Run Wild! Run Rivers! Rafting Blog

Archive for October, 2011

Colorado River

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The "Cataract Canyon Coyotes" enjoying the highest water in 25 years on the Colorado River in 2011

2011 Brought the Highest Water in Cataract Canyon since 1984

Colorado River

The Colorado River is probably the most famous river in the world. The river flows 1450 miles starting at the Continental Divide in Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado and flowing into the Gulf of California between Baja and mainland Mexico. The Colorado River drains 246,000 square miles in parts of seven U.S. states and two Mexican states.

The most famous sections to raft the Colorado River are through the Grand Canyon, Cataract Canyon, and Westwater Canyon. Colorado River & Trail Expeditions offers rafting trips on these sections as well as on the Fisher Towers 1-day stretch near Moab, Utah. Each trip offers a unique rafting experience full of excitement, beauty, and fun.

Grand Canyon Rafting

The Colorado River whitewater rafting trip through the Grand Canyon is probably the most famous stretch of river in the world. The Colorado River travels 277 miles from Lees Ferry to Pearce Ferry in Arizona. In order to cover all 277 miles of the canyon one needs a minimum of 8 days. Partial trips are available to or from Phantom Ranch and Whitmore Wash. The biggest rapids along the Colorado River in this stretch are Crystal, Lava Falls, Hermit, and Granite.

Cataract Canyon Rafting

Cataract Canyon is located in Canyonlands National Park near Moab, Utah. It is upstream of the Grand Canyon and downstream of Westwater Canyon. The Colorado River joins the Green River right before plunging into Cataract Canyon. Cataract Canyon offers rapids larger than the Grand Canyon at flows above 30,000 cfs and can become awe-inspiring at flows over 60,000 cfs. At lower flows the rapids are much smaller, but still fun. Though exciting, whitewater is just a small part of the experience of rafting the Colorado River in Canyonlands National Park. The sandstone landscape is unlike any other in the world and the mesas, buttes, and graben valleys offers plenty of exploration opportunities. Plan on spending 3-4 days to see this marvelous landscape. The most famous rapids on this stretch are the Big Drops.

Westwater Canyon

Westwater Canyon is located on the Colorado River near the Utah and Colorado border. The trip is short and sweet, covering 17 miles of rapids, sandstone cliffs, and precambrian rocks. Famous rapids along this stretch include Skull, Funnel Falls, and Sock-it-to-Me. This trip can be a destination as an overnight river trip or as part of the Canyon Country experience combining it with hiking, biking, or jeeping in the Moab or Green River, Utah area.

Colorado River Trip Near Moab

This one day stretch is very popular. The Colorado River flows underneath tall sandstone cliffs and over fun rapids. This is great trip for those short on time and is a fun introduction to rafting on the mighty Colorado.

Raft the Green River in 2012

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Green River Trip

Green River Rafting in Desolation Canyon

Don’t miss rafting the Green River in 2012. Colorado River and Trail Expeditions is offering great rafting deals on our Desolation Canyon rafting expedition including a “No Child Left Inside” youth rate of $595.00 for kids 8-20 years old. The trip is 5 days long and is all-inclusive with great meals and camping equipment. Some of the highlights of rafting the Green River in Desolation Canyon include 60 fun rapids, do it yourself paddling options, great hikes, lots of archaeological treasures, and beautiful sand beaches. We are also offering great group rates and discounts.

California Condors Soar Above Grand Canyon Rafters

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California Condor seen while Grand Canyon Rafting

California Condor on a Grand Canyon Rafting Expedition

In 1996, six California Condors were released near Grand Canyon National Park. This was the first time since 1924 that they had soared above the canyon walls. Today over 70 birds fly freely over Northern Arizona and Southern Utah. If you are lucky you might see one of these amazing birds on a Grand Canyon rafting trip.

Here are some fun facts about California Condors:
*California Condors are the largest land bird in North America.
*California Condors have a wing span up to 9 1/2 feet.
*California Condors weigh up to 23 pounds.
*California Condors use thermal updrafts to soar and glide up to 50 miles per hour.
*California Condors travel 100 or more miles a day looking for food.
*California Condors mate for life.
*California Condors do not build nests.
*California Condors lay eggs 5 inches in length and 10 ounces on bare ground.
*California Condors typically lay a single egg every other year.
*It takes 56 days to incubate the egg.
*Both parents share in incubation and feeding.
*Young leave the nest at 5 to 6 months old.
*All California Condors in the Grand Canyon area have numbered tags.
*Grand Canyon National Park Service keeps an update on their site of all the California Condors in the Grand Canyon.

Watching such a magnificent bird soar above the canyon walls is a great addition to any river trip. Those who have seen the California Condor should consider themselves lucky. Join Colorado River & Trail Expeditions this summer and see if you are one of the lucky ones to see the California Condor soar.

Take Action Now to Save the Grand Canyon Again!

