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Drybags

by Kristl 20. June 2018 13:38
How do we keep things dry on the river? With Drybags of course!  We get a lot of questions about the size of our dry bags and about how to pack them.

Here is a quick run-down on our drybags:

Blue Drybags-
These bags are like "Checked" luggage.  You have access to them in the evenings and mornings, but during the day they are packed away on the boats and inaccessable.
 Your sleeping bag will already come packed inside of your dry bag.  The space you have available to you is about the size of a medium sized duffle bag, or 21"x21"x14".  We suggest packing your personal items in a duffle bag for ease of packing/unpacking your bag each day.  
Ditty Bags
These are your "Carry-On" bags.  These bags should hold your day-use items such as sunscreen, bugspray, raingear and other personal items.
These bags are about 12" diameter and 18" tall.

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What I Love About Rafting--Jesse's Version

by Kristl 21. December 2017 06:57
I asked our guides to send me a quick note about what they like most about rafting.  I'll be sharing their notes over the next few posts. --Kristl

Jesse R. Rock Loving River Guide

From Jesse:

It’s easy to say I’m drawn to rafting because I’m addicted. I’m addicted to the solitude, to the exploration, to the perfect cup of coffee in the morning, the perfect oar stroke, the adrenaline buildup of a rapid scout, to the challenge. I’m addicted to the release of being below the big stuff, to laughing and joking with guides and guest alike. I still pinch myself when I wake up in the middle of the night, blinded by the moon and stars so bright that I have to put up my umbrella to get a good night’s sleep. I’m addicted to being out amongst it. But if I had to pick one reason, my one true love, I’d say I love rafting because I love rocks. Rocks, rocks, rocks!

The short story is that I came to rafting during graduate school. Rafts were the chosen vehicles to study rocks, specifically landslides and how they’ve affected the carving of the Grand Canyon. My fellow researchers and I could load our rafts with tools and camping supplies that could support geologizing for weeks on end. Now that I’m a guide, in between casual rowing and conversations with folks on my boat, I daydream about the processes that form the canyons through which we float. From our conversations, I’ve come to realize my guests wonder about similar things. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions, the typical tongue-in-cheek guide answer, and an abridged, nerdy answer that yours truly would provide.

Question: “How deep is the river right here?”

Guide answer: “17 units, with a unit equal to 1/17th of the depth of the river.”

Guide Jesse’s nerdy geology answer: “Actually, it’s always changing – sand bars are moving. The river gets shallower in rapids and deeper in the pools between them. Jetboats change the ”

Question: “Have you ever seen the rocks fall?”

 

Guide answer: “Once, in Deso on the Green River, but that’s it.”

Guide Jesse’s nerdy geology answer: “It was a spot of a previous rockfall and the rocks were still settling. Major rockfalls tends to happen during the winter, when water freezes and wedges open cracks in the rocks above. I’m usually skiing powder that time of year.”

Question: How old is the river?

Guide answer: “It was here when John Wesley Powell boated it in 1869, so at least that old.” 

Guide Jesse’s nerdy geology answer: “Well, it depends. If you wanted to know how long a river flowing from the Rockies through Canyonlands, the Grand Canyon, and out to the Pacific has been around in this area, you’d be talking about the age of preserved river gravels. Geologists motivated to place the age of the Grand Canyon downstream into a regional context discovered such river gravels beneath lava flows at 10,000’ atop Grand Mesa in Colorado. This location is near where the modern Colorado (used to be called the Grand River) and Gunnison Rivers join, hence the name of the nearest town – Grand Junction. The lava flows are easily dated using radiometric dating and their age can approximate the age of the gravels they cover. If the lavas are 10 million years old, the gravels are 10 million years old. Over that time, the Colorado River has carved down ~5000 feet through the rock strata in Western Colorado to its present elevation. 

The river water itself can be a few days to more than 10,000 years old. The age mostly depends on its source. During springtime runoff, daily snowmelt causes minor fluctuations in water levels each day as temperatures in the mountain rise during the day and fall at night. During all other times of the year, river water is mainly sourced by springs, themselves sourced by groundwater in the mountains and canyonlands that has been around since the end of the last ice age.”

Question: What forms the rapids?

