Rafting by definition is “the sport or pastime of traveling down a river on a raft.” Rafting to us is much more. It is the thrill and excitement of rapids. It is the great bonds you make with fellow river rats. It is the journey to discover nature and get back to your roots of wildness. It is the beauty of side canyons and the sounds of wildlife. It is more than one could ever put into words.
A multi-day rafting trip is the ultimate getaway. Not only do you have a chance to disconnect from the strains of modern technology, but you also get to relax and bond with friends, family, strangers, and yourself. If you have been thinking about doing a rafting trip this is the year. Colorado River & Trail Expeditions has some great trips planned in 2014 including an archaeological based rafting trip through Desolation Canyon. We are also planning on heading north to Alaska to run the Alsek and Tatshenshini rivers.
River trips are nice because once you arrive at the meeting point for a trip you don’t have to worry about anything until the trip ends. All of your food, and sleeping accomodations are taken care of. Your only requirement is to sit back and enjoy the place.
The Department of the interior will conduct a high flow experimental release next week from Glen Canyon Dam. This is consistent with the High-Flow Protocol and is related to the sediment input that has occurred below Glen Canyon Dam. Those on our “Epic” September rowing trip through the Grand Canyon know the area received an incredible amount of precipitation with the Paria River and Little Colorado River bringing over 5000 cfs each into the system at one time during September. Supposedly there is about three times more sediment in the system this time compared to the last high flow experiment in 2012.
Water released for high flow experiment in 2012 from the Bureau of Reclamation
This management of the Dam is done to restore the beaches and habitat in the Grand Canyon. The idea is to bring sediment up from the bottom of the river and deposit it on the sides in the form of beaches. Before Glen Canyon Dam the Colorado River would flood every spring and leave behind huge amounts of sand as the water receded into summer and fall. This would clear off the vegetation below the high water line and clean the sand on the beaches. The hope of these high flow experiments is to recreate these conditions. These conditions still happen naturally above Glen Canyon Dam in Canyonlands National Park and Cataract Canyon.
The real difference between the historic floods and these man made floods is the volume of water and length of time of the flood. A natural spring flow in the Grand Canyon would regularly bring 80,000 to 125,000 cfs while the scheduled man made flood this time around is expected to peak at 37,200 cfs and last about 96 hours. Another thing that puts a big damper on beach building is the loss of sediment in the Colorado River due to Glen Canyon Dam. As Lake Powell slows the water of the Colorado River the sediment all drops out. This is why below Glen Canyon Dam the water comes out clear and cold..,,
Our experience on the river has been incredibly beautiful beaches immediately after one of these flooding events. Unfortunately as the season goes on the beaches tend to return to their original size or even smaller due to the fluctuating dam flows, monsoons, and natural weather conditions. This loss of sediment is a huge problem and we commend those who have worked so hard to get this adaptive management in place. As the population continues to rise in the southwest the demand on the water is increased every year we hope new solutions will continue to arise and the Grand Canyon as a resource will always be protected.
After the Grand Canyon rafting season ends it is time to start preparing for next April. One of the projects that we undertake is the maintenance on our side tubes. This entails fixing any problems and painting the tubes. We do this work In Fredonia, AZ aka the “Center of the Universe.”
The Side Tubes for Grand Canyon Rafting
The first step is to take the tubes out of the warehouse and inflate them outside of our building. Once the tubes are inflated we check to see if any of the tubes are leaking air or need rubber work. Then we fix any and all problems by sanding and glueing patches back onto the tubes. It is amazing how well these tubes hold up. They are built incredibly well. Most of our sidetubes were built by the Uniroyal Tire company. The biggest problem this year seemed to be the grommet patch on the front of the nose of the tube that we lace to our raft and use as a step for our whitewater rafting guests. Some of the grommets had been pulled out by the incredible force that is placed on these grommets as large waves hit and try to separate the sidetube from the raft.
After the patching and glueing was done it was time to start sanding the old loose paint off of the tubes. This is a time consuming task but sometimes it is nice to do a project that you don’t have to think about too much and can just let your mind wander. Once the tubes are sanded down we have to mask them so we don’t get paint on the places we don’t want. Then it is time for the painting. This is the best part of the project.
