Photo Contest will end at the end of November

Colorado River & Trail Expeditions has been running a photo contest this entire year.  The photo contest has three categories: people, scenery, and river.  The winners of the photo contest are chosen based upon their popularity on social media.  The winner of each category will receive a multi-day rafting expedition on through one of Utah’s Desolation, Cataract, or Westwater Canyons.  The Grand Prize winner will receive a river rafting trip through the Grand Canyon in 2014 with acclaimed photographer Tom Till.

The contest will end at midnight on November 30, 2013 and the winners will be announced shortly after.  If you have a photo in the contest be sure to promote your chances of winning by getting everyone you know to vote for your photo.  If you don’t have any photos in the contest make sure to go to the Colorado River & Trail Expeditions website and browse the incredible artwork on display and be sure to vote for your favorites.

Backbend by Marsha Gale

Backbend by Marsha Gale

Fall Grand Canyon Rafting Project-Painting Side Tubes

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.”

fall rafting projects

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 South Rim and The Power House Building

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.

 

 

 

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

7 Fun Things to do in the Grand Canyon

If you are planning a trip to the Grand Canyon, you may wish to try out the following 7 things to have a memorable and fun-filled Grand Canyon vacation.

California Condor seen while Grand Canyon Rafting

California Condor on a Grand Canyon Rafting Expedition

 

 

  1. Ride a bike. The Grand Canyon has miles of green biking trails and rim side roads that let bikers enjoy stunning views of the Canyon. Biking in the Grand Canyon is full of fun and adventure. Further, if you are short on time, it is indeed a quick way to see the canyon.

 

  1. Try out hiking. Want to experience the enormity of this natural wonder? Do some hiking, even if it’s just a few miles below the surface. As you traverse these mighty trails, you would get to feel the incredible vertical scale of the Grand Canyon. Just ensure that you are physically fit as hiking at such high elevation can be dangerous for people with certain medical conditions.

 

  1. Go white water river rafting. There is no better way to see the canyon. White water river rafting promises the adventure of a lifetime.  One will soon find out that in addition to the rapids there are hundreds of fabulous side canyons with waterfalls, pools, vertical walls, and fascinating geology.

 

  1. Rent a car to hit on all the major highlights of the Canyon in a day. Renting your own car gives you the freedom and flexibility to explore the Canyon at your own speed and convenience. You may take a guided tour if you want. Guided tours are great if you do not know much about the Canyon. By being with someone who knows the place inside out, you can rest assured of a great vacation in the canyon.

 

  1. Take a mule ride if you want to have some fun on your Grand Canyon vacation. Mule rides are usually available at Bright Angel Lodge but you should check if they are available or not. Watching the mules is as much fun as riding on their back. Stop by the mule barn in the Grand Canyon to watch the mules.

 

  1. Do you enjoy camping? Even if you have never tried it before, you can plan a camping excursion in the Grand Canyon. Just make sure to acquire a permit to camp around the Grand Canyon before you set your camp.

 

  1. Visit Hermits Rest, Hopi Point, Mohave Point, Lookout Studio, Kolb Studio, and Hopi House. Though there are many other places to see, these are definitely a must-see places. These places are fun to be at and unique in their own way. Further, you can get some great photographs at these places.

 

Taking your holiday in the Grand Canyon can be a lot of fun. Just make sure that you plan your holiday well in advance and take a lot of great photos. You should come back home with great memories that you would cherish for ever.

What to Bring On Your Colorado River Rafting Trip?

Grand Canyon Rapids are rated on a 1-10 Scale

Lava Falls is a Class IV to V Rapid Rated 8-10 on the Colorado River Scale

The mighty Colorado River offers a fantastic rafting experience to one and all. The sections of the river that flow through Westwater Canyon, Cataract Canyon, and the Grand Canyon are deemed to be some of the most dramatic stretches of river on Earth.  Rafting along the Colorado River will give one memories they will never forget. Floating along in the river one will enjoy the sky-high sandstone cliffs, exciting rapids, and amazing wildlife.

