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The Gearboat Chronicles

A Rafter’s Christmas

The Winding Waters crew went to see rafting Santa this week. He’s just like regular Santa, except he has a boathouse up north and is married to a gorgeous river runner gal he met during a Hells Canyon trip. And he uses a gearboat instead of a sleigh.

Instead of malls, you visit him at a boat launch before the holidays. He asks all the rafting guides if they’ve been good this year. Have you kept everybody in your boat dry who wanted to stay dry and only splashed the people who wanted to be splashed?

Then you tell him what you want this year. New polarized sunglasses because you dropped your shades in the Snake River. A set of Sawyer Lite wooden oars to replace the ones you broke on the Grande Ronde.

Rafting guide Christmas calls for decorating the tree with old fishing lures you’ve found along the banks in the past year. Then you hang your Chaco sandals by the chimney with care. Rafting Santa’s not big on milk and cookies, so the traditional snacks to lay out are crackers and sardines with hotsauce and a bottle of Corona.

It’s exciting to wake up and see a few pulls taken off that Corona. If you’ve been good you might find a new headlamp in your Chacos. Sometimes you get SPF 50 sunscreen, which is like getting new socks. Useful, but c’mon.

Hope you’ve all been good this year – and Happy Everything from Winding Waters.