Water Education 101 – Grand Canyon Seeps and Springs

Did you ever stop to think, really think, about the relationship of people to water? In the beginnings of human history, people searched for water and migrated to it. They probably respected seeps and springs as sacred places, because they were life-giving and life-saving. Once we learned to harness water and bring it to us, instead of the other way around, most of the magic was lost. Today, in America, we take it for granted that good, cold, fresh, clean water will pour forth from our taps. We give little thought or regard to where this water really comes from, and we wouldn’t know if the source was overflowing or becoming depleted. It’s definitely something to think about – water as sacred, water as life, water as endangered.

This short video about Grand Canyon seeps and springs is beautiful. The amazing scenery, the whitewater excitement, and lovely grottoes and waterfalls, will make you want to visit, or maybe even take a river trip! If and when you go, you will have a better understanding of the importance of seeps and springs in the Grand Canyon.


Colorado River Flows

River Flow is an important things to know before going on a river trip.  In 2014 the Grand Canyon has seen some relatively low flows.  April and May had fluctuations between 5,500 cfs and 11,000 cfs, with the weekends, especially Sunday releases being much lower.  This is because the river is regulated by Glen Canyon Dam which backs up Lake Powell.  These lower flows make some rapids bigger, and some rapids smaller, but all of the rapids become rockier and more technical.  Above Lake Powell the Colorado and Green have gone up and down all spring.  The mountains have a nice amount of snow, but the temperatures have gotten hot and then suddenly cooled off and the flow through Cataract Canyon has taken on the appearance of a Sin wave.  For those interested in learning the flows of the river their are a few different ways.

#1.  Check out the Colorado River Basin Forecast Center River Map:  http://www.cbrfc.noaa.gov/gmap/gmapbeta.php?interface=river another nice feature about this site is you can click on the PEAK FLOW FORECAST LIST and one can see what the most recent Peak Flow forecast is for a particular section of river.  For instance on May 19, 2014 Cataract Canyon was given a 50% chance of peaking at 60,000 cfs sometime in 2014.

#2.  Call 1-801-539-1311.  This phone number goes to a recorded message which tells the river flows for a particular day.  This message is updated daily.

#3.  Buy or download one of the river flow apps on the itunes store.

#4.  For Grand Canyon, where the water is regulated, be sure to check out the Bureau of Reclamation Current Dam Flow Report for Glen Canyon Dam.

High water means a lot of excitement for rafters in Cataract Canyon.  Cataract Canyon is generally considered the biggest whitewater in North America at flows above 50,000 cfs so it looks like 2014 is going to be a big water year.

 


Canyonlands by John Wesley Powell

A Land of Rock

A Land of Rock-Toni Kaus

As we all know JW Powell had a way with words and his descriptions of the Grand Canyon have rarely been equalled.  Having just finished a Spring rafting trip in Canyonlands National Park we had to share Powell’s diary entry from July 17, 1869.  This entry includes the last 40 miles of the Green River’s course before joining the Grand, forming the mighty Colorado River, and plunging into the perils of Cataract Canyon.  The Colorado Plateau is such a unique place and if you have never seen Canyonlands National Park it is a place to put on your list.  The below entry will inspire your imagination:

-Wayne Ranney Photo

-Wayne Ranney Photo

July 17, 1869. - The line which separates Labyrinth Canyon from the one below is but a line, and at once, this morning, we enter another canyon. The water fills the entire channel, so that nowhere is there room to land. The walls are low, but vertical, and as we proceed they gradually increase in altitude. Running a couple of miles, the river changes its course many degrees toward the east. Just here a little stream comes in on the right and the wall is broken down; so we land and go out to take a view of the surrounding country. We are now down among the buttes, and in a region the surface of which is naked, solid rock – a beautiful red sandstone, forming a smooth, undulating pavement. The Indians call this the Toom’pin Tuweap’, or “Rock Land,” and sometimes the Toom’pin wunear^1 Tuweap’, or “Land of Standing Rock.”

