It’s me, the lady who eats soggy M&Ms off your floor. You might know me best as the guide with the purple cam straps, the one who sings Justin Bieber songs in the flat water. Or maybe you’d recognize me as that gal who gets a little too close to the wall in Black Bar Rapid. Whoever I am to you, I need you to know who you are to me — you’re my greatest adventure. It’s time to tell you how much you mean to me.
This is a love letter to you, my 16-foot partner in crime—a praise to all your nooks and crannies; your ability to bounce back when life gets you down; your wild spirit.
How could I not adore everything about you? The way you rock me to sleep after a long, hot day. The inviting warm sparkle that emanates from your tubes at sunrise. The resilience you show when I accidentally slam you into rocks. You’re a perfect reflection of what I strive for in myself.
You’re a warrior. You’ve got battle scars that tell stories of grand adventures—patches that prove your victories. Remember that time in the Fish Ladder when you slipped away from me? You had your first taste of real freedom and, boy, did you love it. You loved it so much you danced in the current for two miles. I can’t imagine your disappointment when you saw me swimming behind you, when you felt my angry hands tie you up with 20 knots that night. I’m so sorry raft. I don’t constrain you to take away your freedom, but rather, because you give me mine.
Together we have been to the deepest depths of the world. We’ve been through canyons and mountains; floated from one corner of the Earth to the other. You were with me the first time I saw a black bear and the first time I heard a canyon wren. You were there that night when I cried myself to sleep, when I thought I might not be a good enough to be a river guide. To say you know me would be an understatement. You’ve helped build me.
Without you, I’d know no freedom—no moonlight star-gazing, no barefoot pebble-skipping, no Dutch oven enchiladas. You’re my best friend, my trusty co-pilot, my home.
From the bottom of my mermaid heart, thank you raft.