Guide answer: “There’s a rapid machine that gets turned on each morning and off each night. Also, there’s a track that each raft is connected to! As guides, we get to choose which track we’re going to run that week. I most prefer track A.”

Guide Jesse’s nerdy geology answer: “Rapids are made by 4 things: gradient, constriction, discharge, and obstruction.

Gradient is the steepness of the river. While not impossible, it’s difficult to imagine a rapid forming in a flat water section of the river.

A notable exception to rapids forming in flat water is the Slide in Meander Canyon because of constriction. More like a riffle, the Slide can cause trouble for canoeists, where picks up speed and can get pretty swirly. This is where John Wesley Powell’s group gave up trying to row upstream from the Colorado-Green confluence during their river expedition in 1869. Bigger rapids in Cataract and throughout the Colorado River drainage basin are formed by constriction of the river channel by materials brought to the river from tributary canyons, mainly during flash flood events.  

Discharge is a big player in forming rapids. Some rapids are affected very little by changes in discharge, while others are completely changed. For example, at lower water levels Rapid 7 in Cataract Canyon is non-consequential while at higher water, the wave train becomes a maelstrom affectionately referred to as the North Seas. If you’ve been there, you know why.

Obstructions account for the last aspect of rapid formation. If it weren’t for the presence of things that water doesn’t pass through, like huge boulders, all rapids would be easy peasy. It’s the rocks in rapids like Capsize (aka Hell to Pay) and Big Drops 2 and 3 that really create their largest, boat flipping and munching features. Most obstructions have been given names because they habitually like to cause trouble for boatmun, like the Claw (RIP), or Little Niagara, or Big Mossy. It’s the obstructions that transform straightforward, read-and-run wave trains and into more technical Class 4 and 5 whitewater.

Question: “Where are all of the plants?

Guide answer: “Umm, really? Do you see all that green?!”

Jesse’s nerdy geology answer: “Deserts are some of the most diverse ecosystems in the world. This is mainly because plants have to be creative when it comes to survival. The rock types vary widely and therefore so do the soils. There aren’t too many trees along Utah river ways, except Fremont cottonwoods and hackberries. The cottonwoods show you were the river might’ve reached in the past few years during high water because their seeds need to be wet to germinate and thrive. Hackberries, on the other hand, don’t require so much water and therefore mark historic high water. They provide a marker to visualize how much water levels can change in undammed river sections. 

Question: “Why did you pass up that huge beach?”

Guide answer: “Some groups that came before us did a horrible job picking up food crumbs from lunch. Then along came the ants, then the anteaters, and then the bears. And bears eat river guides. So we pass up that beach.”

Jesse’s nerdy geology answer: “It’s not the best beach to walk on and I wanna keep my boat clean. As water levels drop, sandy beaches form in slower moving water. If water moves slow enough or is stagnant, the smallest sediment particles like mud and clay in the river will drop out too. The river flashed last week, causing the river to rise and fall fairly quickly. That huge beach isn’t made of sand because the water here doesn’t move fast enough to clean the smaller flash flood mud away. ”

Question: “Are we going to finish where we started?”

Guide answer: “Yes, of course! That’s exactly how rivers work.”

Jesse’s nerdy geology answer: “Yes of course! That’s exactly how rivers work.”

You’d be surprised some of the questions we as guides field on the river; sometimes it’s tough to keep a straight face. Deep down though, beneath some of the most ridiculous ones, there’s a burning desire to learn about some of my favorite topics - the geologic processes that are ongoing deep within the desert canyons we float.

Sometimes, I get so into arm waving, I forget the question that launched me into my rant. What was it again? Oh yeah! What do I love about rafting? Aside from the solitude, the fresh food, the company of great guests and my fellow guides, the feel of a perfect oar stroke, a clean line through a rapid, or a tasty beverage at the end of a hard day, it’s the teaching and learning. For those that will listen, I’m always game to share with my guests what makes these places we float through unique; much of the time for me, it’s the rocks. Rocks, rocks, rocks!

 

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Do you suffer from Stuffocation?

by Kristl 11. December 2017 08:50
This morning I was listening to Radio West on our local NPR station, and the guest was James Wallman, who has written a book about "Why We've had enough of Stuff and Need Experience More than Ever".  His book is called Stuffocation, and is now on my want to read list! 