Off to the south we see a butte in the form of a fallen cross. It is several miles away, but it presents no inconspicuous figure on the landscape and must be many hundreds of feet high, probably more than 2,000. We note its position on our map and name it “The Butte of the Cross.”

We continue our journey. In many places the walls, which rise from the water’s edge, are overhanging on either side. The stream is still quiet, and we glide along through a strange, weird, grand region. The landscape everywhere, away from the river, is of rock – cliffs of rock, tables of rock, plateaus of rock, terraces of rock, crags of rock – ten thousand strangely carved forms; rocks everywhere, and no vegetation, no soil, no sand. In long, gentle curves the river winds about these rocks.

When thinking of these rocks one must not conceive of piles of boulders or heaps of fragments, but of a whole land of naked rock, with giant forms carved on it: cathedral-shaped buttes, towering hundreds or thousands of feet, cliffs that cannot be scaled, and canyon walls that shrink the river into insignificance, with vast, hollow domes and tall pinnacles and shafts set on the verge overhead; and all highly colored – buff, gray, red, brown, and chocolate – never lichened, never moss-covered, but bare, and often polished.

We pass a place where two bends of the river come together, an intervening rock having been worn away and a new channel formed across. The old channel ran in a great circle around to the right, by what was once a circular peninsula, then an island; then the water left the old channel entirely and passed through the cut, and the old bed of the river is dry. So the great circular rock stands by itself, with precipitous walls all about it, and we find but one place where it can be scaled. Looking from its summit, a long stretch of river is seen, sweeping close to the overhanging cliffs on the right, but having a little meadow between it and the wall on the left. The curve is very gentle and regular. We name this Bonita Bend.

And just here we climb out once more, to take another bearing on The Butte of the Cross. Reaching an eminence from which we can overlook the landscape, we are surprised to find that our butte, with its wonderful form, is indeed two buttes, one so standing in front of the other that from our last point of view it gave the appearance of a cross.

A few miles below Bonita Bend we go out again a mile or two among the rocks, toward the Orange Cliffs, passing over terraces paved with jasper. The cliffs are not far away and we soon reach them, and wander in some deep, painted alcoves which attracted our attention from the river; then we return to our boats.

Late in the afternoon the water becomes swift and our boats make great speed.. An hour of this rapid running brings us to the junction of the Grand and Green, the foot of Stillwater Canyon, as we have named it. These streams-unite in solemn depths, more than 1,200 feet below the general surface of the country. The walls of the lower end of Stillwater Canyon are very beautifully curved, as the river sweeps in its meandering course. The lower end of the canyon through which the Grand comes down is also regular, but much more direct, and we look up this stream and out into the country beyond and obtain glimpses of snow-clad peaks, the summits of a group of mountains known as the Sierra La Sal. Down the Colorado the canyon walls are much broken.

We row around into the Grand and camp on its northwest bank; and here we propose to stay several days, for the purpose of determining the latitude and longitude and the altitude of the walls. Much of the night is spent in making observations with the sextant.

Looking over the Green-Wayne Ranney

 


Got Milkweed?

Got_Milkweed_thumbThe monarch butterfly migration is one of nature’s most wondrous events. Millions of monarchs travel from as far north as Canada to gather each winter in a forested mountain range of Michoacan, Mexico, now a World Biosphere Reserve. Sadly, without milkweed to eat along the route, the incredible long-distance monarch migration is doomed. You can help the monarchs by planting milkweed this spring. It’s a fun and simple way to preserve an amazing migration and beautify your yard!

Over the years, at the Colorado River & Trail Expeditions’ office in Salt Lake City, Utah, we’ve seen a lot of monarch butterflies pass through our yard. We have a wild crop of milkweed that blooms each year and then turns into silver filaments of “cotton” that drift away on the breeze. When we consider how far these dainty monarchs fly on their journeys between Canada and Mexico, we consider their stopover in our yard as a gift. It’s a pleasure to watch them through the window and as we go about our work. With our first river trip launching today, it’s officially “spring,” and time to check the milkweed and make sure it’ getting ready to bloom!

