Posts tagged with "Cataract Canyon"

Holiday River Expeditions

Holiday River Expeditions Notes Positive Outlook For a Stellar River Rafting Season Thanks to an Exemplary Snow Pack

 Forget crystal balls. The snow says it all.

For over half a century Holiday River Expeditions has looked to the mountains to forecast upcoming rafting seasons. Winter snows turn into spring runoff. Thus far, a stormy and snow-packed winter in the Rockies predicts a robust 2019 rafting season in the mountain and desert southwest.

“We’re expecting to have a lot of fun in 2019, thanks to Mother Nature and year-to-date bookings that are up 10 percent over the same time last year,” said Holiday River Expeditions’ longtime sales manager and spokeswoman Karen Johnson.

Higher river flows mean that guests on all of Holiday’s rafting trips will have more off-river time to hike, enjoy the beach, relax or explore the side canyons from camp and enroute between camps.

“Plus high water gives our guests an Adrenaline-rush and thrill in a carefully secured, calculated manner,” Johnson added.

As of today, snow pack affecting the Colorado River Basin is running 116 percent of the February 27th average, a good sign for the upcoming rafting season on the Colorado, Yampa and Green rivers. Among Holiday River Expeditions’ whitewater rafting trips most affected by high runoff are those on the Yampa River in the heart of Dinosaur National Monument. This undammed, free-flowing river benefits greatly from unfettered spring runoff that also makes its way to Desolation Canyon (on the Green River) and Cataract Canyon (after confluence with the Colorado River).

Other rafting trips influenced by abundant snow pack are those on the Colorado River in both Westwater Canyon and further along in Cataract Canyon cutting through the heart of Canyonlands National Park.

For the best high-water trips see:

One fact, worthy of note, helps set Holiday apart from most other operators on the river. They are the only rafting outfitter that literally goes with the flow exclusively on all trips by running these rivers by oar-power only, without motorized rafts or motorized support.

“Oar-power is the most natural way to experience the river and the absence of motors makes high water trips as exciting as it gets. Rafters experience the rush of wind, a chatty raven or a churning rapid absent the drone and smell of a motorized raft,” said Tim Gaylord, Director of Operations and Holiday guide since 1978.

Even in high water, when other companies call on motorized boats to stay the course, Holiday instead employs triple rigs, usually from late May to early July in Cataract Canyon when water levels get above 25-30,000 CFS and higher. The rigs are three 18-foot rafts lashed side by side to form one larger raft. It is maneuvered by two guides, sweep-style, each using one oar.

“These rafts are incredibly stable and the rigging allows them to flex in many ways. They allow us to continue to use only oar-powered rafts in even the highest water,” noted Gaylord.

See this short video that will help illustrate this technique.

A few other companies continue to use row/paddle rafts and dories in high water; but they support their use with larger motorized rafts for, among others, assistance in moving non-motor rafts downstream in the flatwater sections. Holiday is the only one that does not use a motor at all (except when exiting the Lake Powell section on the last day of the Cataract trip and then it is only introduced by using a tow-boat that motors up from the downstream takeout at Hite Marina.)

For more information, availability, reservations or a copy of the 2019 catalog please call 800-624-6323, Email: Holiday@BikeRaft.com or log onto http://www.bikeraft.com/.

About Holiday River Expeditions

Holiday River Expeditions began in 1966, when Dee Holladay and his wife Sue took the plunge to become river outfitters. Due to its respect for the lands, rivers, guests and employees, the family-owned-and-operated company has grown exponentially. Each of its guides is professionally trained in first aid and river safety, and with 50+ years of experience, the company provides guests the opportunity to explore the nation’s wild lands safely and securely. Holiday River Expeditions has a commitment to protect the environment through education and conservation, and as such, uses oar-powered and paddle rafts exclusively.

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Women Seize the Oars

Women’s empowerment has seized the rafting industry. A leading river company is seeing a sizable uptick in the number of women now part of its crew of raft guides and staff. And they are recording an increasing number of female guests on rafting and mountain biking trips, scheduled and chartered.

Holiday River Expeditions (http://www.bikeraft.com/) reports that through the 2018 season, 40 percent of their guide staff were women. That’s the highest representation ever in its 50+ year history. It is looking like this coming year will be no different.

“Most of these women are returning for 2019. And we now have more applications for guide and crew positions coming in from women than from men these days,” said Karen Johnson, Holiday’s long-time office manager and spokeswoman. A growing number of women also serve in the office and warehouse as drivers and company managers. Susan Munroe, a long-time Holiday employee, leads an in-house guide/crew training program. Natalie Osborn has recently come onboard as the Social Media Director. Lauren Wood, a third-generation guide and founder Dee Holladay’s grandchild, is the company’s Trip Director and identifies as non-binary, adding further gender diversity to Holiday’s eclectic staff.

