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


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.

 


2013 High Flow Experiment Scheduled For November 11-16 in the Grand Canyon

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

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.

 


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

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.

 

 

 


Grand Canyon Rafting FAQs

Thinking about rafting the Grand Canyon for the first time?  It’s hard to know what to expect on a river trip, especially if you haven’t been before.  We get a lot of e-mails and calls with general questions about our rafting trips.  In an effort to help you better understand rafting the Grand Canyon with CRATE, here is a short FAQ list to answer some questions you may have.

camp near little coloradoQ- What is the best time of year to raft the Grand Canyon?
A- We have scheduled our expeditions during the times of year that we think are most appropriate and enjoyable. It doesn’t really matter when you go. However, as a general rule of thumb, you can think of April and May as the most moderate months as far as temperatures go. It can be kind of chilly on the river, especially when you are splashed in the rapids, but it’s usually perfect for long off-river hikes. This is also the best time to see wildflowers in bloom. June and July are warm and dry, perfect for running rapids and playing in side streams, waterfalls, and natural pools. In August, thunder showers cool things off a bit, and the rain causes cactus and other desert plants to bloom. Early-to-mid September, like the spring months, offers cooler temperatures and ideal weather for off-river trekking.

Q- What is your age restriction for the Grand Canyon?
A- 12 Years and older.

Q- Is there 1-Day rafting available in the Grand Canyon?
A- Access in and out of the Grand Canyon is very limited.  There is a company that provides 1/2 and full day calm water float trips from the Glen Canyon Dam to Lees Ferry (Colorado River Discovery).  They will take 4 years and older.  The shortest rafting trip with CRATE is our Ranch and Raft trip which is 3 days.

Q- Do I really need to bring a rain suit in July?
A- YES!  We highly recommend bringing a rain jacket, at least.  The Colorado River water temperature stays around 50 degrees F year round.  Running rapids in the morning can be cold if the sun hasn’t come up over the Canyon walls. 

Q- What kind of footwear should I bring?
A- Good quality, comfortable footwear.  We recommend one pair of river sandals that can be worn on the raft and also on off river hiking excursions (Chaco, Teva, Keen).  We also recommend one pair of athletic shoes as a backup or an alternative hiking shoe.  Hiking boots are optional, but recommended if you need the foot-ankle support.

Q- How experienced are your guides?
A- Most of our guides develop their expertise through an in-house training program that gives them an opportunity to learn everything about the river business from the bottom up. They participate in numerous training trips as helpers, or “swampers,” and must be able to repair rafts, motors and other equipments before they start operating their own rafts with customers on board. This usually requires two seasons. Most of our guides have a minimum of 3-5 years’ experience. Our veteran guides have been with us from 10-20 years.

Q- What is your operating season?
A- Early April through late September.

Q- How many people per boat?
A-
Our 37 foot motorized “S” rigs can accommodate 12-14 passengers plus 2 guides.  Our 18 foot row rigs can accommodate 3-4 passengers plus 1 guide.  Our paddle raft holds 6-8 paddlers plus 1 guide.

Q- What if I have a group?
A- We gladly welcome groups.  12 people qualify for our 10% Group Discount.  If you are interested in chartering a trip, please contact us.

Q- How far in advance do I need to book?
A- 
Most people book a year in advance.  Our April and May trips tend to fill up faster than our later summer trips.  However, there are usually some last minute cancellations.  Just call or e-mail our office to check availability.  Final payment is generally due 60 days prior to the trip departure date.

Q- Can I book a trip online?
A- We like to deal with our clients directly and get to know them.  Feel free to call us or e-mail us anytime with questions or to sign up for a trip.

Q- Why should we choose your company?
A- If you appreciate personal service and enjoy being treated more like a “friend” than a “client,” you will probably like going with us. From office staff to river crew, we will do everything we can to help you plan, prepare and enjoy your time on the river. Our guides are the best! In addition to their training and experience, they are kind and friendly and enthusiastic. You should also consider we do not overcrowd our trips or our rafts. Our equipment is in excellent condition. We love what we do!

Q- What is your menu like?
A- Delicious Dutch-oven dinners, sandwich bar lunches, and hearty camp breakfasts are provided throughout the river trip. We think our menu will satisfy everyone, from those who are watching calories and cholesterol to those who want to splurge on the richest desserts and the biggest steaks! With ample quantites of fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and pasta, non-meat eaters also have a variety of good foods from which to choose. Hot beverages such as coffee, tea, and cocoa are served in camp. Assorted non-alcoholic cold drinks are available throughout the day. We do not provide alcoholic beverages, but adult guests may bring small amounts of beer, wine, or liquor for their personal use.

Q- What about bathing and bathroom facilities?
A- It is okay to bathe and/or wash in the river, providing you use biodegradable soap and shampoo. Hand washing devices are set up in every camp. We carry clean, easy-to-use portable toilet facilities with us. They are set up in each camp and concealed in large, roomy tents for privacy.

Q- What is a typical day like on the river?
A- Our guides will wake you early in the morning with a call for “coffee.”  When you hear the call, it means time to come to the kitchen area.  After eating your breakfast, you will have a chance to pack your personal camping gear.  The guides will break-down the kitchen and start to load the rafts.  You may carry your gear to the beach area in front of the boats and when the guides have secured the deck, they will ask your your helping loading personal dry bags.  We stop during the day of lunch, usually on a sandy beach along the bank of the river.  After a full day or rafting and hiking, we will find a place to set up camp.  We ask everyone who is able to help the crew unload the boats to form a line and pass gear on the to the beach.  Guides will set up the kitchen and community camping gear while individuals set up their personal area.  Soon after making camp, the guides will begin to cook dinner.  This is often a good time to write in your journal, read a book, or take a refreshing bath or “power nap.”

For more FAQs: http://www.crateinc.com/why-crate

To make a reservation or check availiability please call or e-mail us at:
1-800-253-7328 / crate@crateinc.com
www.crateinc.com

 


Interesting Things You Need To Know About the Grand Canyon

 

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.

Grand Canyon Vacation

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.