Living in a Van, Down by the River


I flew into Colorado on June 1st for a month long adventure of river running on my SUP…all while living out of a sprinter van. My friend Natali picked me up from the airport, and we made our way to Vail, Colorado to prepare for the Go Pro Mountain Games. It had been a year since I last paddled a river, so there were a few wipeouts, spills, and encounters with rocks – but after every run the two of us turned to each other and said – “One more ride?” and hitched our way back to the top of the run at Gore Creek.


The downriver sprint was an interesting set up – each racer started 30 seconds apart at the top and the race winner was the person with the fastest time to the takeout point. I charged hard and had some major wipeouts but somehow managed to come out on top! The event was a blast with the diversity of outdoor athletes and the excitement on the river. I even tried river surfing for the first time!


After the Go Pro Games, I headed over to Moab, Utah to run ‘The Daily’ with Natali – her home stretch that she river guides. After a few days of training in the desert and eating at her boyfriends sushi restaurant every night, we were off to the Payette River Games in Idaho.

standup paddleboard sup yoga moab utahstandup paddleboard sup yoga moab utah

The set up of the Payette Games was unreal – volleyball courts, hot tubs for athletes, and even a mountain man contest complete with ax throwing. The competition was three days of heats in the morning and afternoon, the morning being a 1 mile sprint race with critical whitewater maneuvers after a drop, and the PM event was heats of SUP cross – where anything can happen as you race around buoys in the whitewater. After three long days of competition, I ended up finishing 3rd overall against some tough whitewater chicks. Here is a video of some of the action and other events happening at the games.

Payette River Games



I left Idaho and drove over to Jackson Hole, Wyoming to check out the mountain town before flying up to Toronto, Canada for a SUP Yoga Certification. The Tetons were AMAZING and I had a blast enjoying some hikes around Grand Teton National Park for a few days. I even encountered a family of elks during one of my hikes! I paddled on Jenny Lake in the park and played around with some SUP Yoga poses while gazing up at the snow covered peaks. It was an awesome month doing stuff out of the ordinary in beautiful mountain towns!

<3 Gillian

standup paddleboard sup yoga teton national park