By Joe Ballent
Six Reasons I’ve Enjoyed Working For Holiday River Expeditions. What better time of year to reflect on all that for which we’re most grateful? Many of us are surrounded by friends, family, and good food. In reflecting back on another year, I’m inevitably and incredibly thankful to have gotten involved with Holiday River Expeditions and the amazing people that work here. In reflecting, some other things I’m particularly thankful for include…
Time on the river.
There’s something intangible and therapeutic about spending time on moving water. You get to be a part of something bigger than yourself that’s moving, dynamic, fluid, and full of life. It’s been said that rivers are Earth’s wild renegades; taking a ride down one, and with one, is as intensely spiritual an experience as I’ve ever had. Doing it time and again with new, eager adventurers with Holiday River Expeditions has been a unique privilege for the last half a decade.
My first season in the warehouse solidified in me what was started with my first youth trips with Grand Canyon Youth in high school; a blue collar work ethic permeates the Holiday River Expeditions culture. From rowing gear to scrubbing vans and everything in between, the essence of Dee’s dedication to getting the job done has trickled down and out to every corner of the company.
Speaking of Dee, one of my favorites comes from a few summers ago. I was tiring myself out on the warehouse pullup bar in between post-trip cleanup tasks when Dee happened by. Silently, he hopped up on the pull-up bar and rattled out eight like he wasn’t even trying. This wouldn’t be such a huge feat if he wasn’t well into his 70s at the time. When someone old enough to be your grandfather can hang with you, literally, and finish off the afternoon with a well-deserved “I still got it” before flashing a smile and disappearing out into the desert, you show respect.
A sense of belonging and responsibility.
At Holiday, the desert is our home. As such, we try to treat it well. In addition to our implementation of rigorous Leave No Trace ethics that govern the management of trash and general ecological footprint, we recycle and maintain a compost pile to further minimize our impact. It’s another trait instilled in our guides; that sense of duty to the river.
Each river trip introduces and involves a new friend dynamic; our guests come together from all over the country and sometimes all over the world. It’s amazing to be a fly on the wall as new social dynamics evolve and people share their river experiences with each other. On a similar note, it’s great to return to the river time and again with fellow guides and build an impressive repertoire of jokes over each river season.
No words can adequately describe the thrill of cascading down the front side of a crushing wave on the oar of a triple rig in Cataract Canyon, or pulling until you’re out of breath to get left through Skull rapid in Westwater Canyon; to this day I’m still cotton-mouthed after every run. One thing guests and guides alike can agree on; rapids are fun. Whether they are fun during your run or fun afterward is up to you to decide!
From all of us here at Holiday River Expeditions to all of our guests, past present, and future, we wish you a happy (and above all, safe) holiday season. We’re looking forward to making new memories with you on the river next time you’re out here with us.
Go With The Flow. – Joe
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 free time. He is an outdoorsman by trade, a romantic by choice, a guitarist in a band, and an outlaw in Europe.