Maybe it is the business we are in, but I felt like Mr. Wallman was "preaching to the choir" as I listened to him discuss his views on how people are so caught up in STUFF that they are missing out on so much of life.  His opinion is that people are starting to look for experiences to fill their lives with, rather than stuff. 

I've found that this is so true in my own family.  We talk about our family outings a lot more often than we ever talk about the presents we've ever received.  When we choose presents from family, we choose games that we can play together as a family rather than things that will clutter our already cluttered house.  Early this year, we took a CRAZY family journey across the United States: 8 people in 1 car for 8 days, covering 15 states! Was it alwasy fun? NO! Was it always comfortable? Nope! Did we make awesome memories? Yep! Was it worth it? (Jury is still out on this one!) To me, absolutely!  We needed the family time and the get-a-way.    Our only souvenirs were memories because we didn't have any room in our car for stuff.

I love Mr. Wallman's tagline on his website "Memories live longer than things".  On the interview this morning he said that this came from a note he received from his grandfather that simply told him that "memories live longer than dreams".  How appropriate at this time of year to be talking about collecting memories instead of stuff!  Many times we all receive gifts that we would rather not try to find a spot for, or we have to shop for that one person in our lives that seems to have everything!  What better gift than memories created together while on an adventure?  

What memories will you create this year?  Will you gift an experience rather than stuff?

For more information abotu James Wallman and his book, check out his website at www.stuffocation.org.

For experience gift ideas, check out our website or call me at 800-332-2439.

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What I Love About Rafting--Kristl's Version

by Kristl 28. November 2017 08:32
Relax. Hear nothing more than the gentle plop, swish of the oars and the small shplup, shplup of the tiny waves lapping against the boat. Close your eyes and enjoy the warmth of the sun as its rays reach down and embrace you.  Forget all of those things that just don't seem to matter as much any more.  Renew yourself as worries melt away like a small puddle evaporates after a storm.  Marvel at the incredibly clear blue of the sky, highlighted even more by the small puffs of brilliant white clouds, and the complex reds of the cliffs around and above you.  Enjoy the gentle sway of the boat as it lulls you toward a peaceful bliss.

Sure, the whitewater is fun, but this is what I truly love about rafting.  The river calms my soul and allows me to let things go, even if it is just for a short time.

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Planning Ahead

by Kristl 28. August 2017 09:15
It's that time of year again!  The new 2018 Dates and Rates are ready, and we are now taking reservations for next year!

Here are some trips that we are really excited about!

April 22, 2018: We're bringing back the Spring John Wesley Powell Expedition!  We start with 5 Days/4 Nights of Kayaking in Labyrinth Canyon on the Green River, followed by 7 Days of rafting through Stillwater Canyon on the Green River and Cataract Canyon on the Colorado River.  Don't have 12 days to escape? You can sign up for either half of the trip.

May 24, 2018: Come celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act on the Yampa River. 4 Days/3 Nights on the wildly beautiful Yampa River.  Part of the proceeds of this trip will be donated to further river preservation activities.

September 4, 2018: The return of the Fall John Wesley Powell Expedition!  Fall colors and cooler weather make this trip the best true get-away!  No cell phones, no wifi, no outside influences for 12 full days! (Either 1/2 of this trip is also available.)


October 7, 2017: Desolation Archaeology Trip. 7 Days/6 Nights exploring the rich history of Desolation Canyon on the Green River.  Fall colors and cool weather bring the canyon to life and make the hikes more enjoyable.

Now is the time to reserve dates for chartered trips.  A group of 8 can chartere any Westwater Canyon, Cataract Canyon, Fisher Towers or Labyrinth Canyon trip.  A group of 12 can charter any Desolation Canyon trip, and a group of 15 can charter a Yampa River or Gates of Lodore trip with no additional fees.  Is your group smaller?  We can work with that.  Give us a call to discuss your next vacation!

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Helping Hand

by Kristl 28. August 2017 08:55
We here at Sheri Griffith Expeditions have a few favorite organizations here in Moab that we love to work with and occasionally lend a helping hand to.  We have worked with Skinny Tire Events on their annual Skinny Tire Festival and Moab Century Tour.  We've offered special Moab Pride rafting trips.  We've worked with the Moab Club Red and the GOALS programs to get kids outdoors and on the river.

