and all of my opportunities to do what I love.
After growing up in New Hampshire and attending college in Vermont I moved to Utah to fulfill my destiny as a ski bum. Several years and countless powder days later I’ve found myself at Holiday. Thanks to friends and fellow guides Sean, Malia and Brian for encouraging me to pursue this wonderful job. Raft Guiding has taught me that Utah has much more to offer than just ‘the greatest snow on earth.’ The river provides a unique perspective of this landscape and HRE gives us all an opportunity to experience it first hand. Learning, teaching, and just being outdoors in some incredibly beautiful and desolate areas will keep me coming back for many years to come!
Hello, my name is Doug. I grew up in New Jersey and it wasn’t until the spring of 2011 I quit my job, packed my car, and moved to Utah. I moved out here because of the outdoors and access to various outdoor activities it offers in such a quick drive from SLC. Some of the things I like to do in my free time are go skiing when there is snow out, backpacking, climbing, and mountain biking. And, when I like a more relaxing activity I dabble in the world of photography. I am always looking for the new adventure to explore that helps keep me out of the city and in the mountains, dessert, or river. Hope to cross paths with you.
Hello, my name is Samuel Clemens Watson, the first and maybe last, who knows what’s going to happen down the proverbial road. As of 2012, I am 21 years young, and I am not afraid to turn 22. I was born and raised in Salt Lake City, Utah. In this amazing state I discovered that I am a much happier person when the walls surrounding me are made of sandstone or granite instead of concrete. I love being in areas where I can see no sign of other human beings, aside from my companions. I strive to approach my life with the simplicity and unconditional love that I have learned from my dog, Jack. Some of my favorite things include the moon, snow, burritos, black liquorice, receiving new socks, and the moments when I realize that what I want and what I need are the exact same thing. Mountains, working for Holiday Expeditions, and dropping knowledge on fellow guide and colleague Leland Thompson are right up there as well. Shout out to Tim Gaylord, chainsaw enthusiast.