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First-Time Rafter Shocked To Learn River Doesn’t Go In Circle

Raft guide Hannah Clayton (left) grapples with the bewilderment of one of her clients just after informing him that his family's stuff is likely in the hands of meth fiends, or even worse, migrant river rats. Sam Morse photo.

Mountain Town, USA — A Denver-based insurance salesman visiting Ski Town USA with his family Saturday was shocked to learn that his basic understanding of the natural world is completely out of sync with reality. The tourist and family man, 33-year-old Chip McDaniels, had the startling revelation at the end of a whitewater rafting trip on the Snake River.

According to river guides who witnessed the event, McDaniels, who believed that rivers go in circles, initially assumed the trip would be ending at the same place where it began, leading him to leave all of his family’s possessions at the put-in. After much deliberation, the guides collectively agreed that he was "a total dumbass."

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The family's misplaced belongings, which as of press time had still not been recovered, included two iPhones, a Fitbit fitness tracker, a selfie stick, two bottles of Ritalin (for the kids), a bottle of Xanax (for Mom and Dad), dry clothes and, most tragically, several polaroid selfies taken with Yellowstone Bison earlier in the trip.

According to 24-year-old river guide Hannah Clayton, the cold hard confusion of reality hit the family like a “ton of bricks” once the river trip had concluded. Dripping wet and shivering, McDaniels and his wife Beverly began searching the take-out for their possessions, becoming more frantic as their search became desperate.

As politely as possible, I explained to them that the river was not in fact a circle, and that they’d left all their shit 20 miles upriver.

“Finally he asked me where his stuff was, and told me he’d left it because he thought we were ‘just gonna end where we started,’ ” Clayton told TGR during a Skype interview. “As politely as possible, I explained to them that the river was not in fact a circle, and that they’d left all their shit 20 miles upriver. By then, his sons were twitching for their meds and Beverly had broken down into tears. The poor guy just stared into the distance — in his eyes you could see his whole version of reality falling apart. It’s tough, how do you tell someone that they’re basically an idiot?"

Clayton, while stressing that it’s not entirely common, said she wasn’t surprised by the incident. “I knew it was gonna be a rough trip when the mother, Beverly, asked me: ‘How do you keep the rafts on the tracks?’ ”

Calls to McDaniels for his account of events were not returned, but independent reports confirmed that a week after the incident on the river, McDaniels had given all his possessions to charity and had checked in at a local monastery, proclaiming a desire to rid himself of his deep ignorance of the world around him.

From The Column: The Bumion

About The Author

stash member Sam Morse

TGR Editor-at-Large. author of The Ski Town Fairytale and creative behind The Bumion. Lover of steep-and-deep lines, long trails—and hot springs waiting in the distance.

Wouldn’t be a Denver based insurance salesman, but a New York banker that never leaves the city. This is an old story, actually heard a New York banker get confused about the same thing, that was 25years ago.