California Condors Soar Above Grand Canyon Rafters

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. http://www.nps.gov/grca/naturescience/california-condors.htm#CP_JUMP_389302

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!

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 http://gct.convio.net/site/PageNavigator/homepage 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

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!

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.

In 25 Words Or Less . . .

Why would anyone want a slightly-less-than-perfectly-printed hooded sweatshirt from Colorado River & Trail Expeditions? We recently announced the give-away of a limited number of  imperfect Crate “hoodies” on our Facebook page, and invited our Facebook friends to tell us in 25 words, or less, why they would like to have one. Today, we are happy to announce the winners and share their sentiments.

Karen Jones said she wanted the hoodie to “wear when the weather turns cool, as a reminder of my past (lived at the Canyon for 20 years, and what is yet to come!”  As a post-script she noted, “we all have imperfections and are born with flaws, that is what makes each one of us so special!”  Thanks, Karen. These hoodies are, indeed, special. No one, other than our river guides, has owned one until now. They aren’t even for sale!

“I would like one for my son,” wrote Dreama Secrest “He has never been much of an outdoors type of guy and needs to become more active.” Colorado River & Trail Expeditions is an advocate of “No Child Left Inside,” regardless of age or size, and so we are really happy to give Dreama’s son a Crate hoodie and encourage him to enjoy some fun outdoor activities in the months to come.

Anyone that tells us we are “awesome,” is bound to gain some favor. So Jimmy Cook will have a hoodie coming his way. Jimmy also noted that he is 6’7″ tall, “and it’s hard for me to find cool hoodies in XXL.” Nice to know he thinks our hoodies are “cool.”

Paul Mullins figured that “advertising for CRATE is the least I could do after falling out of the boat in the middle of Lava Falls and nearly giving Walker a heart attack.”  Giving Paul a hoodie is the least we can do when he followed the guide’s instructions to “swim towards me as fast as you can!” “You don’t ask questions. You swim.” We like obedient passengers.

Judy Morrow kidnapped one of our Crate mascots after her Grand Canyon rafting trip this summer. Why did she deserve a hoodie after that? “Can I say the reason is that I might be tempted to hold Swampy hostage until I get one? LOL!jk…okay, how about I’ve been talking up CRATE to all of my rafting friends?”  We appreciate word of mouth advertising. It’s the best! We still hope for Swampy’s safe return.

Keith Wiseman said the reason he wants a Crate hoodie is “because the most recent Crate item I have is a yellow mug that I got in 1994 and I need something more up to date.”  We think that a person who can hold onto a  souvenir mug for 17 years has a compelling reason for getting a Crate hoodie. We hope he wears it in good health for at least another 17 years!

We are happy to send a Crate hoodie to Victoria Airey, who has “four framed pictures of the Colorado River in my living room that I look at every day from my trip in the mid-80s, also did the Tatshenshini!”  Victoria has had her pictures on the wall longer than Keith has kept his mug. She definitely deserves a hoodie.

If, like Mary Bridget Kane, you promise to take a repeat river trip with Colorado River & Trail Expeditions, you’ll win a hoodie. Mary Bridget wrote, “I need something to keep me warm when I walk to the groover in the middle of the night on my next trip.”  That’s a good reason.

Nikki Cooley has worked as a river guide for another company, but she “respects CRATE guides as they’ve always been very nice to me on the river. Also, like your sweatshirts, I am slightly less than perfect and I try to make the best of every day, AND a CRATE sweatshirt would be good advertising for you guys.” What can we say? Flattery, humility, and publicity are a winning combination.

We love it when people take one of our trips and have a “life changing” experience. Cade Satterfield will be wearing a Crate hoodie, because we liked what he had to say:  “Trip of my life was a break from all that doesn’t matter and awakening to all that does; family, love, laughter, nature, and adventure.”