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Save Grand Canyon From Uranium Mining

Save the Grand Canyon From Uranium Mining

A new bill, that would be detrimental to the Grand Canyon, has been introduced by Senators McCain(AZ) and Hatch(UT), among others, that would block the United States Department of the Interior from implementing a 20-year moratorium on new uranium mining near Grand Canyon National Park. It is absolutely necessary that everyone spreads the word about this terrible bill. Write letters to your Senators, post this blog to your facebook page, write an editorial in your local newspaper, and let everyone you know see what is going on.

To Take Action:

A letter with a personal touch can be written through The Grand Canyon Trust. This letter can be reached by going to and following the let your Congress know you support Secretary Salazar’s wild lands policy link. Once the letter is written you can e-mail it to your local senators and representatives. The letter can also be printed out with your senator’s address, and then mailed to them.

Our View:

Colorado River & Trail Expeditions
is mystified and disgusted that Republican Senators John McCain and Orrin Hatch, among others, have introduced a bill that would block the United States Department of the Interior from implementing a 20-year moratorium on new uranium mining near Grand Canyon National Park. In June, after months of studies and deliberation, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar decided that “expanded uranium mining around the canyon could threaten water supplies, air quality, wildlife, desert vegetation and priceless scenery.” Once lost, Mr. Salazar said, “those assets can never be reclaimed.” Salazar also announced his support of a full 20 year withdrawal of 1.1 million acres of public land watersheds surrounding the Grand Canyon to new uranium mining claims.

Speaking from the South Rim of the Grand Canyon, Salazar spoke of John Wesley Powell and Teddy Roosevelt in his speech:

To be here—for John Wesley Powell or for any of us—is to be overwhelmed and humbled by the scale of geologic time. The minutes, hours, and days by which we measure our lives are hardly an instant in the life of these canyons. Yet, all of us—by the decisions we make in our short time here—can alter the grandeur of this place…As Teddy Roosevelt famously implored from this very place: “Leave it as it is. You cannot improve on it. The ages have been at work on it, and man can only mar it.”

Colorado River & Trail Expeditions completely agrees with Salazar’s decision for a full 20 year withdrawal of 1.1 million acres of Public land watersheds surrounding Grand Canyon to new Uranium Mining claims. To learn more about this Uranium Mining issue and how it could potentially affect the Grand Canyon, please check out the editorial our guide Walker Mackay wrote for the Salt Lake Tribune. It explains the importance of keeping uranium mining out of the Grand Canyon for our Grand Canyon rafting business and for the public in general.

What our September Grand Canyon River Trip Guests Told Us

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Dory in Grand Canyon Rapids

Grand Canyon Dory Ride

We finished off our river season with two rowing/paddle hybrid trips. One was a total of 13 days, including an exchange of folks at Phantom Ranch, and Whitmore Wash, before reaching Lake Mead. The other was a charter trip of 12 days to Diamond Creek. The crew was told on both trips multiple times how awesome the trip was and that we should be marketing our use of Cots and having a Dory along.

We have taken Cots on almost all of our Grand Canyon Rafting trips for the past 5 years. We have found them to be a nice addition to trips for a couple of reasons. First off, they get our guests off the ground. This makes for a comfortable nights sleep free of sand. Secondly, they allow for air to pass around our guests for a cooler night sleep during the summer months. Finally, due to Glen Canyon Dam, the beaches of Grand Canyon are shrinking, making it harder each year to find big sand bars to camp on. In 2012, Cots will be available on all of our Grand Canyon Motorized, Non-Motorized, Ranch & Raft, and Paddle Trips. We have had a lot of guests ask about our Cots. They are made by Roll-a-Cot. We use the wide model on our rafting expeditions. We also provide cots on all of our Cataract Canyon rafting expeditions. If you are joining us on a Desolation Canyon or Westwater Canyon rafting expedition, just ask, and we will provide a cot for you.

Cots on Grand Canyon Rafting Trip

Sunset at the Ledges

The second thing that both trips commented on was how great it was to have along a Dory. Both of our September rafting trips included oar rafts, paddle rafts, and a Dory. The Dory was a nice addition to the trips and gave a completely different ride than the rubber rafts. Everyone really enjoyed being able to paddle one day, ride in the dory the next, and relax in a rubber raft the next.

2011 Grand Canyon Rafting Season a Great Success!

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On October 1 our last Grand Canyon whitewater rafting trip of the season ended at Diamond Creek. The trip was twelve days in length and was a charter trip of friends from Canada who get together every five years to do an outdoor adventure. They have rafted the Firth River, Coppermine River and Nahanni River over the past decade. The trip enjoyed fabulous weather, never needing tents. The trip consisted of 3 oar rafts, 1 Dory, and a paddle raft. The boats all enjoyed good runs. The trip also did a lot of great hikes and saw a plethora of wildlife including Foxes, a Coyote, Ringtail Cats, Rattlesnakes, Big Horn Sheep, Mule Deer, lizards, Ravens, Red-Tail Hawks, and a Peregrine Falcon. On night nine of the trip we had ‘The Miracle on Sand” as the top Canadian team of Joe and Dave shocked the CRATE team in a best of three washers championship game. It is sad to see the Grand Canyon river rafting season come to an end, but we look forward to a great summer shaping up in 2012.


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