Day 1: Getting to the Rapids
This morning you will be transported from the Sheri Griffith Expeditions office to the Potash Boat Ramp on the Colorado River. You may catch a glimpse of petroglyphs on the cliff walls, dinosaur tracks on some of the roadside boulders or fossils in the rocks surrounding the boat ramp.
We settle into the boats and begin our journey down river through the heart of Canyonlands National Park. This morning we may visit the petrified wood bed and will pass the Pyramid Butte. We will also pass Tex's Grotto, where a Grand Piano is set up for concerts during the Moab Music Festival, and Dead Horse Point, where the movies Mission Impossible 2 and Thelma and Louise were filmed. We will pass Lockhart Canyon, where Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid used to hide their stolen cattle until they could move them to market. We will also see Indian Ruins at Lathrup Canyon.
Enjoy a delicious lunch riverside on one of the may beautiful beaches. The canyon walls are a beautiful, deep red which contrasts beautifully with the pristine blue sky that will be your ceiling for the next 3 days.
We may take the opportunity to participate in the Loop Hike, which takes us to the top of the ridge around which the Colorado River takes a four mile bend onto itself. You will be able to see both sides of the ridge from nearly 1000 feet above the river!
As we stop for the evening we will reach the Confluence of the Green and Colorado Rivers. We now enter the true heart of Canyonlands National Park as we near the Confluence. If it has rained recently, the mixing of the rivers will be defined in brilliant swirls of red and green.
We will pull off the river to camp for the night. After setting up your tent, you can sit back and relax or hike the canyons while the guides set up chairs and the kitchen. Swimming is also an option.
Dinner is prepared for you by your river guides. Meals are wonderful combinations that fit well into the atmosphere of your canyon dining room. Vegetarian options are available with advance notice.
Note: Meals are served from a set daily menu, but you are welcome to request, in advance, special dishes or tell us if there are particular things you would prefer not to have.
Potential Hiking Opportunities: Lathrop Canyon, the Loop Hike
Day 2: Whitewater Day
Wake to the smells of fresh coffee and a delicious breakfast cooking in the morning. After you eat, we will assist you in taking down your tent and in preparing for the day's journey. Breakfast offerings will vary throughout your rafting expedition. Hot coffee, tea and chocolate are always available, as are juices and fresh fruit.
This morning's fare is complimented by the sound of rushing water and the anticipation of a great day of running the famous rapids of Cataract Canyon. We will load everything back onto the boats and prepare ourselves for the exciting day at hand.
This morning we will experience the first of the Cataract Canyon rapids, numbers 1 through 10. By now the river has doubled in size and force. The rapids start small, but soon evolve into some of the biggest whitewater in the Western United States (on trips during May and June, later season trips ~July and August~ have smaller rapids). Rapids whose names are almost as intimidating as the whitewater itself: Big Drop 2, North Seas and Capsize. Everyone will be thoroughly soaked as we take a break at midday for lunch and to catch our breath.
Stop for Lunch and for some "Land Time". While the guides prepare lunch, you are welcome to explore the canyon a bit or watch as others run the big rapids you have just been through. Once we have finished with lunch, we get back on the boats and head into the big whitewater. This afternoon we will navigate through more intimidating rapids, including Big Drop 3, Satan's Gut and Little Niagara. There may be stops along the way as the guide scouts the rapids to find the best route through the churning whitewater.
We will pull off the river. After we recreate our riverside oasis, you are welcome to kick back, relax and relive the day's adventures over and over again as the evening deepens and a bright canopy of stars replaces the blue sky.
Traditionally, this last night is a "Dress Up" night. Anything goes, from formal wear to clown outfits with floppy hats. Guests are not required to participate, but are welcome to use their imagination and help celebrate an amazing trip.
Day 3: Lake Powell
Your final day of rafting begins with hot coffee, tea or hot chocolate followed by a delicious breakfast, prepared by your guides.
This morning we will pass through the final rapids. We may have some opportunities for hiking in some of the canyons previously lost to Lake Powell's waters, but accessible now that the waters in the lake have dropped. Clearwater Canyon and Dark Canyon are guide favorites. We'll stop for a final meal and possibly for a quick hike.
We'll climb back aboard the boats and follow the Colorado River as it pushes its way into the calm waters of Lake Powell. Here we'll be in the deepest part of the canyon, surrounded by nearly 2,000 foot cliffs. We'll see the Dirty Devil River and Piano Leg Arch. We'll motor off of the lake and pull off near what used to be the Hite Marina on Lake Powell.
You will be escorted to the landing strip for your return flight to Moab. As you take this scenic flight, watch for the Henry Mountains, the White Rim, the Abajo Mountains, the La Sal Mountains and nearly the entire Colorado Plateau. You will bet met at the Moab airport and transferred back to Moab and the Sheri Griffith Expeditions office where your journey ends.
Potential Hiking Opportunities: Clearwater Canyon, Bowdie Canyon