Portions of this article was reprinted from Wild Earth Guardians, http://www.wildearthguardians.org/site/PageServer#.Uzr2vVcVBr8. (highlight and right click on this link to visit the web page).

 


Geologist Wayne Ranney to Host Canyonlands National Park River Trip

An incredible journey to an amazing destination.

An incredible journey to an amazing destination.

Wayne Ranney, world famous geologist, author, and interpreter will be hosting a rafting trip down the Colorado River through the Canyonlands National Park.  The trip dates are May 2-11 and include a 7 day rafting trip along the Green and Colorado Rivers and through Cataract Canyon.  There will also be a ground based field trip into the Island in the Sky District of Canyonlands National Park prior to the river trip.  The land based trip will be based out of Red Cliffs Lodge on the Banks of the Colorado River and will be outfitted by licensed Canyonlands National Park Concessionaire Colorado River & Trail Expeditons.  The trip cost is $3140 per person.

Wayne Ranney is the author of “Carving Grand Canyon” and co-author of “Ancient Landscapes of the Colorado Plateau.”  This will be his second Colorado River rafting trip with Colorado River & Trail Expeditions.  In addition to his great books, Wayne’s interpretation and explanations make Geology exciting and fun.  Besides the rafting part of the trip, there will be numerous off river hikes to explore the Geology and beauty of the area.  There really is no better way to see Canyonlands National Park than by boat and having a geologist the caliber of Wayne will make the trip exceptional.

The river portion of the trip will start at Mineral Bottom on the Green River.  The first couple of days on the river will offer great opportunities to see Native American artifacts and ruins.  Once the river joins the Colorado River the rapids begin.  Colorado River rafting through Cataract Canyon is worth the trip itself.  The rapids of Cataract Canyon can dwarf those of the Grand Canyon at extremely high flows and at low flows the river challenging because it is clogged with huge boulders.  The trip ends at North Wash in the upper reaches of what once was Lake Powell Resevoir.

This trip only has a couple of spaces remaining.  To find out more information call Colorado River and Trail Expeditions at 1-800-253-7328.


Second Annual Rafting Photo Contest Set To Launch

Grand Canyon Kayaking

Licensed Grand Canyon rafting concessionaire Colorado River & Trail Expeditions(CRATE) will be launching their second annual photo contest.  In addition to the photo contest there will also be a video contest.  The contest will launch on Monday March 31, 2014 and conclude on November 30, 2014 at midnight.  There will be three categories:  people, river, and scenery.  The Grand Prize winner will receive a 2015 Grand Canyon River trip and will be selected by a professional photographer.  In addition, the winner from each photo category and the video category will receive their choice of a Desolation, Cataract or Westwater Canyon river trip with Colorado River and Trail Expeditions.  Category winners will be chosen by popularity on Social Media and by fellow rafters.  All photos submitted to the contest must follow all rules, terms, and conditions.   Only photos taken on Colorado River and Trail Expeditions’ trips or of their boats will be accepted.

In addition to the photo and video contest those who submit photos will be able to share the photos amongst fellow rafters from their river trip.  This will be a nice addition to those rafting with Colorado River and Trail Expeditions this year.  Trips usually have about 24 participants so if everyone shares their photos there will be potentially 240 of the best photos from the trip shared amongst the group.

Last year’s Grand Prize winner was David Wille.  David won a space on the Tom Till Grand Canyon Photo trip that will take place May 2-12.  The category winners of the 2013 photo contest were Adrienne Prosser and LeeAnn Peterson.  Adrienne is scheduled to do Cataract Canyon river trip in May and LeeAnn is still deciding which trip she will join.  To see all of the photos from the 2013 contest go to www.crateinc.com.photos.

Colorado River & Trail Expeditions prides itself on introducing guests to nature on high quality outdoor expeditions.  2014 will mark CRATE’s 44th year under original ownership.  For more information about the photo contest or river rafting call 1-800-253-7328 or visit CRATE on the web at www.crateinc.com.

 

 


10 Questions to ask when planning a Grand Canyon Rafting Expedition

Grand Canyon Rafting on the Colorado River

Left Side Run In Lava Falls

#1.  When is the best time to experience the Grand Canyon?

