Friday, December 20, 2013

Rafting in the Land of Enchantment



There are many things that contribute to New Mexico’s nickname. Perhaps you were lucky enough to visit Albuquerque in October to catch the world’s largest international hot air balloon festival. Maybe you’ve had the opportunity to travel the hypnotizing expanse of desert wonderland. If you’re anything like us, one of the most enchanting aspects of New Mexico’s richness was its majestic natural formations.

As your white water rafting experts, we’ve selected an assortment of trips put on by Kokopelli Rafting Adventures that capture the natural and cultural history of this awe inspiring region:

The Racecourse: This is the most popular trip offered by Kokopelli Rafting and is a great one for beginners. It is a fun, fast paced stretch of river with class III+ rapids in the high water of early spring. The trip is a half-day packed with excitement. Minimum age for this one is only 7, but this can occasionally be raised due to changes in water level.

Taos Box: This one day trip is one of the best of its kind in the U.S. and for obvious reasons. The first part of the trip includes a bit of flat water to allow for some instruction and practice paddling. Soon after, however, the gorge deepens and rafters are met with several class III and IV rapids, one after another. An all-you-can-eat buffet is included for lunch, as well as polar fleece tops and splash suits for your comfort.

Rio Chama: Filled with beautiful, remote landscapes and plenty of wildlife, this 2 or 3 day trip is great for families with a sense of adventure. Minimum age is 6 and rapids vary from class II to class III. Rafters also have the option to use inflatable kayaks or “duckies”. This trip is in high demand and has limited availability, so get signed up early!

White Rock Canyon: Kokopelli guides lead adventurers through the ancient lands of the Anasazi, some of which will serve as campsites for this 2 to 3 day trip. You will enjoy delicious meals prepared by expert guides and have the opportunity to explore the area before another day of excitement. This will be a memorable and fascinating experience for the whole family!

Friday, December 6, 2013

Whitewater Adventures South of the Border


In the spirit of winter, we’ve decided to take this blog post south of the border to a land where “December” and “white water rafting” can be used in the same sentence without getting weird looks. For those of you that just can’t wait another 4 or 5 months for the sun to come back around, this may come as an answer to prayers. We enthusiastically invite you to follow your birdlike intuition and migrate to either/both of these South American paradises.

Rio Upano, Ecuador: Filled with some of the most exotic and beautiful scenery in the world, this trip is guaranteed to be one of the most memorable experiences of your life. The cultural aspect of the area adds to the wonder, as visitors will be rafting through the land of the Shuar Indians that live along the river banks. Rapids vary from class II to class IV and the minimum age is 15.

Futaleufu, Chile: Earth River Expeditions gives rafters an incredibly unique experience while also providing them with luxuries such as cliffside dining and private camps. These camps are equipped with hot showers, riverside stone hot tubs, as well as tree houses and cliff dwellings with beds. Aside from exciting adventures on the river, guests will have the opportunity to try rock climbing, kayaking, fly fishing, zip lining, horseback riding and much more.

Aside from being just plain awesome, these white water rafting trips are both offered at times of the year when the rest of us are bundled up, dreaming of warmer days. What better way to get away from the cold than to go rafting in paradise?

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Multi-Sport Adventures: The East



If you’re anything like us, you love doing just about anything that will get you into the great outdoors. Now, rafting is obviously our favorite of these activities, but we do like some variety from time to time and we assume you probably do, too. That’s why we’ve provided several “multi-sport” adventure options. You may have seen the post about the options in the Western U.S. and wondered if we forgot about you easterners! Not to worry! Here are a few great trips for you to consider, from Georgia to Massachusetts:

TreeTops Canopy Tour: Located in West Virginia, Adventures on the Gorge gives adventurers a unique way to experience nature by combining 10 zip lines, 5 sky bridges and a rappel. On this incredible, treetop expedition you will see this beautiful area from a whole different perspective. Participants must be over the age of 10 and cannot weigh less that 90 lbs or more than 260 lbs. This option is great for all times of the year and makes a fantastic date activity!

Wildman Adventures: It would be absurd to try to focus on just one or two of the options offered by Wildman Adventure Resort. This is arguably the best multisport adventure outfitter out there. To name only a few of their specialties, you can choose from paintball, UTV tours, snowmobile tours, rock climbing and a sea kayak lake tour. The company is based out of Wisconsin but they welcome guests from all over the world. Trust us, it’s worth the trip!

High Adventure in New England: Aside from offering several incredible rafting trips, Zoar Outdoor also gives visitors the option to soar high in the canopy in a zip line tour, or to take whitewater kayak lessons! But why choose only one?! Pick a rafting trip to do and then top it off with both the zip line AND the kayak lessons!

