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The Stories That Stick With You

I remember a long time ago when I was very young, I came on a Western River trip down Westwater Canyon. My family and I were in Utah for spring break, and considering my father’s past, you best believe we were going to be going down the river. After a very in-depth safety speech, we boarded our boat to go on our merry way down the Colorado River. This was honestly the best day of our entire trip. Our guide, Mckenna, was fun, engaging, and just made the day so incredible. To be completely honest, I don’t even remember how the rapids were that day, or how hard we hit them, but what I do remember is all the inside jokes our boat had about random TV shows, and the whole boat making fun of how fast my brother said his intro (don’t worry, he was a champ about it), or how my family and our guide were the only people who jumped into the ice cold water. But these are the things that I remember from that trip, these connections and experiences were the things that stuck with me.

When I was young, I remember thinking how strong and bold those guides were. How the things they said really stuck with me because I respected them, and wanted to be just like them. They commanded the mighty Colorado River like it was easy.

Now, I know that it wasn’t just something easy to them. It takes a lot of hard work and dedication to be able to go down that river, and to be able to gain the knowledge to educate others about it. I know I still have so much to learn, but I’m so glad that so many other great guides before me have paved a path to show me the way.

Since then, I’ve come back to Western and become a full blown river guide. It’s crazy to think that now I’m that girl on the back of the boat, not only guiding through some pretty sweet rapids, but hopefully helping to create experiences that will last a lifetime. The guides who work here put their heart and souls into the river.The guides at Western care so much more than just taking you down the river, they want to hear about you, your lives, and make memories that will stay with you long after you return home. Everyone has their own story and it deserves to be heard. Mckenna heard ours. And I can’t wait to hear yours.

Kelty Heppler

I’m a second year river guide at western, but got my start working in the Moab Adventure Center. I was raised in Vancouver, Washington, but once I made the trek to Utah for this job, there was no going back. When I’m not day dreaming about being on the river, I attend Utah Valley University and study Digital Cinema . I love anything arts related, but my heart truly lies in the great outdoors.

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