If you are a first time rafter and are confused as to what to bring along, here are some tips:

 

  • Swimsuits/shorts that can dry out quickly
  • Raincoat
  • Warm jacket
  • Warm hat and visor
  • Loose and comfortable T shirts, fleece tops and bottoms, hooded sweatshirts
  • One or two pair of shoes that can stay securely on your feet and will not slip off your feet
  • Sunglasses with neck strap
  • Sunscreen lotion with SPF
  • Flash light
  • Water bottle
  • Change for buying Souvenirs or post cards of Colorado River and Grand Canyon
  • Fishing gear
  • Camp toys such as cards, Frisbee
  • Soap, shampoo, hand wash tooth brush, toothpaste, and other toiletries (Try to get biodegradable stuff to avoid polluting the river since you would be washing over there)
  • Insect repellent
  • Lightweight binoculars for enjoying the amazing wildlife
  • Camera to capture the special moments of your Colorado river rafting trip

 

Enjoy Colorado River Rafting Trips and make your time memorable!!

 

Top 10 Whitewater Rafting Destinations in the US and Different Whitewater Classes

River Rafting is one of the most adventurous and thrilling water sport activities.   Rapids and sections of whitewater are rated based on their difficulty to navigate.

Colorado River and Trail Expeditions has prepared a very informative Infographic titled ‘Colorado River and Grand Canyon River Rafting’. This has two sections.

The first section demonstrates different type of rapids based on their difficulty levels as per International Scale of River Difficulty. The rapids range from Class I – VI and have waves, rocks and other obstacles.

The second section demonstrates top 10 whitewater rafting destinations in the US and their difficulty levels.  In this chart the Grand Canyon is ranked as the best destination for whitewater rafting.

Top 10 Whitewater Rafting Destinations.

Top 10 Whitewater Rafting Destinations.

 

RaftGrandCanyon.com a great information website for Grand Canyon Rafting

Raft Grand Canyon

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.

10 Interesting Facts about the Grand Canyon

The Grand Canyon, one of the most fascinating and intriguing natural wonders of the world has always attracted tourists from the farthest corners of the world. The raging waters, treacherous ravines, gargantuan cliffs and an enviable flora and fauna of the exquisite wilderness make the Grand Canyon one of the most sought out natural wonders. And it is not only the Grand Canyon white water rafting that attracts tourists to this magnificent natural wonder. The Grand Canyon region offers a host of activities for every tourist. Apart from a thrilling Colorado River rafting experience, when in the Grand Canyon, you can indulge in activities such as trekking, walking, bird watching, cycling, photo shoots, camping, hiking, visiting the museums and simply marveling the scenic beauty that the region possesses.

 

So you think you know the Grand Canyon? Here are some interesting facts about the Grand Canyon that will make your trip even more remarkable –

  • Scientific research suggests that Grand Canyon took around 3-6 million years to formed.
  • It was carved owing to the erosion caused by the Colorado River.
  • The Grand Canyon was discovered by Garcia Lopez de Cárdenas in 1540.
  • There are around 90 species of mammals, 250–300 species of birds, and 25 species of reptiles that live in the Grand Canyon.
  • As the North Rim is higher in elevation than the South Rim, the climate there is cooler. Owing to the unpredictability of the climate and possibility of snowfall, the North Rim is open to tourists only during the early fall, late spring and summers.
  • An estimated 5 million people visit the Grand Canyon National Park annually.
  • For Pueblo Indians, the Grand Canyon is a holy site with various spiritual connotations.
  • The Grand Canyon is the second deepest canyon in the world, the first being Yarlung Tsangpo Grand Canyon in Tibet. The Grand Canyon’s average depth is approximately 1 mile.
  • The Grand Canyon floor contains fossil footprints of more than 20 species of amphibians and reptiles. Even though, no fossilized reptile teeth or bones have yet been uncovered.
  • The Grand Canyon has remained a popular movie shooting location with famous movies such as Into the Wild, Transformers, The Thief of Baghdad and Due Date, among others, shot here.
Rafting the Grand Canyon is a Must!!

Rafting the Grand Canyon is a Must!!

 

The Grand Canyon is a perfect place for a fun-filled vacation. Select the best Grand Canyon tours provider and immerse yourself in the magnificence of this mystifying natural paradise.

Studying Elusive Mountain Lions at Grand Canyon

This article was recently published in the Grand Canyon Association magazine, “Canyon Views,” Vol. 20, No. 2, Spring 2013.