If the focus of ones trip is the rapids and the side canyons with waterfalls then go in June, July and August.   If hiking is important opt for May or April.  Honestly anytime of the year is fabulous.  Many people choose to go in September or October when it is a little cooler and it gets dark earlier.

#2.  Rowing, Paddle, Kayak, or Motor?

Some people prefer the larger motorized rafts while other prefer to be right next to the action in a paddle raft.  With the quiet modern motors used in the Grand Canyon the noise of the motor is not really a bother, but some folks prefer to here the silence and sounds of the canyon on a rowing trip.

#3.  How much time do you have?

If general to travel through the entire Grand Canyon one needs at least 8 days.  A rowing or paddle trip through the entire canyon will take 13 days or more.  There are also shorter trips available that only travel through parts of the canyon.

#4.  What are the different trip options available?

There are a lot of different trip options available.  The best thing to do is see the entire 278 miles of Grand Canyon National Park.  Another popular Grand Canyon rafting trip takes out at river mile 187 via helicopter take-out.  Other options available include hiking in or out at Phantom Ranch, and coming in via helicopter at Whitmore Wash.  These partial trips can be as little as a couple of days on the river.

#5.   How fit do I need to be?

Although living in the elements of the natural world can be tiring, it is not essential to be in great shape to participate in a rafting expedition.  If one has any questions about their ability it may be a good idea to try the Ranch and Raft trip and see if you like it before committing to a long period of time.

#6.  Do you want to do a trip with all of your friends?

It is popular in Grand Canyon to charter a commercial trip for ones friends and relatives.  If this is the direction you are thinking about it is important to plan at least a year ahead.  This is because one can not only organize and customize their trip, but also get a date that will work for them.  Charter trips require a minimum of 24 participants.

#7.   Is there a minimum age requirement?

Commercial companies have different requirements on this.  It seems that twelve years old is a universal age.   Twelve year olds can interact well with adults and are usually old enough to take care of themselves if they end up swimming in one of the many Grand Canyon rapids.

#8.   What is the camping like?

Colorado River & Trail Expeditions is a licensed concessionaire in Grand Canyon National Park.  They supply cots, sleeping bags, tents, and paco pads.  Their bathrooms are clean, hand washing before meals is required, and the meals are incredible .  Common meals include free-range chicken and eggs, natural beef and pork, wild caught fish and vegetarian options.  In other words the camping is deluxe if you are comfortable using a non-flush toilet and washing and bathing in the Colorado River.

#9.  Where do I want to hike?

Lets start by saying that the off-river hiking on a Grand Canyon rafting trip is as incredible as the river portion of the trip.  Hiking and exploring is a must.  Some of the best spots include the Nankoweep Granaries, swimming in the Little Colorado, the waterfalls at Elves Chasm, the geology of Blacktail Canyon, and Deer Creek falls.  One of the hikes intentionally left off the list is Havasu Canyon.  This is because it is overcrowded and dirtier than the rest of the Grand Canyon.  The place would be incredible if it was not so dirty.

#10.  What about the Whitewater?

When someone thinks about Grand Canyon rafting the first thing that comes to mind is the rapids.  Although the Grand Canyon has big rapids full of waves, whirlpools, holes, boils and rocks it is also kind with large recovery zones.  That said the river is still a class IV river and boats flip and accidents happen so it is important to feel comfortable swimming in big water and accepting the risks involved.

If you still have questions about rafting the Grand Canyon be sure to check out Colorado River & Trail Expeditions(www.crateinc.com) on the web or call them directly at 1-800-253-7328.