Painting the side tubes goes quickly and it is great to see how good the tubes look.
The last couple of days we have been at the South Rim of the Grand Canyon for our annual Grand Canyon National Park Concession meetings. It was good to see all of our fellow river outfitters and National Park personnel. Time was spent reviewing our past season and what to expect for next year. We always feel lucky to travel to the South Rim and peer down into the abyss of the Grand Canyon. It is a spiritual experience and it reminds us of the exciting and fun times rafting along the Colorado River.
At the head of the Bright Angel Trail there is a new, very nice area complete with bathrooms to wait for fellow hikers. The Kolb studio was showcasing some amazing paintings of the Grand Canyon many of which were for sale. If you get to the rim definitely check out the artwork on display. Other highlights included waking up to dusting of light snow and running along the rim of the Grand Canyon along the “Trail of Time.”
Another thing we got to check out was the “Power House” building. There is talk to take this incredible old building, which used two Fairbanks-Morse continuous-duty Type D Diesel generators to supply power to the South Rim, and transform it into a museum for art or historic boats of the Grand Canyon. The building has a lot of character with high ceilings and lots of windows. The generators are still there as well as the power switches with their original labels: Indian Garden Pump; El Tovar; Fire Pump; Bright Angel Lights and Power; USNPS; Train Yard; Turbine Cooling Tower; Power House. On the other side of the building is the old Ice House where ice was made to supply the lodges and restaurants. It will be exciting to see what becomes of the Power House over the next couple of years.
C.R.A.T.E., Colorado River and Trail Expeditions presents a wonderful Infographic titled ‘Paddling Strokes for Beginners’. It has been created to outline the basics of paddling a raft. It adumbrates the 6 common paddle strokes a rafter must be efficient at.
The Infographic reveals:
- Names and visual guide of the different types of stokes
- The effect of each stroke while rafting
- ‘How-to’ steps for each stroke
Paddling a river raft is pretty challenging task for beginners as they have to work as a team to guide the raft down a river and through whitewater rapids. Paddling involves both skill and the ability to work with others as a team.
C.R.A.T.E., Colorado River and Trail Expeditions presents wonderful Infographic titled ‘Paddling Guides for Dummies: How to Paddle a River Raft’. It has been created to outline the basics of paddling for beginners. It adumbrates the common paddling techniques a rafter must be efficient at.
The Infographic reveals:
- Names and visual guide of the different paddling techniques
- The effect of each paddling technique
- ‘How-to’ steps for paddling
Planning a vacation to Grand Canyon? Given below are some interesting things about this amazing year-round holiday destination. Increase your basic knowledge about this natural wonder and make the most of your holidays.
The Grand Canyon is full of beautiful waterfalls hidden in its side canyons.
- The Grand Canyon is 277 miles long and 18 miles wide
- There are a lot of controversies related to the age of the Canyon. Earlier studies state that the Canyon is 5-6 million years old (“60-Million-Year Debate on Grand Canyon’s Age”. New York Times.)
- A study published in journal Science in December 2012 revealed that the Grand Canyon could be as old as 70 Million years.
- The Grand Canyon has amazing wildlife. It has approximately 70 species of mammals, 250 species of birds, and 25 different types of reptiles.
- Of the various reptile species that are found in the park, the Grand Canyon Pink Rattlesnakes are quite interesting. They have evolved in a way that their color is similar to the rock layers around them.
- Although first afforded Federal protection in 1893 as a Forest Reserve and later as a National Monument, Grand Canyon did not achieve National Park status until 1919, three years after the creation of the National Park Service.
- Grand Canyon National Park covers a total area of 1900 square miles and is roughly 277 river miles long
- Archeological remains from the following culture groups are found in Grand Canyon National Park: Paleo-Indian, Archaic, Basketmaker, Ancestral Puebloan (Kayenta and Virgin branches), Cohonina, Cerbat, Pai, Southern Paiute, Zuni, Hopi, Navajo, and Euro-American
There are millions of facts and stories about the Grand Canyon. You can learn about them by reading books and researching online. The information gathered can lead to a better understanding of the Grand Canyon and surrounding areas on your vacation.
