Geologist Wayne Ranney to Host Canyonlands National Park River Trip

An incredible journey to an amazing destination.

An incredible journey to an amazing destination.

Wayne Ranney, world famous geologist, author, and interpreter will be hosting a rafting trip down the Colorado River through the Canyonlands National Park.  The trip dates are May 2-11 and include a 7 day rafting trip along the Green and Colorado Rivers and through Cataract Canyon.  There will also be a ground based field trip into the Island in the Sky District of Canyonlands National Park prior to the river trip.  The land based trip will be based out of Red Cliffs Lodge on the Banks of the Colorado River and will be outfitted by licensed Canyonlands National Park Concessionaire Colorado River & Trail Expeditons.  The trip cost is $3140 per person.

Wayne Ranney is the author of “Carving Grand Canyon” and co-author of “Ancient Landscapes of the Colorado Plateau.”  This will be his second Colorado River rafting trip with Colorado River & Trail Expeditions.  In addition to his great books, Wayne’s interpretation and explanations make Geology exciting and fun.  Besides the rafting part of the trip, there will be numerous off river hikes to explore the Geology and beauty of the area.  There really is no better way to see Canyonlands National Park than by boat and having a geologist the caliber of Wayne will make the trip exceptional.

The river portion of the trip will start at Mineral Bottom on the Green River.  The first couple of days on the river will offer great opportunities to see Native American artifacts and ruins.  Once the river joins the Colorado River the rapids begin.  Colorado River rafting through Cataract Canyon is worth the trip itself.  The rapids of Cataract Canyon can dwarf those of the Grand Canyon at extremely high flows and at low flows the river challenging because it is clogged with huge boulders.  The trip ends at North Wash in the upper reaches of what once was Lake Powell Resevoir.

This trip only has a couple of spaces remaining.  To find out more information call Colorado River and Trail Expeditions at 1-800-253-7328.

Chicken Salad Recipe

Over the years, we’ve had many compliments and questions about the meals we prepare on our river trips.  We thought we would share a recipe with those of you who would like to try preparing one of more popular lunches at home.

Chicken Salad Wraps (Serves approx. 5)

– 2-3 Cans (7.5 oz) Canned Chicken- 2 Cups Celery
– 1-2 Tomatoes
– 1 Cucumber
– 1 Red Onion
– 2 Cups Red Grapes
– 1 Cup Whole Cashews
– 1 Head of Romaine or Iceberg Lettuce
– Mayonnaise
-1 Package of Tortillas

Open/drain the Canned Chicken and add to a large bowl.  Dice Celery, Tomatoes, Cucumber and Red Onion and add to the bowl.  Shred the Lettuce and add to the bowl.  Add Red Grapes (can be whole or sliced in half) and Cashews.  Add enough Mayonnaise to get the consistency you want and mix all the ingredients together.

Serve in a tortilla and enjoy!

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Spring in Canyonlands Rafting, Hiking, and Geology with Wayne Ranney a GREAT SUCCESS!!

Colorado River & Trail Expeditions April 27-May 6, 2013 Spring in Canyonlands Trips was hosted by geologist and author Wayne Ranney.  The trip included 6 nights camping on the banks of the Green and Colorado Rivers in Stillwater and Cataract Canyon.  In addition 3 nights were spent at Red Cliff’s Lodge on the banks of the Colorado River above Moab.  Everyone arrived at Red Cliff’s Lodge the evening of April 27.  On April 28 Wayne led a land based tour around the Island in the Sky district of Canyonlands National Park.  Stops included Upheavel Dome and the Canyonland’s overlook of the Turk’s Head.  The tour came back to Moab via the Shafer Trail.

The next day, after a quick suburban ride to the Moab airport everyone was loaded onto planes for a 10 minute flight into the bottom of Stillwater Canyon.  The flight was spectacular in every sense.  The Plane flew down Hell Roaring Canyon most of the time under the rim of the plateau.  Then the plane made a sharp left turn following the Green River to the Mineral Bottom airstrip.  The plane landed on a weed covered dirt runway and we had to turn the plane around manually so it would be able to take off.  The rafts had come down from Green River, Utah about a 70 mile trip to meet the group at Mineral Bottom.  After a quick orientation everyone was loaded onto the rafts and the adventure began.  Shortly after we left ,Wayne was pointing out the incredible geology of Canyonlands National Park.  After a deli lunch on a sandbar we hiked to the hill top ruin at Fort Bottom.