 

 


Colorado River Rafting in Canyonlands National Park

Ancient Rock art in Canyonlands National park

Rock Art in Canyonlands National Park seen on a Cataract Canyon Rafting Trip

Before the Colorado River enters Lake Powell and above the Grand Canyon is Cataract Canyon.  Cataract Canyon is located in southeastern Utah and is a part of Canyonlands National Park.  This section of Colorado River rafting is famous for its incredible rapids and stunning scenery.  The area is a landscape full of sandstone canyons, grabens, buttes, and mesas.  Cataract Canyon starts at the confluence of the Green and Colorado Rivers, with the rivers dividing Canyonlands National Park into three distinct and unique sections.  Between the two rivers is the Island in the Sky District, here one can find incredible views, arches, and slickrock.  On the west side of the Green River is the Maze district.  This area is full of winding canyons and ancient rock art.  On the East side of the Colorado River is the Needles District full of spires, grabens, and even more ancient rock art.  One could spend a lifetime in Canyonlands and just scratch the surface of the place.

Rafting Cataract Canyon is a great way to explore Canyonlands National Park.  Most trips start on the Colorado River south of Moab at the Potash Boat Ramp and are 3-5 days in length.   After hearing a safety talk and being fitted with life jackets rafters board the rafts and head down river.  After a short ride on the rafts boaters enter Canyonlands National Park.  After lunch the first day there is a great spot to explore a petrified forest.  There are numerous huge trees that have been preserved by being knocked over and covered by mud before oxygen could decompose them.  The next popular stop is Lathrop Canyon.  This is a great spot to see some Native American pictographs that were painted on the sandstone hundreds of years ago.  Most trips camp in this area the first night.

The second day of the trip rafters will get the opportunity to see multiple Native American Granaries which were built to store food in.  The next hike ones comes to on the river is Indian Creek, which in the spring offers a great opportunity to hike to a beautiful waterfall in a narrow canyon.   After a few more miles on the river there is an opportunity to hike over the Loop.  The Loop is a place where the river has made a sharp turn and almost come completely back upon itself.  This allows those who feel like hiking to hike over a saddle of sandstone and meet the boats on the other side.  After a hike over the Loop it is time to relax and enjoy the scenery.  Next the Green River joins the Colorado River and Cataract Canyon officially starts.  Trips usually camp just below the first rapid in Cataract Canyon which is called Brown Betty.   Here there is one of the most beautiful sand beaches on the entire Colorado River system.  This marks the turning point of the calm water to raging whitewater of Cataract Canyon.  This section of rapids during flows above 50,000 cfs has rapids that make the famous rapids of the Grand Canyon seem small.

The next morning offers a great opportunity to hike into the “Doll’s House” of Canyonlands National Park.  This is a very strenuous hike, but if one has the time and the weather is not too hot it is a great place to see.  The best way to describe it would be a palace made of  red stone with secret passages and rooms.  It would be something Martian royalty might have.  Besides the “Doll’s House,” the scenery is amazing and one can get a view of the skyline in all directions and see all the great geology of the area caused by salt, wind, water, and long periods of time.

After returning from the Doll’s House it is time for Colorado River rafting through Cataract Canyon.  The rapids start small, but grow quickly, and before you know it you are in Mile Long, Ben Hurt, The Big Drops, and Waterhole.  At low water these rapids require great skill to maneuver through the huge sandstone boulders, at high water the waves routinely reach 10-15 feet high trough to crest.  After Waterhole Rapid the effects of Lake Powell start to rear their head.  The rapids below this point are covered in silt.  Huge sand banks full of dead trees on each side of the river block ones view of the sandstone.  This is another place where geology is happening.  This time rapidly.  Lake Powell has only been around for about 50 years.  In this short amount of time, sand has been deposited as the current slowed, and the river entered the lake.  Currently the lake is less than 50% capacity and the outlook for filling the lake is not good.  The Western United states is in a drought and an increasing population is demanding more and more water that the Colorado River can not supply.

For more information about Colorado River rafting contact Colorado River & Trail Expeditions(www.crateinc.com).  In addition to running Cataract Canyon they also operate commercial rafting trips


Celebrating Valentine Day with Stories of River Romance

The idea of starting a river rafting business was born in the hearts of Vicki Woodruff and Dave Mackay after they met on a Grand Canyon river trip in 1968. Vicki and her friend, Lucy, hiked down the Kaibab Trail on the morning of August 10, 1968, to join a rafting expedition down the Colorado River. It was something totally new and adventurous for the two LA girls who worked together at Los Angeles International Airport. When they arrived at the boat beach near Phantom Ranch, they were met by the Trip Leader, Dave Mackay, and were soon on their way down the river!

