Holiday Thankfulness

March 11, 2014

Holiday Thankfulness

It’s that time of year- the Holidays are rolling in, river season is over, and it’s already time to think about next year.  Amidst the seasonal changeover and chaos, reflection on the past year is both healthy and inevitable.  Having worked for this great river rafting company since my late teens and early twenties, I’ve compiled quite a collection of things to be thankful for.

Amazing trips.

Working with this family-owned and family-run company has given me the opportunity to be part of a culture that is rich in genuine connections and friendships.  With this positive culture comes an array of impressive destinations. They have united me with new and returning Holiday River Expeditions guests for rolling whitewater across the American West.

Passionate guides.

Each season promises what turns out to be a mild immigration to our small, sleepy town of Green River.  River rats, both returning and aspiring, come from all over the country to share their passion for the outdoors with guests and each other.

Delicious meals.

Painstaking detail goes into our meals. From pre-trip prep and packing all the way to garnishing meals and even the occasional fork art.  From Dutch Ovens to grill tops, skillets to salad bowls, Holiday trips always left myself and my fellow river runners feeling that we’d eaten like royalty.

Music on the river.

As I’ve mentioned before, many of Holiday’ guides are musically inclined. Often times one of the most relaxing parts of a long day on the water is drifting to sleep under a starry sky after a few ballads on the six-string.  If you have an instrument of your own, check in with our office before your trip to ask about having a guitar-specific dry bag packed and ready.


I confess I’m a bit of a gearhead.  One of my favorite shops to visit in the desert oasis of Moab is named, appropriately, Gearheads.  Something about being able to organize and pack everything you need to be self-sufficient for a week in the desert has always appealed to me.  Burly tents, rugged grills, oars and even the less-expected gear items like water guns; I love it all.  Gimme more gear!

Our desert environment.

Southern Utah is rich in cultural heritage and history. Nowhere else in the world can you find such a unique blend of accessible points of fun and interest. Some of those point of interest are the Dinosaur tracks and magnificent sandstone arches. As well are roaring whitewater rapids; our desert boasts entertainment and intrigue for any traveler with an open mind and a yearning to explore.

Go with the flow!


Joe Ballent found the river- or it found him –when he was only 16.

He began guiding with Holiday in 2008 and has enjoyed the unique privilege of getting involved with Holiday’s youth trips, including the University of Utah Hospital Burn Camp program.  His writing has been featured on various outdoor online communities including and  Joe works with troubled teens full-time but manages to find trouble around the country and world in his freetime.  He is an outdoorsman by trade, a romantic by choice, a guitarist in a band, and an outlaw in Europe.