What I’ve Learned on the River

1. Relax. You will be where you should be when the river and your guide takes you there.

2. Togetherness is great. So is a little solitude.

3. Cleanliness is a relative thing. (I wonder, is godliness relative, too?)

4. Where you are going will be beautiful. Where you have been is beautiful. Don’t forget to notice where you are right now.

5. When hiking on a narrow ledge, lean in. The canyon will hold you up.

6. A hike means the guides will reach the end. A walk means some of the rafters will get there, too.

7. Getting to the end of the trail is cool. So is sitting down and letting the beauty seep into your soul.

8. Bats are beautiful.

9. You should push yourself just a little harder than you think you can. You may be surprised at what you can do.

10. Memories are the most precious things we have. We will have many photos of the trip, but it is the memories we should cherish.

*Memories of each other—the “duffle shuffle”, the early morning coffee call, “First last call on the toilets”, the world’s best UNO game, bathing in the colorful Colorado and swimming in the cool clear pools of Havasu Creek.

*How much fun it is to wash dishes, how good peanut butter tastes (on bread it’s good, on chocolate chip cookies it is superb!)

*How wonderful it is that a group of strangers, aged 12 to 72, can become friends.

*How beautiful the sunrise and the moonset are in the Canyon.

*How the white clouds define and sharpen the blueness of the sky.

*How the chaotic schist contrasts with the ordered calm of the sedimentary rocks.

*How grateful we are to have shared this experience with all of you. Thank You!

—Barbara Meyers
Guest on Colorado River & Trail Expeditions-Rowing/Paddle Grand Canyon Rafting Trip

Grand Canyon Rafting in September? Camps will be beautiful!

Since the middle of May of 2011 the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon has been flowing at or above 20,000 cfs at a constant flow. This has made for great river trips, rapids, and plenty of time for off-river hiking and exploration. Another nice thing that will come from this high water is that when the water drops the beaches will be huge, clean, and beautiful. This drop will come at the beginning of September when the river is dropped to a steady flow of 15,000 cfs for September and October. There is still some space available on our September Grand Canyon rafting trip. Be sure to check out our webpage for all of the details about our Grand Canyon rafting trips

Camp at Nankoweep on Grand Canyon Rafting Trip

Grand Canyon Camping in Style

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Why is the Little Colorado River Turquoise Blue?

Little Colorado River

Why is the Little Colorado River Blue?

When you pour a glass of ice cold water out of one of our 7-Gallon Orange Gott Coolers the water may appear colorless, but water is actually a faint blue color. Water’s natural blue color is easy to see when one looks at deep bodies of water such as the oceans, and deep mountain lakes such as Lake Tahoe. The color of water does not come from light scattering(why the sky is blue) nor dissolved elements and compounds(such as copper). Water absorbs the red end of the visible spectrum, thus when we look at water we see the complementary color of orange which is blue. When one observes dark blue water they are looking at deep water that has absorbed most of the orange. When one looks at turquoise colored water they are looking at water that has only absorbed a little of the orange. Pure water actually derives its color from, and is the only known example of natural color caused by vibrational transitions. Vibrational transitions have to do with the molecular form of water.

There are other factors that can change the color of pure water. For example the Colorado River when it flows out the bottom of Glen Canyon Dam is green in color due to green algae in the river, and the natural color of the Colorado River is a light tan color due to suspended brownish colored silt. Small particles in rivers can scatter, absorb, and reflect light. In the case of the Little Colorado River and Havasu Creek, they are very rich in lime due to to the sedimentary rock layers they have cut through. In addition to the lime scattering light in these streams, the calcium carbonate in the lime coats the bottom of these waters with a white bottom. The white light reflected off objects can be seen when no part of the light spectrum is reflected significantly more than any other color. Thus in swimming pools, the Little Colorado River, and Havasu Creek, the deeper the water the darker the blue color, due to more orange absorption of the sunlight from the water and the white bottom reflecting all colors equally.

“Google +1″, Colorado River & Trail Expeditions, and Grand Canyon Rafting

“Google +1″ Colorado River & Trail Expeditions

Google +1

Google +1 Rafting with CRATE

Recently Google has added the “+1″ button to searches and websites. To use this feature you must have a Google account and be logged in. Then when you click on a “+1″ button you are saying to friends, contacts, and the rest of the world “you should check this out” or “this is awesome.” One way to think of the +1 button is like a sticky note someone leaves for you at home that tells you about a great product or company. The Google “+1″ button gives your stamp of approval!