Vicki’s life was never the same again. She fell in love with the Grand Canyon and the Colorado River. Her journal entries tell about “the brightness of the stars at night,” and the “breathtaking scenery.” It was a “magical, mystical experience.” Each new day was an “exciting adventure of discovering beautiful places hidden away in narrow canyons” and “secret grottoes.” She and Dave got to know each other casually during the course of the trip, and she learned that he lived in Salt Lake City when he wasn’t running rivers, and that he was a student at the University of Utah. She told him she would give him a call when she was in Utah over the upcoming Christmas holidays and maybe they could get together for lunch or something.

Vicki Woodruff hiking down the Kaibab Trail to join the river trip Aug. 10, 1968.  Dave Mackay running the boat in the Grand Canyon Aug. 13, 1968.

Vicki Woodruff hiking down the Kaibab Trail to join the river trip Aug. 10, 1968. Dave Mackay running the boat in the Grand Canyon Aug. 13, 1968.

The Christmas get-together led to a long-distance”affair of the heart,” and Dave seemed to appreciate Vicki’s interest in all things Grand Canyon and Colorado River. He sent articles, suggestions of books to read, and told her river stories when they talked on the telephone. The following summer, Dave invited Vicki to go on a Grand Canyon trip and help out. Happily, she agreed and got the time off work so she could go early and help get the trip ready and then stay after to help clean up. To tell the truth, she was clueless in every way. She packed ALL of the canned goods in one big box so it weighed about a thousand pounds! The other guides who worked with Dave probably thought, “oh boy, here we go, can’t expect much from this girl!” But, they put up with her and she did better as the trip went on. Dave started telling her of his dream to start his own company. By the end of the trip, they were pretty sure they were met to run rivers together forever! And, it’s almost been that long! Forty-plus years since they ran the first Colorado River & Trail Expeditions trip in 1971. Vicki and Dave still run the company and show up for work every day. According to Vicki, “there’s never been a boring day! We still love what we do, and we still dream of our days and nights on the river.”

On one of CRATE’s early trips, Vicki’s sister, Iris, came along with her four kids. Daughter Holly, then 17, met Russell Reeder, who was a crew member on the trip. It was “love at first sight,” and it wasn’t long before they got married. They recently celebrated their 41st wedding anniversary, so they are almost as “old” as CRATE! Holly and Russell’s son, Zak Reeder, became a CRATE guide right out of high school and worked 15 years. Even though he now has a “real” job, Zak comes back to run trips for us every now and then.

Over the years, running rivers and canyoneering have also played an important roll in the lives of CRATE guides. Even when they “retire” or “grow up” and get “real” jobs, they can’t seem to get the river water out of their veins. Take for instance, former guide Abel Nelson, who met his wife, Erin, on a Grand Canyon trip in 1990.Abel and Erin Marriage Announcement Picture Abel and Erin Marriage AnnouncementAnd then, there’s Laurel Worden and Shawn Rohlf who worked a good many years at CRATE before settling down and starting a family. As a committed couple, they didn’t see a reason to “formalize” their marriage until this past summer, when they “got hitched in the ditch.”  (The bottom of the Grand Canyon on a river trip.) They couldn’t have chosen a more beautiful or romantic cathedral for their ceremony. Their “vehicle” was appropriately decorated, labeling them “Just Married.”  And the whole thing was sealed with a kiss at sunset.Laurel and Shawn Wedding Ceremony_DSC_0083Laurel and Shawn GC River Wedding Laurel and Shwan Sunset_DSC_0128Some CRATE “couples” actually met each other while working at CRATE. According to the gossip of the day, when Ashley Knight showed up at the Green River warehouse to start her guiding career, all of the young and single boatmen were “smitten.” Jeff Cole was the lucky guide who stole her heart. After their marriage, they settled down to “normal” life in Oregon and are now the proud parents of baby Ruby (could she be named after Ruby Rapid in the Grand Canyon??)