From Lina Berman in Israel: “I fly over 9000 miles one way to enjoy your rafting trips and I guess I take the longest flights, that’s why I “deserve” one…”  Lina has traveled with us on multiple river trips, and we have to agree that an 18,000-mile-round-trip flight to take a week-long river trip definitely merits a Crate hoodie. She can cuddle up in it on those long overnight red-eye flights.

Last, but not least, we are sending a Crate hoodie to Okan Gurdil in Ankara, Turkey.  Okan realized that he would probably be ineligible for writing a two page letter and living so far away, but his letter was so nice and compelling that we could not turn him down. “Even if I don’t get a hoodie in return, I wanted to thank all of you for letting me experience nature at its best [on my 2005 Grand Canyon trip]. Much love to everyone who works at CRATE and who have experienced CRATE.”

We feel very fortunate to be in a business that is fun, exciting, adventurous, and attracts such a wonderful clientele. We are flattered that so many people wanted one of our “less than perfect” sweatshirts, and we appreciate all of the entries we received.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rafting Cataract Canyon and Canyonlands National Park in October is Hikers Delight

Hiking in the Maze District of Canyonlands National Park

Hiking off-river in Canyonlands National Park

Our Autumn Canyonlands National Park rafting trip with an emphasis on off-river hiking is one of the best rafting trips on the planet.  Not only will guests have the thrill of running the famous rapids of Cataract Canyon.  They will also have plenty of time to hike to the most scenic and hard to get to places in Canyonlands National Park.

The rafting trips follows the Green River, starting approximately 42 miles upriver of its confluence with the mighty Colorado River and the start of Cataract Canyon.  While on the Green River section rafters will hike to historic Fort Bottom, explore the Turk’s Head, and follow the old stove pipe trail up into the Island in the Sky and the Confluence Overlook.  Depending on time and hiking ability of the group, hikes to Water Canyon, Shot Canyon, and Chimney Rock in the Maze District are a possibility.  In addition, time will be spent exploring around camp and checking out less popular canyons and ruins.  The river is low this time of year and there will be gigantic sandbars to set up camp on.

After the confluence with the Colorado River, participants will enjoy spectacular views of the Doll’s House before rushing into the famous rapids of Cataract Canyon.  The rapids start out slow with Brown Betty, grow in size with the Mile Long series, and then become big and exciting with the famous Big Drops.  After a night in Cataract Canyon the trip will leave the rapids and head toward the headwaters of Lake Powell with great hiking opportunities still abounding in Dark, Bowdie, and Clearwater Canyons.  The trip ends at Hite Marina on Lake Powell.

Our Autumn Cataract Canyon rafting trip is scheduled for October 9-16 in 2011.  Space is still available.  Don’t miss the best hiking and rafting trip in Utah.  Sign up Now!  Or give us a call at (800)253-7328 to learn about all of the details.

Grand Canyon United States Quarter

View From the Nankoweep Granaries

Grand Canyon US Quarter

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In 2010 the United States began minting “The America the Beautiful” quarters featuring National Parks.  The Grand Canyon quarter features the view from the Nankoweep Granaries looking downstream toward the Little Colorado River.  The view is a favorite of Colorado River & Trail Expeditions.  We try to do the short, but strenuous, hike to the granaries and the viewpoint on all of our Grand Canyon rafting trips.

Nankoweep is located on our Upper Grand Canyon rafting trip.  It is located about 52 miles downstream of Lee’s Ferry.  The granaries were used as a storage site by the ancestral puebloan people who grew and gathered food on the delta below.  The view on the US quarter is a great representation of the Grand Canyon.

 

Grand Canyon Rafting & Ranch

Our last Grand Canyon Raft and Ranch trip of the season is slated for September 12-15, 2011.  This trip is a great introduction to the Grand Canyon for those who are short on time.  The trip includes round-trip transportation from Las Vegas, Nevada and will include a scenic plane ride to the Bar 10 ranch on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, a helicopter ride into the depths of the Grand Canyon, floating 50 miles along the Colorado River and its rapids via raft, hard hulled dory, or people powered paddle boat, a jetboat ride through the final 40 miles of the Grand Canyon past the famous “Grand Canyon Skywalk”, and finally, an air conditioned ride back to Las Vegas via passenger van or coach.

