Rhapsody on River Foam

  Guides call it ‘beaver vomit,’ the plumes of brown foam along the river. When you first see the lines of froth, you might suspect foul play and pollution. But long-time Holiday guide Lauren Wood reassured me: “This is the good stuff. This is a healthy river.” Lauren’s words, as they often do, cajoled me Read More


What’s Right With Uintah County: In Eight Parts

A market analyst once told me about God’s plan for dirt. He said it’s all well and good to talk about how special land is when I’m in a spectacular red rock national park, like Arches — but, he asserted, “other places God just stuck dirt to keep the earth from falling apart.” This wasn’t Read More


Evil Weeds and Post-apocalyptic Permaculture

Don’t try to tell me tamarisk isn’t pretty. I’ve scratched my skin to ribbons on those ruddy twigs, those blue-green feathers of leaves and plumes of purple dust-flowers. I know beauty when I see it. It’s called Tamarix chinensis, as in China, where it rightfully, geographically, ecologically belongs. But it was brought here because it Read More

JimAton-Deso 146

Feathered Velociraptors on the River

Bird Day is Saturday, May 14th, and there’s bound to be a fun-and-feather-filled celebration near you! Here are some reasons to give a day to the fierce little dinosaurs who live on the river. We put cute birdies on bland Hallmark cards and ladies hats and Portland’s pillows, but here’s the scientific truth: Birds are Read More

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


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


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

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


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


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