Ashley Knight (center front) and Jeff Cole (right) on the river with Ariana, Kimo and Adam Teel.

Ashley Knight (center front) and Jeff Cole (right) on the river with fellow guides Ariana Brechtel, Kimo Nelson and Adam Teel.  June 2000.

Jeff and Ashley Cole with baby Ruby, Christmas 2013.

Jeff and Ashley Cole with baby Ruby, Christmas 2013.

 John Toner and Kristen Sorenson met each other while working at CRATE. Kristen is the CRATE office manager and John is our senior-most guide. When John realized she was the best swamper he’d ever had, he started sending her flowers. That will melt a girl’s heart, for sure. They were married in Fredonia, Arizona, “the center of the universe” (according to John) and the location of of CRATE’s Grand Canyon headquarters.  John knew Kristen was a keeper when she suggested they celebrate their wedding night in his sheepcamp cabin.

Kristen and John Formal Wedding Picture J and K Kristen and John Honeymoon SuiteAlthough Annie and Chris Parks didn’t exactly meet while working at CRATE, they did meet on the river when Annie Kester was working for another outfitter. We were all happy when she joined the CRATE Crew the next summer. Annie and Chris logged a lot of hardworking years at CRATE while they both finished college and Chris finally got a “real” job as a mechanical engineer. They were married among fields of wildflowers in a remote area near Haines, Alaska, home of Chris’ parents and headquarters of CRATE North.

The Wedding Ceremony of Annie Kester and Chris Parks

The Wedding Ceremony of Annie Kester and Chris Parks

Annie and Chris Parks!

Annie and Chris Parks!

Bill Trevithick was one of the “initial” guides at CRATE when the company was starting out. He taught several generations of CRATE youngsters how to work hard and run a boat safely down the river. Along the way,he met Sue on the river and they began a long-term friendship that grew into a serious relationship and finally (!) to a happy marriage.

Bill and Sue on a Grand Canyon side hike in 2006.

Bill and Sue on a Grand Canyon side hike in 2006.

Bill and Sue Wedding

Mr. and Mrs. Trevithick

Running the river is a big thing in the life a guide. It becomes a part of his or her identity, and most guides never quite give it up. Mike Sneed wanted to share the river trip experience with his fiance, Leslie, before they tied the knot. It’s always a good idea to let a girl or guy know before they marry you, that they will have to share you with the river.

Mike and Leslie on a CRATE trip through the Grand Canyon. Yep! She liked it!

Mike and Leslie on a CRATE trip through the Grand Canyon. Yep! She liked it!

Emile Eckart worked as a CRATE guide until he decided upon a career in the United States Air Force. He came back to swamp trips when he was on leave, and when he met Meredith, he wanted to show her the Colorado River and the Grand Canyon before they formally wed. While on the river trip in August 2013, they were “married” at Deer Creek Falls by the trip leader, “Captain Mackay.” In December, Emile and Meredith followed up with a more formal ceremony at the El Tovar Hotel on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon.

The Deer Creek Falls ceremony in Aug. 2013

The Deer Creek Falls ceremony in Aug. 2013

The "formal" wedding on the South Rim of Grand Canyon.

The “formal” wedding on the South Rim of Grand Canyon.

Walker Mackay didn’t meet Mindy on the river, but he knew she was the girl for him when he took her down the Colorado as his swamper in May 2003. They were married a short time later in November 2003 and chose a place on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon to say their vows. Friends, family, and the Crate Crew gathered on the rim above Buck Farm Canyon, where the Colorado River could be seen far below. The marriage was blessed by a California Condor (#22) that came sweeping up from the depths of the canyon and flew over the gathering.

Walker and Mindy Mackay wedding ceremony,

Walker and Mindy Mackay wedding ceremony,

condor couple

The Crate guide family with Walker and Mindy Mackay at their wedding on the rim of the Grand Canyon.