In addition to all of the exciting logistics, participants will have a chance to do a variety of western activities at the Bar 10 ranch including riding 4-wheelers, horseback riding, and sleeping in a covered wagon.  On the river portion of the trip participants will engage in a scenic off-river excursion to beautiful Travertine Grotto and challenge about eight Grand Canyon rapids rated 3-6 on the 1-10 Colorado River rapid scale.  Guests will camp at night along the river bank on cots with great dinner meals of Steak and BBQ Chicken.

If you have ever wanted to go Grand Canyon rafting, but just didn’t have the time to do all 278 miles this is the trip for you.  This final trip of the season leaves Las Vegas on September 12 and returns on September 15.  It is a great time of year for this experience.  Call our office now and reserve your space (1-800-253-7328).

Happy 95th Birthday National Park Service!

NPS turns 95 Today!

Happy 95th Birthday NPS

Today marks the 95th Birthday of the National Park Service.  The National Park Service Organic Act was signed on August 25, 1916 by Woodrow Wilson establishing the National Park Service as an agency of the United States Department of the Interior.  The act was sponsored by Representative William Kent (I) of California and Senator Reed Smoot (R) of Utah. The first appointed NPS director was Stephen Mather, who took on the responsibility of supervising and maintaining all designated national parks, battlefields, historic places, and monuments.  Prior to the signing of the NPS Organic Act National Parks and Monuments were managed locally, or by the US Army with varying degrees of success.  The act gave us the eloquent and famous passage on the duty of the newly formed NPS:

“… to conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and the wildlife therein and to provide for the enjoyment of the same in such manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations.”

Colorado River and Trail Expeditions is very thankful for the foresight of the individuals and organizations that fought to protect wild places and preserve open spaces.  We operate in three National Parks in the United States.  We offer whitewater rafting tours in Grand Canyon, Canyonlands, and Glacier Bay.  We also operate in Kluane National Park and Tatshenshini-Alsek Provincial Park in Canada.

Our Grand Canyon whitewater rafting trips travel all 278 miles along the Colorado River through the heart of Grand Canyon National Park.  The Grand Canyon did not become a National Park until 1919 after a long fight to protect it.

Our Cataract Canyon rafting trips travel through the heart of Canyonlands National Park where the mighty Green and Colorado Rivers come together, separating Canyonlands into three distinct areas: The Maze, The Needles, and The Island in the Sky.  Whitewater bigger than the Grand Canyon abounds in the spring.  When the water drops and the temperatures cool down in the fall we do incredible fall hiking and rafting tours to see the sights of the hard to get to “martian landscape.”

Our Alaska rafting trips are the best way to see Kluane, Tatshenshini-Alsek, and Glacier Bay National Parks.  The land is true wilderness where wolverines, bears, moose, and wolves rule the landscape.  These rafting tours give plenty of time to see the sites and enjoy the experience of hiking on Walker Glacier and watching icebergs break off into Alsek Lake.

The National Parks were the United State’s best idea, and we are proud and lucky to operate our business in them.  We wish the National Park Service a happy 95th birthday.

 

Plenty of Options For Grand Canyon Rafting with Colorado River & Trail Expeditions

Colorado River & Trail ExpeditionsOur September rafting trip in Grand Canyon will offers options for everyone.  We will have oar rafts and a dory for those who want to enjoy the ride, and a paddle raft for those who want to challenge the rapids face on.  In addition to our normally scheduled rafting trip September 3-13, we also have a Ranch/Raft expedition scheduled September 12-15 from Las Vegas for those who are short on time.  The Ranch/Raft expeditions will also offer the Dory and Paddle Raft option.  We have a few last minute spaces available.  If you want to experience the Grand Canyon call us now (800)253-7328.The Grand Canyon Rafting is the greatest vacation in the world.