Although you can see many wildlife species at Grand Canyon, from small Abert’s squirrels to plentiful elk, some are more elusive. With patience and a trained eye you might catch a glimpse of a bighorn sheep scrambling up a cliff or a condor flying overhead. It’s rare to see a mountain lion, however. And that’s one of the reasons park wildlife biologist Brandon Holton finds them so intriguing.

“I love getting into the mind of a mountain lion and trying to figure out why are they going where they go,” he says. “It’s almost like being a CSI investigator.”

The mountain lion (Puma concolor), also known as the puma, cougar, panther or catamount, is a large cat whose habitat ranges from the Canadian Yukon to the Southern Andes of South America. Up until 10 years ago, little was known about these animals at Grand Canyon. Then, in 2003, the National Park Service began a biological study of mountain lions to uncover their habitat and behavior, how they impact park resources and whether they are a danger to humans. In 2008, Brandon took over the program. Since then, he and his team have put GPS collars on 32 cats – 22 on the South Rim and 10 on the North Rim – and typically track five animals at a time.

The most revealing places to study mountain lions are where they take down and feed on their prey – locations called kill sites. “It’s interesting to do kill site investigations and to recreate them,” says Brandon. “Why are they using a certain habitat? Where did they stalk the animal? Where was the ambush, and what was the struggle? I see all different types of burials, drags and day beds.”

Typically, males eat as quickly as possible and move on, spending one to five days at a site, depending on the season. Females will stay on longer, generally until the carcass is picked clean, especially when they are caring for older cubs. And yet one time. Brandon tracked a younger male who killed a bull elk and sat on it for 20 days. He had observed this mountain lion as a younger cat, and over time watched as the cat got bigger and bigger.

“When he was about three and a half, I walked in on him. He was 30 feet from me, and he had just gotten off a kill. He had to have known I was there, but he couldn’t have cared less. He just rolled onto his back, and his stomach was just so distended. This is not typical behavior when humans are nearby.”

Another cat, a female that was collared in July 2011, also exhibited atypical behavior. She dropped into the inner canyon in November and didn’t come out until April. She was mainly feeding on bighorn sheep and some mule deer. The female crossed the river four different times, always just below Turquoise Rapid. “Thus far, almost all of the collared cats remained on the rim year-around and rarely visited the deep inner canyon,” says Brandon, “but there could be more occurrences like this that we’re not tracking.” This uncommon behavior is one of the reasons the park is studying these powerful and solitary animals.

Mountain lions in Grand Canyon, especially males, typically have a very broad home range – about 150 square miles. Grand Canyon lion studies are run jointly between the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and Grand Canyon National Park Service (NPS) to increase sample sizes, distribute study costs and allow researchers to look at mountain lion ecology on a larger landscape scale. The lions roam far beyond the park’s borders; almost every collared mountain lion has used surrounding U.S. Forest Service land as much as, if not more than, the park itself. For example, two subadult males in the study dispersed south from Grand Canyon to the Flagstaff area.

Humans have virtually no reason to fear mountain lions. These cats avoid humans because they don’t see us as prey. We, however, can be very dangerous to them: 60 percent of collared mountain lion deaths are are due to hunting outside the park, and the second most common cause of death is being hit by a car, especially on East Rim Drive. Mountain lions cross the road, which parallels the rim, to set up their beds for the day. Their deaths could be greatly reduced if only people watched for animals and used caution when driving in the park.

In recent years, the joint NPS/USGS research program has begun to study predator-prey relationships, particularly interactions between desert bighorn sheep and mountain lions. As more is revealed about Grand Canyon’s largest wild predator, the ecosystem as whole can be better understood and protected.

One interesting result of Brandon’s study has been the contrast in behavior between South and North Rim mountain lions. The following data reflects what his team has learned from the mountain lions they have collared.

SOUTH RIM
Prey: 65% elk, 30% mule deer
Age: 2-1/2 years old
Range: South Rim cats rarely go into the inner canyon = 95% of collared cats have stayed on the rim.

NORTH RIM
Prey: 95% mule deer (there are no elk on the North Rim)
Age: 2-6 years old
Range: North Rim cats have gone into the canyon more often than South Rim cats to hunt desert bighorn sheep, especially during winter when the mule deer on the North Rim disperse to lower elevations.