By Haley Strand
For as long as I can remember I have been riding the rapids with Holiday River Expeditions. My family always looked forward to the trips we got to go on. Whitewater rafting has been a part of my family since the day I was born. Having my mom in the industry for over 23 years has given us countless opportunities to get out in the fresh air and experience what these rivers have to offer. I was only five years old when I went on my first trip. Though I don’t remember everything about that adventure, I always get to hear great stories about it. Without a doubt, I know it laid the foundation for many outdoor adventures to come. All of those summers going on river trips have taught me a lot of lessons. These lessons I might have learned elsewhere, but the river was a much more exhilarating and exciting classroom.
Respect Nature: Holiday River Expeditions is big on sharing interpretation and teaching about preservation. Protecting the land, the wildlife and leaving things as you found them is a fundamental element on all trips. I gained such a large amount of respect for nature at a young age. Littering, stepping on plants, leaving food droppings and disturbing wildlife are just a few things I was taught not to do.
Please and Thank You: How many kids do you know that don’t say please when they want something, or don’t say thank you when something is done for them? Watching guides who work for Holiday truly work their tails off to keep guests happy stood out in my mind. Whether it’s grabbing a snack at a random time or grabbing the kids a pop, they are always going above and beyond. I quickly recognized that saying please and thank you is the least you can do for the guides.
Appreciate: The beauty you witness while on the Green and Colorado rivers is beyond what you see in the photographs. Amazing sunsets, huge rock walls, petroglyphs, sporadic waterfalls during a rainstorm– I could go on and on. As a kid, I was so amazed by our surroundings. Being on the river and seeing the beauty with my own eyes gave me deep appreciation for these wild places.
Lend a Helping Hand: Yes, the guides do most of the work for you while on the river. They row the boat, load and unload all of the gear and cook you dinner. But they always appreciate a helping hand. Whether it is something as small as helping wash or put away the dishes, or carrying an extra bag or two, I quickly learned lending a helping hand goes a long way. Plus it’s fun to help!
“Toy-free” Fun is Better: When you’re riding down a whitewater rapid the last thing you are thinking about is how much you miss your Xbox. A little sand and some water can provide hours of play. Exploring camp, spotting wildlife, or naming birds of prey comes naturally when drifting down the river. Experiencing the thrill of whitewater is loads more fun than a playroom full of toys.
Get up, get out and take advantage of the rivers flowing through our canyons. Lessons will be learned and you will see things that can’t be seen anywhere else. Among all of the many things the rivers have taught me, the most important lesson I’ve learned is to simply go with the flow.
At just under 5 years old, Haley took her first river trip with Holiday River Expeditions and has been rafting with them ever since. Haley is now 23 years old with a bachelors degree in Communications from the University of Utah. A newcomer in the marketing industry with a bright future ahead. When she isn’t working, she is working out or playing with her pups Stella and Stuey. She loves playing in the beautiful mountains and rivers of Utah but her other love is mother ocean, from Baja California to St. Croix, Maine and the Carolinas. Haley is a true water baby at heart.