Dec23

The Great Oblication: White Water Rafting in Moab

We woke up in our soft Hampton By Hilton beds, wrapped in our clean white sheets. Things hurt. Things like our calves, our hips and our hamstrings. Memories of yesterday’s hike were alive and well in our legs, our bones, our joints. But that didn’t stop us from bouncing out of bed (well, at least Jorge and I) and prepping for the next adventure. Our trip, as you’ll remember, started off as a work trip to Vegas (obligation) with a massive detour along Utah’s national parks (vacation). Put all that together and, well, you’ve got yourself an oblication.

We rose the kids from their sleep, which wasn’t an easy task. Teenagers and sleep have a special relationship. The littlest one taking on the same mentality. But today, we were going rafting down the Colorado river in Moab. It was time to get up. It was time to get moving. It was time to hit the breakfast buffet, where teenagers and food had an even more special relationship.

We all climbed into bathing suits, drug our suitcases along as we marched to the lobby for homemade waffles covered in a sea of toppings. The kids got a kick out of pouring the batter into the irons, then flipping them, then burying them in syrups, chocolates, whipped cream, sprinkles and so on and so on.

Afterward, we snagged a Hampton’s On the Run™ Breakfast Bag or two and headed toward the rafting site. We’d found it on Google by typing in Moab rafting. Canyon Voyages Adventures popped up, giving us everything we needed. Once there, we were outfitted in helmets, life vests, goofy shoes. Our phones locked up in plastic bags, making it difficult to capture what would happen during the day. Instead, we’d have to capture the memories in our minds.

And what memories they were. Imagine, floating down a river flowing between massive canyon walls that stretched as high as the sky itself. The reds, the blacks, the brows of these rocks. Their sheer size making them impressive beyond belief. And us dwarfed inside them, floating in a bright yellow raft. The water was murky and the day was hot, which eventually drove some of my tribe into the water. And once it did, squeals and screams of how cold it was rang through the air. Those of us who stayed in smacked their hands with the paddles, laughing at keeping them in the crisp water for longer than they wanted. It was fun, being all together, enjoying the beauty around us. It was a moment where everyone was happy, getting along. It was absolutely perfect in every way.

As the river pushed us along, we encountered strong currents. The water smacking giant rocks jutting out of the water. The water turning white. Milly voicing her fear, followed by her enthusiasm as soon as we had paddled past the rougher parts. Saying, “Let’s do it again!” The cold water splashing into the boat. Our skin prickling with goosebumps.

And then, it was done. The bank of the river in front of us. We climbed out of the boat. We unstrapped our helmets and removed our vests.

Second canyon down. Memories set. Good times documented. Kids happy. All in all a good ending to the day’s adventure.

We loaded back up into the car and set out for our next destination. We were supposed to head to Canyonlands to bike through the canyon. But something pulled at us. A need to deviate from our plan. It was as though Zion was calling us. Zion being the mother of all national parks. The kids, exhausted from the physical labor of paddling down the Colorado River, drifted off to sleep almost immediately. The peacefulness of the river drifted into the car as we drove along to our next Hampton by Hilton for the next unplanned leg of this trip within a trip.

As an ambassador for Hampton By Hilton and it’s #RealTravel campaign, I’ve found Hampton By Hilton is an excellent place to park the fam when you’re on a road trip. If you’re thinking about taking an extended weekend trip, consider calling them your home away from home. There are fresh baked cookies in the lobby and no one looks at you funny if you go back for thirds, JSYK. Oh, and then there’s this: Book a three-day weekend and get half off Sunday. You can find more deets here.