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

 

Planning for a Multi-Day Desolation Canyon Trip

Looking for peaceful destination simply to unwind? Then look no further than Desolation Canyon. Have you not heard of the place before? This is one of the remotest spots of the popular Colorado Plateau, surrounded with picturesque landscapes and natural sceneries.

This area even becomes more stunning when you encounter the Green River that cuts through the Tavaputs Plateau. Desolation canyon is enriched with cottonwood trees and a wildlife. Additionally, the awe-inspiring sandy beaches make the place perfect for camping along the river.

So what about planning for a multi-day Desolation Canyon trip?

Multi-day trip 

This place offers great opportunity if you are looking for a 5 to 6 day river rafting trip on the Green River.  Besides the wonderful red rocks, Desolation Canyon also gives you various opportunities to view famous historical sites, hiking to beautiful places, and much more. 

Enjoy like never before, only at the Desolation Canyon.

 

Green River Raft Trips and Ray’s Tavern

Ray's Tavern Neon Sign Glows Brightly

Ray’s Tavern Neon Sign Glows Brightly

If you have ever been to Green River, Utah and not eaten at Ray’s Tavern consider yourself deprived.  Ray’s is famous for their hamburgers and home cut fries.  They also have a great selection of other grilled foods including Chicken and Pork Chops.  In the Colorado River & Trail Expeditions family it is customary to stop at Ray’s after our rafting trips and whenever we have a large contingent in Green River.  Usually the place is packed with over 100 people in the small inside dining room and the outside picnic benches.  It has been in Green River since 1946.

If you are coming on a Desolation Canyon river trip or Westwater Canyon Trip make sure to plan on a night at Ray’s before or after your river adventure.  You won’t be disappointed.  Rays is located at 25 Broadway.

Another great time to visit Green River and Ray’s Tavern is during Melon Days.  One year the CRATE crew was around town after a fall Cataract Canyon.  We hand carved a Melon Helmet and headed to the celebration.  It was a fun night and the Melon helmet was a hit.  Everyone in Ray’s wanted a chance to wear it.

Via Magazine Highlights Green River

Via, the magazine of AAA recently did a rafting trip with Colorado River and Trail Expeditions on the 1-day section of Gray Canyon.  The river trip was in conjunction with a weekender article about heading to Green River, Utah and exploring the area.  Other attractions listed in the article included the “Good Water Rim Trial”, “Crystal Geyser”, the “John Wesley Powell River History Museum,” and “Goblin Valley State Park.”

The trip leader on the trip was Alex Jensen and is quoted in the article calling Green River and Gray Canyon “a special place that no one knows about.”  We think Alex’s description of the area is right on.  Green River is a special place that is often less crowded and overlooked due to the popularity of nearby Moab.  The area has a remote beauty to it and the Green River 1-day section is as good of a river trip as the Colorado River 1-Day section above Moab.

Colorado River & Trail Expeditions generally meets our guests in Green River, Utah for their trips on the Green River as well as many of our Westwater Canyon river trips on the Colorado River.

Rafting

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.

 

Paddling Strokes for Beginners [Infographic]

Paddling Strokes Infographic by CRATEINCC.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 Guides for Dummies: How to Paddle a River Raft [Infographic]

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 paddlingPaddling Guide for Dummies Infographic by CRATEINC

Archaeologist Speaks on Utah’s Nine Mile Canyon

Green River Archaeology

“Jerry Spangler talks about 9 Mile Canyon and Desolation Canyon”

For our lunch hour the CRATE team decided to go up to the University of Utah and listen to Jerry Spangler, professional archaeologist, Director of the Colorado Plateau Archaeological Alliance, and expert on Utah’s Nine Mile Canyon.  Spangler’s presentation “Nine Mile Canyon:  The Archaeological History of an American Treasure” is named after his new book which chronicles the history of archaeological research in the area dating back to 1890.

For those unfamiliar with the area.  Our Desolation Canyon river trip on the Green River originates at Sand Wash.  Just below Sand Wash on river right Nine Mile or Minnie Maud Creek joins the Green River.  This Nine Mile Canyon is known as the “world’s longest art gallery”, and it is believed to be home to one of the most concentrated areas of Rock Art in the United States.

From the presentation we learned that 9-mile canyon is actually 45 miles long and John Wesley Powell had actually named Rock Creek, further downstream in Desolation Canyon, 9-Mile Canyon because he had spent some time mapping there.   Unfortunately somewhere along the way Powell’s map has been misinterpreted.

In addition to the wonderful photos of the archaeology of the area Spangler gave a very interesting history of the archaeologists who have worked in the area.  Colorado River & Trail Expeditions is really excited because we have a Desolation Canyon Archaeology Rafting Expedition slated for June 1-8, 2014 and Spangler or one of his crew has agreed to join us on the trip and talk about the area and show us some of the sites they have found.

For more information about CRATE’s Desolation Canyon Archaeology Rafting Expedition call Vicki at 1-800-253-7328.