THE EXPLORATION OF THE COLORADO RIVER AND ITS CANYONS

FEATURED BOOK OF THE WEEK:

THE EXPLORATION OF THE COLORADO RIVER AND ITS CANYONS
by J.W. Powell

This book can be purchased at the CRATE BOOKSTORE for $12.95

Complete reprint of “Canyons of the Colorado” 1895 edition, with supplementary map. This was the first published account in book format of Powell’s 1869 discovery journey down the Green and Colorado Rivers. 150 illustrations and photographs. Dover Publications.

Colorado River

The "Cataract Canyon Coyotes" enjoying the highest water in 25 years on the Colorado River in 2011

2011 Brought the Highest Water in Cataract Canyon since 1984

Colorado River

The Colorado River is probably the most famous river in the world. The river flows 1450 miles starting at the Continental Divide in Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado and flowing into the Gulf of California between Baja and mainland Mexico. The Colorado River drains 246,000 square miles in parts of seven U.S. states and two Mexican states.

The most famous sections to raft the Colorado River are through the Grand Canyon, Cataract Canyon, and Westwater Canyon. Colorado River & Trail Expeditions offers rafting trips on these sections as well as on the Fisher Towers 1-day stretch near Moab, Utah. Each trip offers a unique rafting experience full of excitement, beauty, and fun.

Grand Canyon Rafting

The Colorado River whitewater rafting trip through the Grand Canyon is probably the most famous stretch of river in the world. The Colorado River travels 277 miles from Lees Ferry to Pearce Ferry in Arizona. In order to cover all 277 miles of the canyon one needs a minimum of 8 days. Partial trips are available to or from Phantom Ranch and Whitmore Wash. The biggest rapids along the Colorado River in this stretch are Crystal, Lava Falls, Hermit, and Granite.

Cataract Canyon Rafting

Cataract Canyon is located in Canyonlands National Park near Moab, Utah. It is upstream of the Grand Canyon and downstream of Westwater Canyon. The Colorado River joins the Green River right before plunging into Cataract Canyon. Cataract Canyon offers rapids larger than the Grand Canyon at flows above 30,000 cfs and can become awe-inspiring at flows over 60,000 cfs. At lower flows the rapids are much smaller, but still fun. Though exciting, whitewater is just a small part of the experience of rafting the Colorado River in Canyonlands National Park. The sandstone landscape is unlike any other in the world and the mesas, buttes, and graben valleys offers plenty of exploration opportunities. Plan on spending 3-4 days to see this marvelous landscape. The most famous rapids on this stretch are the Big Drops.

Westwater Canyon

Westwater Canyon is located on the Colorado River near the Utah and Colorado border. The trip is short and sweet, covering 17 miles of rapids, sandstone cliffs, and precambrian rocks. Famous rapids along this stretch include Skull, Funnel Falls, and Sock-it-to-Me. This trip can be a destination as an overnight river trip or as part of the Canyon Country experience combining it with hiking, biking, or jeeping in the Moab or Green River, Utah area.

Colorado River Trip Near Moab

This one day stretch is very popular. The Colorado River flows underneath tall sandstone cliffs and over fun rapids. This is great trip for those short on time and is a fun introduction to rafting on the mighty Colorado.

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.

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.

Facebook.com/GrandCanyonRafting CRATE’s Facebook Web Address

Facebook Grand Canyon Rafting Page

Rafting Social Media

Colorado River & Trail Expeditions is closing in on our 600th Facebook “like”. Our fan base is composed of past guests, guides, friends, and future river runners. If you have not joined our facebook rafting community and would like to follow this link www.facebook.com/GrandCanyonRafting. Or visit our Colorado River & Trail Expeditions website and follow our links.

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.