Wildwater: As the name of this outfitter implies, its specialty is in wild and exciting whitewater rafting trips. Luckily, however, they offer a variety of other adventures across Tennessee, Georgia, and the Carolinas. Their non-rafting options range from canopy tours to jeep expeditions that are guaranteed to create lasting memories for everyone!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Multi-Sport Adventures: The West



For some of us, white water rafting is just one of the many outdoor adventures we live for. Fortunately for us, many companies offer multi-sport trips that include a variety of outdoor activities. These range from hiking to hot air ballooning and just about everything in between. To give you a taste, here are just a few of the many options in the Western U.S.:

Nizina River Raft and Hike:Copper Oar offers a great multi-sport trip in Alaska that has a fantastic variety of scenery and adventure. After flying into the heart of Wrangell-St. Elias National Park in a bush plane, you will enjoy 3 days of rafting and 2 days of laid back hiking and exploration. The minimum age for this trip is 8 and it’s great for beginners and experts alike.

Canyoneering and Climbing in Moab, UT: Western River Expeditions is definitely one of the most versatile adventure companies out there. Moab is famous for its spectacular wildlife and rock structures. One of the best ways to experience this outdoor sports “Mecca” is on a canyoneering and climbing trip. This allows visitors to get right down into the breath-taking canyons of Moab with the assistance of an expert canyoneering guide. Western’s Moab Adventure Center also features Hot Air Balloon rides, Hummer Safaris and much, much more!

Oregon Wine Hike: Located in the beautiful wine country of Oregon, Rogue Wilderness Adventures gives guests the unique opportunity to enjoy 4 days of hiking and wine tasting. The experience is magnified by the fact that guests are learning about and sampling wine at the very location where it is made. This trip was featured in the New York Times and is guaranteed to be a fantastic, memorable experience for all! Guests must be 21 or older.

Grizzlies, Glaciers & Eagles... OH MY


The Alsek and Tatshenshini Rivers in Southern Alaska are famous locations for photographers and adventurers alike. While being a bit colder than other rafting destinations, this area is rich in wildlife and beautiful scenery. Breath-taking panoramas open up around every bend. The area is also unique in that it is part of the world’s largest biological preserve and contains some of the world’s most active glaciers. Rafters have the opportunity to float in a lake filled with icebergs and hike onto a glacier. In other words, this will be unlike anything you’ve ever experienced.

Canadian River Expeditions offers three options in this area of Alaska. One trip is offered on the Tatshenshini and is 12 days long. This particular trip is best known for its abundance of Grizzly Bears, Bald Eagles and other wildlife and is ideal for photographers. It offers access to the Northwest’s incredible plants and animals in a unique way only possible by raft. This trip has a minimum age of 8, so it is a great option for most families with teenagers as well as adult passengers.

The other two trips both take place on the Alsek River, with the full Alsek trip lasting 14 days and the other, just the upper portion of the Alsek, lasting 8 days. These two trips are incredibly scenic and include a spectacular helicopter over Turnback Canyon and the powerful Tweedsmuir Glacier. Both of the Alsek trips have no minimum age so families are welcome.

When it comes to outdoor adventure, these three Alaskan river rafting trips are guaranteed to be an amazing and unique experience. Whether you are looking to see and photograph some of the most spectacular scenery in the world, or are simply after a change of pace in your rafting adventures, these Alaskan rafting trips through Canadian River Expeditions are definitely the way to go. The guides at Canadian River Expeditions are experts at what they do and are extremely knowledgeable. We’re sure you’ll make lifelong memories and have an incredible experience in the wild Northwest.

For more Alaskan adventure options, check out the trips offered by Copper Oar including both single day and multi-day trips.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

River of No Return and Other Trips Around Idaho


While the 1954 movie with Marilyn Monroe made this river famous so long ago, we have our own reasons for loving the Salmon River. After all, what’s not to love? It has some of the most beautiful mountain scenery in the Western United States. The fishing and wildlife of the area alone could draw visitors from all over the world, if it didn’t also feature great, class IV rapids and a small, slow moving pools that invite you to jump in and enjoy the nice, cool water. Outdoor temperatures during the day typically range from 85 to 95 degrees, which is perfect weather for rafting.

ROW Adventures provides multi-day trips along this gorgeous river, camping out on glistening, white-sand beaches. Each one of these Salmon River rafting trips is guaranteed to bring a smile to your face and fill your camera with memories. This river is considered one of the best for families and first-timers, but is also filled with plenty of thrills, even for experienced rafters. Salmon River trips vary from 4 to 6 days, depending on the stretch that you choose to raft. ROW also offers a special, Family Magic trip designed especially for families and children. These trips take place on parts of the river that have fun, mild rapids just for kids and include River Jesters (fun, kid oriented guides) and kids menus.