The Grand Canyon is a great place to plan your next vacation.
Planning a trip to Grand Canyon is both exciting and confusing. If you are going to Grand Canyon for the first time, here are some tips to help you plan nearly perfect Grand Canyon family vacation:
- First and foremost, check out the weather before you start with all the preparations. You can search the web to find out the best time to visit the Canyon. The period between March and May and then from September till November is considered to be the best time to enjoy vacations in Grand Canyon. Summers are warm and busy. To enjoy discounts and offers, you may plan your holidays in the winter months though you may have to bear the cold.
- Next you must decide how you will get there. Depending on the availability of time, your budget, and personal choice, you may reach the Grand Canyon by train, or you may board a flight or drive on your own.
- Decide which part of the Canyon you want to visit. South Rim is ideal for family vacation due to abundance of services and hotels. If however you are looking for fun and adventure, visit Grand Canyon North Rim. North Rim is quieter than the South Rim and is ideal for couples as well. If you want to avoid going on high altitudes and want to experience the bottom of the Grand Canyon instead, consider Grand Canyon West on the Hualapai Indian Reservation.
- Make a list of things that you would want to do when in Grand Canyon. Exciting Colorado River rafting trips, hiking, biking, mule rides, and Grand Canyon air tours are some of the endless things you can do out there. Browse the web to find out what’s best to do in Grand Canyon. You may take help of a tour operator to plan the itinerary depending on the availability of time and your personal interest.
Finally, make the bookings well in advance and confirm them before you leave. Ensure that everything is in order and you would have a great time on your Grand Canyon vacation.
Colorado River & Trail Expeditions has been honored with this award for 2013
Colorado River & Trail Expeditions has been awarded a 2013 Certificate of Excellence from Tripadvisor.com for its rafting trips. This is the second straight year C.R.A.T.E. has received this accolade, which honors hospitality excellence. This accolade is only given to tour companies that consistently achieve outstanding reviews on Tripadvisor from their guests. Only about 10% of those companies and organizations listed with Tripadvisor.com receive this prestigious award.
In order to qualify for this award CRATE had to maintain an almost perfect rating as reviewed by travelers. Additional criteria included the volume of reviews received during the past 12 months.
CRATE is honored to be rated so highly by their guests and is grateful for all of its wonderful employees who put together such wonderful trips.
RaftGrandCanyon.com is a great information site for planning a Grand Canyon rafting trip.
The website RaftGrandCanyon.com is a great information tool to use to plan a Grand Canyon rafting expedition. The site has information about the different type of boats, the different river sections of the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon, and a timeline of events in the Grand Canyon. In addition the website contains information about the early river runners and advice about what time of year to raft the Grand Canyon. Colorado River & Trail Expeditions who has been under original ownership for over 40 years believes this is the best Grand Canyon information site on the web for those who don’t know a lot about rafting the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon.
There are all kinds of different boats used in the Grand Canyon. There are motorized rafts, oar rafts, paddle boats, kayaks, and dories. The website shows photos of the different boats and explains the advantages of each craft.
When doing a grand canyon rafting tour there are always choices to be made concerning how many days guests want to spend on the river and if guests want to do a complete trip or just a partial trip. The website explains about the options available and what you will see.
RaftGrandCanyon.com also has a timeline of events in the Grand Canyon and a brief summary about the early rafters and explorers in the Grand Canyon. Do you want to know about John Wesley Powell, how about when Grand Canyon was declared a National Park, or which president enlarged it to its present size. This website contains a plethora of Grand Canyon information.
When planning a trip to the Grand Canyon a common question is which month is the best time to raft the Grand Canyon. The RaftGrandCanyon.com website has an entire page devoted to this question and points out the positives and negatives of each Spring, Summer, and Fall month.
If you are planning a commercial rafting trip, a private rafting trip, or just looking for some information about the Grand Canyon. Make sure to take a look at RaftGrandCanyon.com.