Original artwork from @Sonja_Tierney on Instagram. Follow her, or the Editor-in-Chief will eat his fucking dog.
Sites like TripAdvisor and Yelp have become the guiding light by which most families plan their summer vacations.
Through user reviews, they’ve helped the best whitewater rafting outfitters flourish. Of course, there is the occasional negative review, and individual guides get criticized.
Thank you for all of the valuable feedback. We professional river folk are always looking for ways to improve, and better serve you, the paying paddler.
We strive to make these high adventure activities as enjoyable as possible. Through your elegantly crafted, never grammatically incorrect reviews, we’ve come to realize that constructive criticism is one of the greatest gifts a person can give.
So, in an effort to return the favor, we asked some guides to review a few of you.
Three Generations on a Scenic Float
A nice family (for the most part). Grandma was offensively gassy, but a sweetheart nonetheless. Their oldest was polite, and Dad tipped me well. Probably would’ve been a 5-Star review, but Mom repeatedly complained about how tame the rapids were, despite having booked a SCENIC float. Also, their fat 7-year-old had an affinity for wiping boogers on my knee.
Josh’s Bachelor Party
The pre-trip process was tedious, as the bachelor was still drunk off last night’s Twisted Teas and couldn’t remember his shoe size. On the water, he and his friends insisted I learn, then repeatedly recite, the chants from Sigma Alpha Epsilon’s Vanderbilt chapter. Josh teared up when comparing his fiancée to the blonde freshman he’d met at that mixer in 2009. I’m glad to have not been hazed, but would not like to take them rafting again. Also, the half-finished case of White Claws was a less-than-ideal gratuity.
Raj and Gupta’s Engagement Celebration
After proposing to Gupta, Raj flew all of her friends out from Mumbai and booked a full day trip to celebrate. Most of the group paddled forwards when I called for back strokes. I ended up abandoning paddle commands altogether. We flipped three times before stopping for lunch and had to swim to the take out. Raj only handed me a twenty back at the shop, but their oblivious positivity was adorable.
Dads from Dallas
While the wives and children were delightful, I cannot say the same for Patrick and Walter—the dads. Upon discovering that they both work in private debt investment, the two gentlemen proceeded to participate in a grandstanding exercise that lasted until we were back on dry land. First, they good naturedly compared golf handicaps, and agreed that it was surprising to see a woman (me) in charge of my own boat. A mile in, an argument about Maseratis vs BMWs broke out. When Patrick suggested that Dartmouth’s tennis program was more prestigious than UPenn’s, they almost came to blows. On the bus ride back to the shop, they loudly compared deals they’d each closed in the previous quarter. Neither of them tipped, and Patrick almost hit a dog with his rented Tesla while pulling out of the parking lot.
Gina’s Bachelorette Party
Came to Colorado from Charleston, SC. Jessica, Gina’s best friend from college, organized the trip. Hi Jessica, this is T-Bone, your guide. If you need a plus-one, I can ask my parents to Venmo me some money for a plane ticket. Please come back.
The Witch from Oklahoma
Janine, the trip organizer, left her paddle and lifejacket at the shop. She proceeded to bitch and moan about there being no shade to sit in at the put-in, and that it took ten whole minutes to get another vehicle there with her gear. At lunch, she was outraged that we only had packets of mayo, instead of an entire jar for her to scoop from. At day’s end, a thoroughly sunburned Janine berated the office staff, demanding a refund and insisting that sunscreen was not listed as an essential item in the brochure. She did thank me, but said she would not be tipping, as the shop’s two-dollar ATM fee was too steep. I hate her and that stupid haircut.
Class II Crew on a Class V trip
Bill and the boys graduated from UGA in the late 80s, and clearly lied about taking Class V trips in the past. They all reeked of Michelob Ultra, missed most of the paddle commands I called, and panicked when we got too close to rocks. Al called me a punk when I requested he not light a cigar on the boat, Stan advised me a dozen different times to never get married, and I was concerned Dale might go into cardiac arrest more than once. These guys could make a Caribbean cruise uncomfortable.
Quiet Family of Four
Terrible paddlers. I feared for all of our lives through most of the trip. Definitely questioned whether I’d ever see my mother again. But they tipped me 20%. Would give a 6-Star review if I could.
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