The Crate guide family with Walker and Mindy Mackay at their wedding on the rim of the Grand Canyon. Front L-R: Mike Sneed, Mary Allen, Mikenna Clokey, Latimer Smith,John Toner, Ashley Knight Cole. Back L-R: Zak Reeder, Shawn Rohlf, Loren Sorenson, Mindy Heyborne Mackay, Walker Mackay, Marc Smith, Kimo Nelson, Jeff Cole, Chris Parks, Annie Kester, Sybrena Smith, Mel Kirkland, and Kristen Sorenson.

It’s fitting that we conclude this blog post with a note about the most recent CRATE Romance.  Bonnie Mackay, daughter of Vicki and Dave and sister to Walker, is also a river running gal who met her fiance, Adam Hiscock, in a chance encounter at Deer Creek Falls while on a Grand Canyon rafting trip. Bonnie was working a CRATE trip and Adam was swamping on a trip with Grand Canyon Expeditions. There must be magic at Deer Creek to bring them together at that particular place and time. Now they are engaged to be married in October!

Bonnie and Adam jumping for joy as they announce their forthcoming wedding.

Bonnie and Adam jumping for joy as they announce their forthcoming wedding.

As long as there are rivers to run and people who love rivers, the romance will continue. Thirty years after his adventurous journey down the Green and Colorado Rivers with Major John Wesley Powell in 1871 (Powell’s second trip), Frederick Dellenbaugh wrote a book titled “The Romance of the Colorado River.”  In the preface he wrote, “I shall never cease to feel grateful. It gave me one of the unique experiences of my life. Now, these thirty years after, I review that experience with satisfaction and pleasure, recalling, with deep affection the kind and generous companions of that wild and memorable journey.”

 

 

 

 

 


Announcing Availability on May Grand Canyon Multi-Sport Vacations

A photo from David Wille taken in the Lower Grand Canyon.

A photo from David Wille taken in the Lower Grand Canyon.

Colorado River & Trail Expeditions has announced availability on two May Grand Canyon Multi-Sport Vacations.  The trips are scheduled for May 10-12 and May 22-24, 2014 and are all-inclusive from Las Vegas, NV.  The trips includes two days of whitewater rafting and one day at a working ranch.  “May is one of the best times to take this particular trip,” commented 20 year Grand Canyon river guide Walker Mackay.

The Grand Canyon Multi-Sport Vacation includes all meals, camping gear, and transportation.  The trip begins with a scenic flight from Las Vegas to the Bar 10 ranch on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon.  Ranch activities includes horseback riding, skeet shooting, and ATV rides.  Evening accommodations include the option to stay in a covered wagon.  While at the ranch guests are fed grass fed beef raised at the ranch.  Nightly entertainment includes a variety show put on by the working ranch hands and cowboys.

The second day of the trip starts with a helicopter ride from the rim of the Grand Canyon down to the Colorado River.  At the Colorado River participants are fitted with life jackets and given an orientation about safety and protecting the Grand Canyon.  The next two days are spent rafting the whitewater of the Colorado River, hiking, and enjoying the beautiful scenery.  Camping takes place on Cots along the river.  Participants are fed healthy meals riverside from the camp kitchen. Highlights of the rafting section of the trip include hiking to beautiful Travertine Grotto and running 232 mile rapid where it is believed the honeymoon couple of Glen and Bessie Hyde disappeared in 1928.

The trip ends with a Jet Boat ride from Separation Canyon, the point where three of John Wesley Powells men decided to leave the Powell Expedition of 1869, to Pearce Ferry.  Points of interest viewable from the Jet Boat include the Grand Canyon Skywalk and the Bat Caves.  At Pearce Ferry an air conditioned Van or Coach will be waiting to take participants back to Las Vegas.

Vacationers interested in learning more about Colorado River & Trail Expeditions’ Grand Canyon Multi-Sport Vacation can visit www.crateinc.com/raft-trips or call 1-800-253-7328.

Colorado River & Trail Expeditions, a leading outfitter in all-inclusive multi-day rafting trips, has been under original ownership since 1971.  They are a small, family owned business, with 20 employees who prides themselves in customer relations and introducing high quality wilderness experiences.  They operate in the Grand Canyon, Utah, and Alaska.