you float the Colorado with World Wide River Expeditions
you float a family operation. That’s not just a flashy
catchphrase- they know from personal experience what it’s
like to vacation with a family. The whole Hazlett family
pitches in to provide guests with a relaxing, memorable adventure.
Just like you would invite friends and family over to your
backyard for a BBQ, we invite you, as friends and families
to come and play in our Backyard.
Photo by Action Shots
It all started several years ago when a
college friend persuaded Steve Hazlett to go with him to
a job interview. As it turns out, Steve got the job (although
his friend didn’t) and began his guiding career with
the company World Wide River Expeditions.
Like many young guides, he worked in the summer and went
to school in the winter. Then he took a break from the river
to serve a mission in Hawaii for The Church of Jesus Christ
of Latter Day Saints. Upon returning to Moab after two years
away, he met a young river guide girl from Arizona. Her name
was Nicki, and she too worked for World Wide.
The rest is history. They fell in love with the river, the
town, and most of all each other.
As a married team Steve and Nicki soon became managers and
eventually owners of the company. They worked away the summers,
studied in the winter, and began their own family.
Today, World Wide is quite the family business. Nicki runs
the office, taking care of schedules, reservations, and nonstop
phone-ringing. Steve is fully committed to making sure everything
works properly, from ammo cans and sleeping bags to raft
valves and the fleet of busses and trucks. It takes a lot
to keep everything rolling.
“As managers,” says Nicki, “it was busy
and exciting. As owners it is a full time occupation, but
we still make sure we have fun too!”
In addition to the equipment and technicalities, Steve and
Nicki care for their five (soon to be six) children and around
26 river guides. As part of the “family company” feel,
even the Hazlett children play a part in helping things run
Ivy, age 16, manages the kitchen. She organizes and prepares
food for hundreds of people each week with the help of her
9 year-old sister, Lily. Jed and Zak, ages 14 and 12, spend
much of their time on the river. They accompany many trips
as the “ducky patrol,” making sure that all the
inflatable kayaks go where they need to and stay out of trouble.
Some people don’t take the boys seriously because of
their age. But listening to them ensures that you hit the
best part of the rapid and avoid the worst. Even 5 year old
Eli helps out by keeping guests wet with his squirt gun while
they are waiting for the bus to leave. All of the Hazlett
children were “born and raised” on the river;
they know its moods and hydraulics better than most of the
World Wide River Expeditions is a magnet for the young guides
that actually do the river trips. Many of them are students;
all of them are friendly, able, fun-loving young men and
women. The guides live and work at the “warehouse yard” where
the company is located. They spend lots of time with each
other and the Hazletts, essentially becoming a family themselves.
River trips allow them to meet all kinds of people and work
at a job they love. “Most people pay to come out here
and do this. But I get paid to do it. It’s a great
job!” Chris, a 21-year old World Wide guide, chuckles
as he digs his paddle into the water.
The variety of trips is impressive. World Wide operates mainly
on the Colorado, but there are also trips venturing to the
Green and Salmon Rivers. Many guests choose the one-day Fisher
Towers section just outside of Moab because of its fun, splashy
rapids and famous scenery and then learn about other trips
and return another year to experience one of them. Other
trips near Moab include the 3 day Cisco (named for the ghost
town of Cisco upstream of Moab), overnight daily, and hours-long
half day. There is also the one, two or three day Westwater
Canyon trip which start upstream from Moab near the Colorado
For the more adventurous rafters, World Wide offers 3, 4,
or 5 day trips to scenic Cataract Canyon. The rapids that
made the river famous, along with the rugged beauty of the
canyons, allow guests to fully experience all that Canyonlands
has to offer. But it’s not all adventuring and roughing
it. The remoteness of the canyon contributes to the sense
of total immersion in the rugged, beautiful wilderness.
The boats in their fleet is impressive.
The smaller rafts and inflatable kayaks are used on the river
up stream from Moab on the daily section and in Westwater
Canyon. The larger boats, the S rig, which will easily hold
13 people, are used in the bigger waters of Cataract Canyon.
The configuration of the fleet depends upon the number of
people and the condition of the water.
Each of the trips is an adventure and offers a wide variety
of water rafting experiences and offers to the guests a chance
to experience the stability of the row boat which is also
usually carrying the food and beverages for the trip. Or
you can get more involved in the paddle boats where you provide
the power and locomotion while an experienced guide steers
the raft. And for those with a greater desire for the feel
of the river, the inflatable kayaks or duckies are provided.
Usually the less adventurous get more and more interested
in the duckies as the trips progresses and usually they too
will give it a try.
While Steve and Nicki are fully committed to the business,
Steve has other activities and has been cited by Grand County
as EMT of the year in 1996 and was awarded “Emergency
Medical Stamina Award” in 2002. Off season Steve teaches
at the local high school and Nicki tends to the home and
family and volunteers at all 4 schools her children attend.
Their community commitment is as real as their dedication
to their business. With all the pressure of the business
both Steve and Nicki stress, “We just want to have
fun.” Now days they may only get to float the river
once or twice a year, the atmosphere at the boatyard or on
the river is one of fun and excitement.
But with the river literally in their back yard they cannot
forget their first love and a business; that is bringing
their love of the rivers to many others who come for the
experience and usually return for more. Even with their off
the main drag location they are one of the largest and oldest
river rafting companies in Moab.
For more information contact Nicki or Steve by phone at 435-259-7515,
or tollfree 800 231-2769. Their Moab office is located at
625 Riversands Road. Their world wide office is located at