Female guides aren’t new to Holiday River Expeditions but they are becoming more of a force and influence. “Early on the rafting industry, much like every other outdoor industry in the 60’s and 70’s, was male dominated. Our founder Dee Holladay, always recognized the arbitrary nature of gender divisions and truly appreciated the added and necessary perspectives of women on the river,” added Johnson. “He used to say that women made better guides because they knew how to read the water better and not simply muscle their way through obstacles and rapids.”

Creative marketing at a time when the market is also expanding has led to an increase in the number of female guests. For example, a series of Balance & Flow Yoga and Wellness Trips draws increasingly more solo female travelers. Reunions of friends and just-for-the-fun-of-it groups of colleagues sign up for these itineraries, as do mothers and daughters.

“It’s not unusual to have an entire female staff on any of our trips these days. I hear it all the time that Mom was so glad for her daughter to witness a strong and capable female rowing their boat or leading their trip. It’s the perfect role model,” said Johnson.

New this year from April/May through September/October are custom, small group women-only rafting and biking itineraries in Utah and Colorado. These trips can be tailored to group desires, from the area, length, menu options and guides; all female or a mix. Here is a list of the most popular chartered trips. For details see: https://www.bikeraft.com/womens-river-rafting-trips/.

  • Gates of Lodore Canyon Rafting Trip: With 10 or more women (ages 18 and up), the per person rate is $885 for four days on the Green River in the heart of Dinosaur National Monument in Utah.
  • 3 Day Westwater Canyon: This program is offered three times weekly and can be chartered for groups of 15 to 20. Thrilling Class IV whitewater on the Colorado River through Westwater Canyon (a miniature Grand Canyon) in eastern Utah provides excitement and beauty to spare. The per person rate is $610 for groups of 10 or more.
  • 3-4 Day White Rim Trail is a multi-day, technically challenging mountain biking and star gazing exploration of the wilderness around and sky overhead Moab, UT. The per person rate is from $745 to $830 for groups of eight or more. This program is offered in April and May and again in September and October.
  • 4-5 Day Yampa River through Dinosaur National Monument is offered in May and June when the river runs full and the wildflowers bloom. The per person rate is $885 to $965 with a group of 10 or more.
  • 5-6 Day Cataract Canyon in the heart of Canyonlands National Park is the company’s signature adventure that can be chartered for a minimum of 15 (24 maximum). The per person rate is $1,040 to $1,105 for 10 or more. Nowhere on its entire course does the Colorado River descend more precipitously than through Cataract Canyon, offering white water rafting at its best.  

Following are Holiday River Expeditions’ signature Balance and Flow Yoga Wellness Trips that speak to a female audience. Trips center around immersion in nature and the guidance of specialists versed in healing practices. The adventure and relaxation intrinsic to river trips are augmented by honing in on spiritual and physical healing through natural energy, movement and nutrition. For details see https://www.bikeraft.com/balance-flow-trips/ 

  • White Rim Mt. Bike & Yoga: Katie Woods, a yoga specialist, guides this May 11-14, 2019, four-day mountain bike tour in Canyonlands National Park. 
  • Wild Yoga on the Green River: This six-day Green River rafting adventure through Desolation Canyon is June 3-8, 2019. With the group will be Rebecca Wildbear, a river and soul guide.
  • Women’s River & Yoga Trip: A four-day rafting trip on the Green River through Lodore Canyon July 11-14, 2019 comes with twice-daily yoga sessions.
  • Women’s Multi-Sport Adventure: Women raft, kayak, hike and practice yoga for four days this Aug. 24-27, 2019 in and around the Colorado River on Ruby and Westwater Canyons.
  • Stand-up Paddleboarding & Yoga: For four days this Sept. 5-8, 2019, yoga, fitness and stand-up paddleboarding join forces while rafting the Colorado River through Ruby and Westwater canyons. Led by Katie Woods and the guides at Holiday River Expeditions. 

For more information, availability, reservations or a copy of the 2019 catalog please call 800-624-6323, Email: Holiday@BikeRaft.com or log onto: http://www.bikeraft.com/

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HOLIDAY RIVER EXPEDITIONS

Soldier, geologist and explorer John Wesley Powell is an American legend. One-hundred-fifty years ago this year, he and a brave band of men set out from Green River, WY, with a mission to map and log the canyons, tributaries and features of the unexplored Green and Colorado rivers. History tells the amazing tale of adventure, hardship and ultimate success.

In 2019, to honor and celebrate the spirit of that epic journey, Holiday River Expeditions will re-create a portion of Powell’s trip on an 18-day, oar-powered rafting adventure from July 5 to 22. The John Wesley Powell 150th Celebration Trip will retrace Powell’s route through Lodore, Desolation, Gray, Labyrinth, Stillwater and Cataract Canyons in Utah. The 308 miles can be done as a whole, spanning the entire state of Utah, or as one or more of four stand-alone segments.