Colorado River & Trail Expeditions has recently added a “+1″ button to our website and we are asking anyone who has had a great experience with us on the river to click on the button and recommend us to the rest of the world. Our Google “+1″ button is located on the left hand side of our homepage below Alaska Rafting and above our Facebook link. Colorado River & Trail Expeditions is celebrating 40 years(1971-2011) of Grand Canyon Rafting, Utah River Trips, and Alaska Wilderness Vacations.

September & October–An ideal time for rafting in the Grand Canyon and Utah’s Canyonlands

Raft the Grand Canyon, Cataract Canyon or Westwater Canyon this Fall

September & October Rafting on the Colorado River

Here at CRATE things are starting to slow down. Our 40th season on the river has been fun, busy, exciting, and successful. As we head toward September we still have a few trips with space available on them. September and October are great months for Grand Canyon rafting and Utah River trips on the Colorado River. Cooler temperatures and great weather combine for great hiking, rafting, and photography opportunities. Here is a brief rundown of the trips and tours we still have space on for 2011. If any of these trips strike your interest give us a call now at (800)253-7328 and mention you saw them on our Run Wild! Run Rivers! Rafting Blog.

Westwater Canyon     August 26-27, September 17-18

Cataract Canyon Fall Rafting, Hiking & Photography Trip    October 9-16

Grand Canyon    August 31-September 8   9-Day Grand Canyon Motor Trip

Grand Canyon    September 3-13   11-Day Grand Canyon Rowing/Paddle Trip

Grand Canyon    September 3-7   5-Day Upper Grand Canyon Rowing/Paddle Trip

Grand Canyon    September 7-13   7-Day Lower Grand Canyon Rowing/Paddle Trip

Ranch & Raft Grand Canyon From Las Vegas     Motorized August 28-30, Dory,Rowing, or Paddle September 12-15

Off-River Hiking on a Whitewater Rafting Trip

View From Nankoweep Granaries

When you choose to take a whitewater rafting trip with Colorado River & Trail Expeditions a big part of that trip is the off-river hiking, swimming, and exploring. One of the common questions we get at our office is “What will the hiking be like?” This is a hard question to answer because every trip is different. The hikes we do on a river trip depends on multiple components including the hiking ability of the group, the water level of the river, what other groups on the river are doing, the weather, and the time of year. That said, in general we do more hiking that any other company on the river. Especially on our Grand Canyon rafting trips and Fall Canyonlands/Cataract Canyon rafting expeditions.

The hikes we do on our rafting trips are always optional and most offer an opportunity for our guests to push themselves as much or as little as they want. Some of the hikes we go on are less than a mile long, up side canyons with a smooth gravel bottom such as “Blacktail Canyon” in the Grand Canyon. Others follow a well worn trail, but require a big elevation gain such as the “Doll’s House Hike” on our Cataract Canyon trips, or the “Nankoweep Granary Hike” in the Grand Canyon. Sometimes we will pack a lunch and some of the group will do an all-day hike, while others relax and read at a huge waterfall right next to the river. One of the common hikes we do on our Green River rafting trips through Desolation Canyon is a hike up to an old bootlegger still that has a well worn trail about a mile each way in length.

On the other end of the spectrum we do a lot of hikes that require hiking, climbing, and clawing over boulders and rocks and may not follow any trail at all. One example of this would be doing the short boulder strewn hike to “Elves Chasm.” This is a hike almost everyone can do, but it does require hiking over and around huge boulders. Also many of our hikes follow the bottom of river channels with and without water. These hikes usually require hiking over and around rocks.

All of the off-river hiking we do on our rafting trips is amazing. Many lead to beautiful pools of water and waterfalls, others lead to ancient ruins of the Ancestral Puebloan people or more modern Miner Camps, and some lead to amazing natural features or breathtaking views. When you go on a whitewater rafting trip with Colorado River & Trail Expeditions it will become apparent to you that the rapids and canyons are amazing, but so are the hidden gems off the river. Our rafting trips allow enough time to do these off-river hikes and see these amazing places. Seeing the river and experiencing the rapids is only part of an incredible rafting vacation.

Basic Grand Canyon Geology. “Dude the Grand Canyon Rocks!!!”

How and when the Grand Canyon of the Colorado River was formed is a very complex undertaking. Although many of the details are constantly changing with new scientific data there are some ideas about the formation of the Grand Canyon that are almost universally accepted. This is where “Dude the Canyon Rocks” comes into play.

