It's a Beaver

Saved by the Rodent: beavers build hope for the West

In the deserts of the West, the most precious resource is water, and that water has a guardian, and that guardian is a very big rodent. We see their wet fur in glimpses, or startle at their warning-slap on the water, recognizing that the danger they’re shouting is us. Or maybe we only see the Read More

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Fighting the Current: Deleted Words and Depleted Rivers

Over the past decade, Oxford Junior Dictionary has weeded nature out of its words. Acorn, Apricot, Blackberry, Dandelion — the plants have wilted straight out of the text, along with their animal kin Beaver, Heron, Cheetah. Their empty posts have been taken by Broadband, MP3 player, Chatroom (tellingly, Allergy, Drought, and Endangered have also made Read More

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Giving to Living Rivers: an interview with John Weisheit

  Book your Utah river trip between April 11-22 and get more than a Great Deal discount. In celebration of Earth Day, not only will you save 5% on your trip, Holiday will donate an additional 5% to Living Rivers, staunch protectors of the Colorado River Watershed. As a kid in church I belted out Read More

Laughter on the Yampa river

Health and Healing in the Natural World

Consider this a brief public health announcement: Staying inside is killing you. You feel it intuitively. You always have, even back when you were the kid in class, sighing as you stared out the window at the tree you wanted to climb. The adults said they knew what was good for you, and demanded your Read More

Rainbow in Cataract Canyon, Colorado River Rafting Trips

Seven River Songs

Aldo Leopold had a word to say about the Good Life (Note: Aldo, who wrote A Sand County Almanac, was a fellow who could hunt and trap and bro-out with the best of them but at the very base of his heart wanted most to cajole us into “thinking like a mountain,” instead of blustering Read More

Honey Bee

The University of Dee, Salt Lake City Campus

By Susan Munroe I am surrounded by books: eddied out among wobbly stacks of geology texts, river history, Edward Abbey, naturalist guides, bird books, water politics, meditative writings, John Wesley Powell, and the collected writings of the incomparable Dee Holladay. Most river guides spend their off-season skiing or traveling. I’m hanging out in the Holiday Read More

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Of Tasmanian Devils and Women

Happy International Women’s Day! I celebrated by having a conversation with a Holiday River Expeditions river running legend (and a warm and beautiful human), who’s known for helping to create a culture of respect — and wild-romping fun — in the rafting community. Tammy Besmehn’s her name, but on the river she’s known as Taz Read More

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Rules to Raft By: Superstitions of the Great Unknowable

Cross your oars and knock on driftwood, folks: Holiday’s best guides are sharing their go-to magic charms for the perfect river trip.  The river rolls on with or without us, an impersonal force of beauty and danger. But humans have this habit when faced with vast, impersonal forces of beauty and danger: we make them Read More

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Desert Varnish: Weird Life in Wild Places

When you float down the Yampa you’re being carried on one of the West’s last wholly wild rivers. Try as the developers might, the Yampa remains undammed — the last of its kind in the entire Colorado drainage. So I mean Wild as in dinosaurs. Wild as in tigers. Dinosaur National Monument hides a particular Read More

Low-water levels create a bathtub ring around "Lake" Powell

Changing Course: How a Child of the Desert Confronts the limits of Growth, Water and Pipelines

Like all Utahns I was born in a hot valley, gulping from snow-melt streams. Like the rest, my mother’s water broke and I slid out in the nexus of two myths: 1) The Lord provides — God opens the windows of heaven, and the drought will end; 2) Next season, to keep from worrying, we’ll Read More