“This kind of epic, multi-week rafting adventure is rarely offered in this day and age of quick escape vacations. For this season only, it’s our honor to offer guests this voyage back in time offering a true slice of American history through stories and expert insights,“ explains Lauren Wood, Trip Director and granddaughter of company founder, the late Dee Holladay. “While this journey is lengthy, modern equipment and services guarantee it’s nowhere near as arduous and challenging as Powell’s expedition was.”

On each leg of the trip, Holiday River Expeditions has invited a renowned river historian along to help recreate what Powell encountered on his journey via captivating stories and readings.

The full July 5-22 18-day adventure is $3,850 per person (plus Land Use Fee). Included in all four legs of the trip are delicious campfire meals, snacks and beverages, all required equipment, expert guides and shuttle transportation.

4-day Gates of Lodore – Guests begin with Lodore Canyon in Dinosaur National Monument, arriving by van from Vernal, UT. The put-in is in Brown’s Park National Wildlife Refuge where almost immediately some of Powell’s more infamous rapids — Disaster Falls and Hell’s Half Mile — challenge rafters (the Powell party named most all of the rapids and features found here and downstream). Tranquil waters prevail up to the confluence of the Yampa River in Echo Park, named for its incredible acoustics and scenery. Then come the swirling, unpredictable currents Powell dubbed Whirlpool Canyon. The last day in Dinosaur National Monument carries guests into what Powell described as a place where the river stretched out shallow and as wide as the Missouri River.The per person rate for Leg 1 is $1,005 (youth, senior and group rate $885). River historian Roy Webb joins this segment. He has spent his life running the rivers of the western United States and has authored four books and many articles and book reviews, virtually all on the history of river running in Utah. He is a charter member of the Colorado Plateau River Guides Association. 5-day Desolation Canyon includes a 30-minute scenic flight from Green River, UT, to the embarkation point for Desolation Canyon at Sand Wash. Much of Desolation Canyon is a National Historic Landmark established in 1969, the centennial of the Powell expedition. It was selected because it is relatively unchanged from the time of Powell and the place where the most authentic experience can still be had today. As the cliffs’ colors shift dramatically, it is easy to see why Powell named Gray Canyon. Even more eccentric rock towers lead to sporty rapids like Wire Fence, Three Fords and Coal Creek. Mystical seeps in the rock layer bring verdant life to the canyon walls.The per person rate for Leg 2 is $1,180 (youth $980, senior, group $1,085). Dennis Willis, a noted river historian, joins this sector. For 30 years Dennis worked for the BLM’s Price Field Office as the caretaker of Desolation Canyon. He supported and nurtured scientific research in fisheries and hydrology, geology, botany and archaeology. With over 120 Desolation trips logged, it is still his magical, special place.

5-day Labyrinth Canyon brings guests through a rarely visited section of the Green River and into the upper stretches of Labyrinth Canyon that slowly rises up and closes in, moving from alien flat lands of the upper section to breathtaking red-canyon walls with exquisite side stops like Trin Alcove, 10-mile Canyon and Bowknot Bend.The per person rate for Leg 3 is $950. Joining this section is John Weisheit, an active member of the Conservation of Living Rivers and Colorado Riverkeeper of the Waterkeeper Alliance. 5-day Cataract Canyon begins with tranquility on the flat water and in the secret tiered grottoes of Stillwater Canyon. Here signs of Ancestral Puebloan peoples abound. The confluence of the Green and Colorado rivers marks the beginning of Cataract Canyon and the heart of Canyonlands National Park. After few short miles of flat water, from downstream comes an ominous thunder of Powell’s Cataracts – 30-plus rapids. With full chapters written about them, these massive wave-trains and churning holes are an epic crescendo for this extended and historic excursion.

The per person rate for Leg 4 is $1,180 (youth, senior, group $1,040).Weisheit will also provide insight and interpretation along this final leg of the journey.

About Holiday River Expeditions

Holiday River Expeditions began in 1966, when Dee Holladay and his wife Sue took the plunge to become river outfitters. Due to its respect for the lands, rivers, guests and employees, the family-owned-and-operated company has grown exponentially. Each of its guides is professionally trained in first aid and river safety, and with 50+ years of experience, the company provides guests the opportunity to explore the nation’s wild lands safely and securely. Holiday River Expeditions has a commitment to protect the environment through education and conservation, and as such, uses oar-powered and paddle rafts exclusively.

Western River Expeditions

Some of the best whitewater in North America froths deep within the canyons of Arizona and Utah on the Colorado and Green Rivers. People hopeful of river rafting here in the 2018 season are advised that the Grand Canyon portion of the river is nearly sold out for the season with space beginning to fill for 2019 trips as well.

However, comparable adventure options on the water and on land are still available if you follow the Colorado River north into Utah.