D-Deposition
U-Uplift
D-Down-Cutting
E-Erosion

Deposition-In order for a canyon to exist there must be walls. The Grand Canyon contains sedimentary rock that ranges from over 1 billion years old to 270 million years old. Over this huge amount of time sediments were deposited by marine environments as well as terrestrial environments as the ocean came in and covered the area then receded multiple times. An easy way to imagine the deposition of multiple layers of rock is to image books stacked on top of each other. At the bottom of this stack of sedimentary rocks is the Grand Canyon Metamorphic Complex dating back to 1.75 billion Years.

Uplift-Uplift of the Colorado Plateau and the sedimentary layers of the Grand Canyon started about 75 million years ago during the Laramide Orogeny, a mountain building event that also helped create the rocky mountains to the East. A unique thing about the uplift of the Colorado Plateau is that it was uplifted more like a table top than a mountain range. This made the cutting of a canyon much easier.

Down-Cutting-The Colorado River acts as a stationary saw as the plateau around it is uplifted.

Erosion -Erosional forces of wind and water continually widen, deepen, and expand the Grand Canyon. Anyone who has taken a Grand Canyon rafting trip has seen these powerful forces at work.

What does CRATE stand for in the rafting world?

CRATE boats camped across from Deer Creek

"CRATE" rafts and crew after an incredible day at Deer Creek Falls

Colorado River & Trail Expeditions is our official company name. Most of our friends and guests over the years refer to our rafting company as CRATE. CRATE is an acronym that stands for Colorado River & Trail Expeditions. When our company first formed in 1971 the only section of river we ran was the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon. In addition to rafting we also led backpacking trips into the Grand Canyon and did overnight hiking trips away from the river. As time progressed we expanded throughout Utah and Alaska running different rivers and seeing more incredible places. We eventually quit doing the backpacking tours, but kept the focus on off river hiking in conjunction with our whitewater rafting. We like to get up early on our rafting expeditions and make the most of each and everyday. When taking part in a Grand Canyon rafting expedition the off-river side canyons are just as impressive as the main corridor itself. If you have ever watched one of our rafts pass under the Kaibab Suspension Bridge, or sat atop the Grand Canyon skywalk peering down with binoculars you have noticed the very subtle “CRATE” sign at the front and back of our rafts. When you come down the river it will all be clear, and you like the 1000′s of people we have taken down the river will just call us CRATE. We run great river trips with the best and most organized rafts and river guides on the river.

Grand Canyon Ode

Colorado River thru the Grand Canyon, 7/11

A bighorn ram I am not.
Me. I sleep upon a cot.
And I piddle
In the middle
Of the river.

I wear bright orange on the boat
If I dunk then I will float.
Watery froth I often meet
And if I’m hot its very sweet.

Our guides are super
They haul the pooper
With ease. And in the kitchen
They create food bewitchin’.

And when our Walker says its time
To land on sand we’re soon to dine.
And Mindy does double work with smiles
With grace and strength, over many miles.
And Megan shoots a mean water gun.
So our Boston men must even run.

Our guides take good care of us all
Whether our goals are big or small.

And Mike our fine teach
Diverse topics does he reach.
He brings books and games
Things wild and tame
Serious and hilarious.

Jeremy, Kristin and Noah
All so bright and gung ho(a).
Helping and yelping,
Boating and floating.

In all, a smashing, splashing venture.
An incomparable adventure.

–Jane Bunin

Grand Canyon Rafting iphone/ipad App

Grand Canyon Rafting App Now Available

Grand Canyon Rafting App

One of our guests on our April 2011 Grand Canyon Rafting trip has built an app for ipad and iphone available at the itunes store. Larry Ketchersid’s company “Josara” has built the app around a hike-in/helicopter-out Grand Canyon Rafting trip he took with Colorado River & Trail Expeditions this past April. Larry was part of a group of 14 friends who had always wanted to hike into the Grand Canyon at Phantom Ranch and then helicopter out at Whitmore Wash. The trip was 5 days in length and included some awesome hikes, funny stories, and a great group dynamic. A similar trip is availabe April 16-20, 2012.

The App is called “Cecil does the Grand Canyon with a pop-tart” and is available in the itunes store. The app includes a map of the Grand Canyon, a good story, and some awesome photos and multimedia. Check out the app to get you through the winter and then come experience the thrill in 2012.