Right now, we are offering a 1 Day Westwater Canyon trip on September 13th from which all proceeds will benefit the Moab Valley Multicultural Center.  The goals of the MVMC are to provide a safe, welcoming, and culturally sensitive center where individuals and families can find concrete support in their time of need, to empower people of all ages through education, outreach, and advocacy and to facilitate cultural awareness and appreciation in the Moab community leading to acceptance, respect, and compassion.

If you would like to extend a helping hand to a great organiation in Moab, check out their website at moabmc.org or join us for the Westwater Canyon 1 Day Rafting trip on September 13th.

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Photos

by Kristl 14. July 2017 08:38
To see photos from the trips this summer, check out this link: 


PHOTOS 2017


Just search by the date of your trip.  Photos can also be purchased through this link.  Don't see your photos?  Sorry!  We're working on that...it takes some time to get them uploaded to the website.  If you would like them faster, please send us an email at info@griffithexp.com to request a thumbdrive with your photos on it.

Happy Boating!

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Visions

by Kristl 28. April 2017 10:39
Guide Training is coming up beginning at the end of next week, so this Morning Brenda and I were discussing our visions for Sheri Griffith Expeditions.  Our company mission is "To Enhance People's Lives through Outstanding Outdoor Adventures". 

As glamorous as Whitewater Rafting might seem to some people, this is not an industry that people get into to make tons of money. Here at Sheri Griffith Expeditions, we value the overall experience of our guests.  Our "paycheck" is spending time with our guests who have life-changing experiences on the river. 

I LOVE it when my guests come back from a rafting trip with "that glow" in their eyes.  I love that they have been away from all of the "Normal" life worries and have come back renewed and refreshed.  I love that our company is a smaller, family owned and run business.  I want all of our guests to feel like they are part of our family, and to feel like they are welcome to "Come Home" to the River.

Brenda LOVES it when she is able to spend a week or on the river with our guests and gets to see first-hand how people's lives change for the better as they unwind, let go and look forward with a new vision.  She calls these her "Magic Trips", and there is no better compensation than knowing that we have improved someone's life.

We work hard to make our vision for Sheri Griffith Expeditions evident in all that we do. 

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March On

by Kristl 9. March 2017 10:59
March must be a theme for spring. I was just going through my blog posts and realized that last year I wrote a blog post on March 10th. How funny!!!  

Spring is trying desperately to show up in Moab.  Our crocuses and forsythias are blooming, our tulips are just starting to come up and the sun is shining warmly on all around, even the snowcovered peaks of the La Sal Mountains.

Our guides are starting to make their way back to Moab for spring training and spring rafting!  We ran our first Westwater Canyon trip of the season yesterday, and though the water was cold, our guests had a wonderful time on the river!

The snowpack this year is in great shape for a big water year, which means May and June rafting trips are going to be AWESOME!!  The Yampa River should be really great, as will Cataract Canyon on the Colorado River! (Note:  Highwater awesomeness does not really apply to Westwater Canyon trips! Call me for details!)

We are excited to see old friends again this summer and to meeting lots of new people this summer!  

We'll see you on the river!

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Breathe Deep, and Keep Swimming

by Kristl 5. August 2016 09:49
Wow!  It's August!  We've had a great rafting season thus far, and we're looking forward to the cooler temperatures in September.  We've had one of our best years in a long time!  Our guides have worked really hard this summer, and we love them for it!  Our office staff and managers have also been very busy and have helped everyone "roll with the punches" as we have worked to make sure that all of our guests have excellent outdoor adventures!

Sometimes, as in all businesses and sometimes just in life, there have been some hiccups.  When those times come, we just keep a smile on our face and think to ourselves "Breath Deep and Keep Swimming" (Not necessarily at the same time!!). I just love the optimism of Dory in Finding Nemo.  No matter how bad things seem to get, she keeps a positive outlook and "Just Keeps Swimming".  Her little chant has helped us to keep things in perspective, and sometimes just get through the tough stuff so that we can enjoy the fun stuff.

We always appreciate the hard work of our guides and staff put in that allows our guests to escape their daily cares and enjoy the amazing rivers and canyons that we call home.

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