If you’re looking for more adventurous trips, or just other rivers to raft, ROW also has trips on the Snake River, the Lochsa, and many others. The Snake River’s Hells Canyon is the deepest canyon in America. That’s right! Deeper than the Grand Canyon. Just across the Oregon-Idaho border, you can find some fantastic Oregon rafting on the Owyhee River in the high desert, with blooming flowers and plenty of wildlife. Check out the handful of day trips that ROW has to offer as well as their lodge-based trips. In fact, if you’re looking for a really incredible summer adventure, be sure to look into their all-inclusive adventure resort. It is literally a paradise on earth and possibly the most memorable summer adventure you will ever have.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

John Wesley Powell and the Grand Canyon Expedition


As rafting experts, we learn to appreciate the originals - the “Founding Fathers” of rafting, if you will. One of these great forerunners was Major John Wesley Powell, after whom Lake Powell is named. His river expeditions may not have been done on a raft, per say, but we honor him, nonetheless, as one of the greatest white water adventurers to ever set sail.
 
In 1869, John Wesley Powell, a one-armed soldier, scientist and explorer, set out with nine men and four wooden boats to conquer the uncharted land that would one day be known as the Grand Canyon and surrounding areas. The ten men found their way down the Green River to the confluence with the Grand (Colorado) River over the course of about three months. At one point, about a month in, one member of the band approached Major Powell and stated “I’ve had more excitement than a man deserves in a lifetime. I’m leaving.” Three others also left the group at various times throughout the journey. The remaining six men finished the journey, having accomplished one of the greatest exploratory feats of the infamous “Wild West”.

Fortunately for us, our Grand Canyon rafting trips are done through Western River Expeditions. They are hands down, the best in the west. Powell’s men had to live on what few supplies made it through the rapids, WRE’s skilled guides not only handle the rapids with expert precision, but they also provide meals that rival those of 5 star restaurants - all at the bottom of the incredible Grand Canyon. Western River Expeditions offers four different options varying from 3, 4, 6 and 7 day trips. The 6 and 7 day trips cover the same stretch of river, including more than 60 rapids, and half a dozen hikes to nearby natural attractions, but the 7 day trip includes an extra day for hikes and sightseeing. Likewise, the 3 and 4 day trips cover the remaining stretch of the Grand Canyon, with the 4 day trip including a night at the Bar 10 Ranch on the North Rim of the canyon. All four options are spectacular and will never be forgotten. This trip is one that everyone should do at least once in their life!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Rafting Trips Packing Tips


You have planned your rafting trip, made the reservations, and the big day has just about arrived… it's time to pack! Don't wait until the last minute to pack for your rafting trip because this is not a typical trip to the beach a theme park. You will need to pack a few specific items that will help your adventure go smoothly.



Clothing

When you pack clothes for your rafting trip, stay away from cotton for anything but camp time. This applies to both summer and fall rafting. Cotton is known to be very cool or even cold when wet. Other materials like nature’s wool, or man-made polyester “fleece” or polypropylene can still retain your body’s warmth – even when wet. The temperatures outside may be cool, and you do not want to be cold. Depending on the location and weather, you may want to wear layers of clothes. Many wear poly-pro long underwear as a first layer, river shorts, fleece jackets and then rain gear or “paddle jackets” that have rubber gaskets for wrists and neck. You may see wetsuits being worn as well. Often the outfitters that recommend them will also rent them on-site. One tip: guides tend to wear river shorts over their wetsuits so as not to slide around like a wet seal on the rubber raft… you’ll want to do the same!

The best tip is to follow your outfitter’s specific packing instructions if they are provided. In the Grand Canyon or Moab Utah, for instance, a wetsuit is rarely recommended due to the heat. A good splash is a welcome refreshment in many cases.

Bags

There are three types of bags you will use for a multi-day rafting trip. Day trips generally do not recommend you bring any gear at all. A camera that can buckle to your lifejacket, or a water bottle are generally expected, but otherwise a day trip raft will not have place for gear bags as described below for multi-day rafting trips.

Often the outfitter will provide the rubberized (dry) bags for your personal gear that arrives with you in your own duffel. Check with your outfitter to be sure they provide the dry bags and whether they provide sleeping bags among the gear.

  • Large Dry Bag
  • Sleeping Bag
  • Personal Duffel Bag
  • Small Gear Bag

Your dry bag will be used to store your personal items that you do not want to get wet – like most of the contents of your personal duffel bag. These large dry bags are generally large enough for the sleeping bag, and your personal duffel. However, be sure to leave out items you’ll want during the day such as sun screen, lip balm, camera, medications, etc. and use the smaller gear bag for those things. You will have access to the gear bag throughout the day. The larger dry bags are stored in a load that makes it inaccessible during the day. It’s always a good idea to put things inside of your own zippable bags just for extra protection from water. One tip: if you have reading glasses or anything else that could be crushed, place them in the bag with crush-proof case surrounding them.