When active travelers seek experiences similar to the Grand Canyon that also combine spectacular scenery with wild white water, veteran tour operator Western River Expeditions suggests that a Cataract Canyon raft trip is as rewarding and remarkable in its own way.

“Utah’s Cataract Canyon, deep within Canyonlands National Park, is near enough in scale, appearance and proximity to Grand Canyon that it works the same kind of magic found in the Grand herself. Just one canyon upstream, above Lake Powell on the Colorado River System is hands down the best alternative to a Grand Canyon rafting vacation,” said Brandon Lake, CMO of Western River Expeditions.

Cataract Canyon begins downstream from Moab, UT at the confluence of the Green and Colorado Rivers. Expanded in size and now fortified by the waters of the Green, the Colorado River carves a deep chasm through the red rock heart of Canyonlands National Park. During spring runoff, the ride can rival the most legendary whitewater anywhere in the world. The remainder of the year river rafters are treated to fun Class III-IV rapids interspersed with calm stretches ideal for a swim under spellbinding canyon walls and geologic formations. Ample time is allotted for side canyon hikes and exploration of ancient Native American sites. The adventure ends with a scenic flight over Canyonlands on the return to Moab’s Canyonlands Field Airport.

Western’s Cataract Canyon 4-day trip offers departures in May, June, July and August. A per person double rate for adults (ages 16+) is $1,520; and $1,130 for ages 10-15. The rate includes equipment and guides for rafting, hiking and camping, plus guide-prepared meals, transfers from Moab to the river and the return scenic flight over Canyonlands National Park and shuttle to Moab. A two-day program on this stretch of the river is also offered in May, June and July. See Western’s Cataract Canyon Express, https://www.westernriver.com/cataract-canyon-express.

Also on the Colorado River north of the Grand Canyon Western River Expeditions offers a four-day Westwater Canyon Rafting & Multisport Adventure combining rafting on Class III-V whitewater plus a Hummer Safari off-road adventure. Guests return evenings to Red Cliffs Lodge on the banks of the Colorado River for overnights and breakfasts. Westwater Canyon was named “The West’s Best Short Whitewater Trip” by National Geographic. This program is available June through September at $695 per adult (age 13+) and $670 for age 12 (minimum required).

Full and half-day rafting programs on the Colorado River out of Moab are also available from Western’s affiliate, the Moab Adventure Center. See: https://www.moabadventurecenter.com/moab-river-rafting

Looking further north on the Utah’s Green River, families will discover five days of rafting through Desolation Canyon featuring 60 playful rapids and captivating off-river hiking.  After a spectacular scenic flight from Moab to a dramatic desert plateau, the adventure begins through 40 million years of geological time. Think outlaw hideouts, ancient dinosaur habitats and Fremont Native American petroglyphs. The minimum age for this trip is 5, making it ideal for young families. The rate for adults (16+) is $1,645 and $1,025 for ages 5-15. Departures are May through August. See: https://www.westernriver.com/desolation-canyon.

Western’s vacation consultants also suggest adding extra time in the area to explore the many national and state parks nearby. Guided adventures out of Moab, Utah, the undisputed adventure capital of the West encompass activities like rappelling, canyoneering, biking, hiking, flightseeing, and four-wheeling the surrounding landscape. For ideas and details see https://www.moabadventurecenter.com/. Some popular ideas:

• Tour Arches National Park

• Air Tours of Arches, Canyonlands and Monument Valley

• Hot Air Ballooning

• 4×4 Hummer Safari overlooking the Colorado River

• Stand Up Paddleboarding on the Colorado River

• Zipline, Canyoneering and Rock Climbing

• Mountain Biking, Horseback Riding, Jeep Rentals

• Day rafting trips in Castle Valley or Westwater Canyon

For a copy of Western River Expeditions’ 2018 catalog, and for questions, availability and reservations call toll-free: 866.904.1160 (Local: 801.942.6669) or visit the interactive website at: http://www.westernriver.com/.

About Western River Expeditions

Western River Expeditions is an adventure travel company headquartered in Salt Lake City, with operations and offices in Moab, Utah and Fredonia, Arizona. Annually from March through October it escorts more people down rivers on professionally guided rafting trips in Utah, Idaho and Arizona than any other company. It is the largest licensed outfitter in the Grand Canyon and the largest single tour provider in Moab, UT, through its division Moab Adventure Center (http://www.moabadventurecenter.com/).

Western River Expeditions, providing Grand Canyon rafting, Utah and Idaho rafting, and international multi-sport trips, was founded in 1961 by Colorado River rafting pioneer Jack Currey. It has been named one of the “Best Adventure Travel Companies on Earth” by the editors of National Geographic Adventure magazine. The company is the proud recipient of the “Best of State” award through Utah’s Premier Recognition and Awards Program for twelve consecutive years.