By Joe Ballent
Oar Rafts, Paddle Boats, Inflatable Kayaks and Sups: PYOB. These 16-18-foot workhorses are the mainstay of the Holiday River Expeditions’ fleet. They feature a wooden frame (a design perfected by river rafting pioneer Dee Holladay himself) located centrally; this forms the cockpit where your guide sits. Fore and aft are compartments for passengers and bags. Depending on how accommodating your fellow passengers are, you may be able to stretch out and relax, or even dose off in the canyon sun… Ask your guide about ‘riding the bull’ if you’re feeling extra adventurous.
Want to take a more active role in your successful navigation of the rapids? Hop on board a paddle boat. Lightweight and maneuverable, these watercraft depend on both the consistency of the crew and the direction of the guide. If your family or friend group is a bit more high-octane, consult with our office before your trip about what river section you’re running, water flow, and the possibility of having a paddle boat on the trip. Depending on how quickly you take to the water, your guide may even let you captain the ship for a stretch… oh, and beware of ‘lily-dippers.’ Those are members of your crew who just pretend to paddle without doing so much for the forward momentum. Threaten to abandon them on a desert island if they don’t pick it up. To read more about why we don’t bring paddle boats on every trip, read our blog by Susan Munroe “Why Holiday Uses Oar Rafts“.
Our affectionately named ‘duckies’ are another familiar sight around the Holiday boathouse. With one-person or two-person configurations, these personal watercraft are great for when you want to break away from the pack and explore some eddy lines or potential nature sightings on your own. Or maybe you want to take a member of the younger generation out for a spin. More maneuverable but also more susceptible to flips (and subsequently more difficult to get back into) duckies guarantee a splashy ride that’s more down on the level with the water. The con of this is less visibility of upcoming features, but the pro is more of a river romp. And of course, our guides won’t let duckies go if river conditions are unsafe.
Ask our office about the possibility of stand-up-paddleboarding on your rafting trip. They are perfect for the first few days on our Colorado River rafting trips through Westwater and Cataract Canyons. You’ll see them on the Yampa River and on the Green River through Lodore Canyon too. Be sure to let your Holiday River Expeditions trip advisor know you are interested! Stand-up Paddleboards are also available for rental in Moab, where your best bet is to check online first. River rafting trips can be a great workout in addition to a great vacation! So join us and pick Oar Rafts, Paddle Boats, Inflatable Kayaks and Sups: PYOB!
Tell us, what’s your favorite type of boat to go river rafting?
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 mountaintechs.com and backcountrybeacon.com. 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.