By Haley Strand

Is the River Calling to You? You Might be a River Rat If…

River Rafting Trip Chaco Tan









  • Your Chaco tan lines are still visible in the winterAll Womens trip on the White Rim Trail
  • You wear your Chacos with socks during the wintertime
  • OR you wear your Chacos WITHOUT socks regardless of the temperature in the winter
  • You constantly say, “That’s not how we do it on the river.”
  • Your ammo can is a decorative piece in your home
  • Bugs don’t bother you; in fact, you welcome them
  • You have a river-related tattoo
  • You constantly ask yourself if it’s warm enough to sleep under the stars
  • Your sleeping pad sounds more appealing than your bed
  • You prefer dutch oven dinners over a five-star restaurant
  • You have a dog named “River”
  • Your closet is full of water-resistant, quick-drying clothing
  • Your sarong collection is 20 pieces deep
  • You dream of red canyons
  • You make rapids in the bathtub
  • You have planned out your trips two summers in advance
  • You have a “whitewater rafting” savings account
  • You scream “Hot coffee!” in your house at 6 am
  • You keep sand in your backyard to get your daily fix
  • Your lifejacket is hanging in your closet
  • Sunscreen is the first thing you put on in the morning
  • Your children are named after river landmarks or famous river legends
  • You recruit everyone and anyone to get out on the river
  • The majority of your stories have to do with a river trip

Yampa River Guides Store Boats

Do you relate to one or maybe more of these symptoms? Fear not, we do too. Rafting brings out the best side of people, so why not hang on to that all year round? Sure, it might be too cold to get out in the rapids in December, but the spirit of rafting can stay with you all year. There is always prep and planning for your next trip, so get on it!

Never hide your inner river rat self, it is nothing to be ashamed of. Share your river secrets with friends and family. Always promote what you love. Bringing friends and family on the river will just help grow the river-running community. Winter can be a sad time for river rats if you don’t have a cold-weather hobby such as skiing. Whether you are an avid skier or an avid stay-home-and-drink-hot-cocoa person during those winter months, rest assured that rafting reason always comes back around.

No matter what winter activities you love, the early spring and summer months are the ones to look forward to. Yes, Utah may have the best snow on earth, but we have some dang good rivers too.


Haley-M-StrandAt just under 5 years old, Haley took her first river trip with Holiday River Expeditions and has been rafting with them ever since, 21 trips and counting. Now 31 years old, working for The Maven Clinic in the Marketing Division, living in sunny Solana Beach, CA.  When she isn’t working, she’s enjoying the outdoors with her dog Birdie.  She loves playing in the beautiful mountains and rivers of Utah, but her other love is the mother ocean, from Solana Beach to Baja California to St. Croix, Maine, and the Carolinas. Haley is a true water baby at heart.