Metoposaurus-An amphibian that lived 220 million years ago

Metoposaurus-An amphibian that lived 220 million years ago

On the way up to the ruins we saw fossilized scutes left behind by Metoposaurusan amphibian that lived during the Triassic Period over 220 million years ago.  These amphibians have been measured up to 10 feet in length.  We also saw petrified wood and checked out the old “Outlaw Cabin” in addition to just taking in the incredible view.  Camp was set up at the beach below Fort Bottom and Outlaw tales about Butch Cassidy were spun around the campfire.

 

 

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Fort Bottom Hilltop Ruin

The second day of the river trip started with a geology presentation from Wayne about the younger rock layers of Canyonlands including the Navajo, Wingate, Chinle, and Moenkopi Formations.  We also were able to check out the Geological Map of Canylonlands National Park and get a bering on exactly where we were in the Colorado Plateau.  On the river stops were made at the rincon and abandoned river channel of Anderson Bottom, the Turk’s Head, for looking at ancestral puebloan granaries and checking out the chert knapping sites used by the ancestral puebloans to craft arrow heads and other tools, and Lunch.  Camp was set up just below Horse Canyon which is 37 miles below Mineral Bottom.  During the night we had a big windstorm and enough rain to set up tents for.  You know it is a great trip when everyone is laughing and telling jokes at one in the morning during a 60 mile an hour windstorm with rain in April.

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View Looking Upstream From Above Stovepipe Camp

Our third day on the river trip took us just 8 miles down river to the Stove Pipe trail and hike.  We set up camp early and ate lunch,  then we hiked up the stove pipe trail about 1300 vertical feet and a couple of miles to an incredible view of the Maze and Needles Districts of Canyonlands from the Island in the Sky.  After checking out the landscape we continued to an amazing double arch in the Cedar Mesa Sandstone.  After hiking to the arch we checked out an old burned down Cabin and peered straight down to our camp on the banks of the Green River.  After the hike everyone went for a swim in the River to wash and cool off.  That evening we had a great dinner followed by a night of SMORE cooking perfections.

 

An incredible journey to an amazing destination.

An incredible journey to an amazing destination.

The morning of the 4th day of the river trip we started with a great lecture from Wayne and then headed down to the Green’s Confluence with the might Colorado.  To river runners this is considered the center of the universe, because most river running started on these two rivers.  At the confluence we were able to locate a couple of really cool inscriptions.  One was an inscription from Stanton’s railroad survery in 1889 another was an inscription from the United States Reclamation Service who was looking to build a dam at the confluence in 1914.  Lucky for us neither of these projects ever were completed.  After Lunch we headed down to sign up for our camps for the next few nights in Cataract Canyon.  Lucky for us Brown Betty, which is probably the best camp in Cataract Canyon was open for a layover day.  We signed up for two nights at Brown Betty and one night below the big drop rapids at Gypsum Canyon where we could search for the Paradox Formation.  Wayne gave another great geology lecture about the Paradox Formation and Cataract Canyon.

Learning about Cataract Canyon, Grabens, Salt Valleys, and the Paradox Formation

Learning about Cataract Canyon, Grabens, Salt Valleys, and the Paradox Formation

Day 5 of our river trip was spent hiking into the Doll’s House of the Maze District.  Once again we hiked up about 1300 vertical feet from the river.  From the Doll’s house we had an incredible view of the Island in the Sky and the Needles, but the view in front of us was even more spectacular.  We took a leisurely loop hike through the spires, narrows, and wildflowers of the Doll’s House.  Lunch was spent on a rock overlooking a Graben where the salt left behind by over 60 ocean episodes had flowed into the vacancy of space left by the river cutting Cataract Canyon leading to a huge slump of land sliding into Cataract Canyon and leaving a “surprise valley” below us.  We then hiked back to our fabulous camp and enjoyed a perfect starry night.

Day 6 it was all about Cataract Canyon whitewater rafting.  we ran rapids 2-14 and then stopped at Capsize Rapid to check out the old inscriptions left by the Stanton Expedition and Best Expedition of 1891 that spent 7 days trying to rescue a boat pinned against one of the many rocks in the rapid.   After Capsize we stopped for lunch and then ran in quick succession Ben Hurt, Big Drop 1, Big Drop 2, and Big Drop 3 as well as the remaining rapids.  Camp was set up at Gypsum Canyon and most of the group did a hike up Gypsum where we did find the Paradox Formation.

The last day of the trip was spent motoring through the lower parts of Cataract Canyon. The trip ended at North Wash just past the Dirty Devil.  After unloading the boats everyone flew back to the Moab airport where a shuttle took everyone back to Red Cliff’s Lodge for a Banquet Dinner.  The trip was incredible and the people were some of the best you could ever hope to meet.

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.

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.

 

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.