A duffel bag can hold all of your items, and it makes it easier to carry through the airports or when traveling to your destination. Suitcases are never used on river trips!

Accessories

If you want to capture the highlights of your rafting trip, make sure you pack a camera. There are a number of very rugged digital cameras that are 100% waterproof. Olympus and Pentax are among them. You may want to take a disposable, waterproof camera so it doesn’t get ruined in the rapids, but if you do choose to risk it with a normal camera you can put it in your dry bag and only use it when the risk of water damage is not an issue. Another option is to purchase a waterproof housing for your camera so that you can use it in the rapids. Again, be mindful of things that can get crushed inside a rubber gear bag.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Different Types of Rafting Trips Available



Something for Everyone


If you love outdoor adventure, you will love rafting. When you plan your next rafting trip, you should consider the different types of rafting and levels of difficulty. There are a wide variety of trip types. There are trips designed more for family groups and others that are more for you and your adrenaline craving friends, so you’re guaranteed to find a trip that suits you just right


If you’re looking for a good trip for the whole family, especially if younger children are included, you may want to look into doing a single-day trip. These generally last either a half or a full day and can be a lot of fun for kids and adults alike. Since you won’t be spending the night, it is also less of a hassle and significantly less pricey.


Many of the most popular rafting trips in the world are multi-day trips. This is often because some of the best rapids are in some of the most remote, hard to reach locations in the world, such as the bottom of the Grand Canyon. While many of the single-day trips feature class 2 and 3 rapids, quite a few 4 and 5 level rapids can be found on multi-day trips. These trips can be a bit more expensive, but anyone who has experienced one will tell you that it is worth every penny. For the thrill-seeking outdoorsman, a multi-day rafting trip is as good as it gets.

Kayaking

If you are the more independently adventurous type, or just enjoy having a bit more control over your rafting experience, you might enjoy a kayaking trip. While many people buy their own kayak gear and frequent the nearest rapids they can find, we recommend first trying it out by going with one of the many companies that offer kayaks as an alternative to riding in a raft. Not all trips have this second option, but on many of the single-day trips you can opt out of riding in the raft and ride in an inflatable kayak called a “ducky” instead. Just remember to be safe and obey all the rules laid out by the guide that is placed in charge of your safety. Duckies can add an extra dose of adventure to the experience but they can also be much more dangerous if you aren’t careful.

Pick the type of trip that fits you and your group the best and go hit some white water!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Most Popular Rafting Trips in America


Here are highlights of a few of them:
Rogue River, Oregon: Rafting America offers a variety of trips that allow visitors to experience the 34 miles of scenic beauty and majestic canyons of Rogue River. The two day Wild Rafting Lodge Trip is a two day trip offered in May and June featuring class III rapids. After a long day of navigating the rapids, visitors enjoy a stay at a historic lodge that is located deep within the canyon. The four day camp and lodge rafting trip was voted the Best Family Vacation 2010 by Sunset Magazine.  Featuring class III rapids, visitors can enjoy this trip from May through October with a minimum age of 6. This trip takes guests on a four day trip with camping the first two nights and a stay in the historic Paradise Lodge on the last night. Riverside meals are offered nightly, and put together by your very own guide.   
New River, West Virginia: Rafting companies offer a number of trips on the New and Gauley Rivers of West Virginia that are tailored to all ages and levels of experience. Some trips are year round while others have seasonal restrictions.
Lower New River Gorge: This river in West Virginia has year round trips that offer rapid classes from III-V and serene pools for swimming or relaxing. Some of the rapids you will navigate while on the river have names that include Greyhound Bus Stopper, Keeney Brothers, and Surprise. New River makes a great overnight or multi-day trip as there are other attractions as you navigate the rapids and make your way down the river. A number of ghost towns can be found along the way. There is no experience necessary for the Lower New River Gorge but there are age restrictions. You must be at least 10 and no older than 90.  
If you have more children or elderly people in your group, you may want to consider Upper New Canyon which is a float trip with class I-III rapids that is available all season, and there are no age or experience restrictions. You can still enjoy the ghost towns along the way and enjoy a riverside deli lunch.
Colorado River, Grand Canyon Arizona: Rafting companies on this river lead many unique rafting trips. Trips through the Grand Canyon range from three to seven days. Visitors will experience more than navigating the rapids with hidden waterfalls to discover and breathtaking canyon walls. Longer trips include visits to Indian ruins and majestic overlooks. The four day trip includes the experiences of working on a cattle ranch, horseback riding and a variety of entertainment.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Top 10 Summer Rafting Destinations


The United States is abundant with raging rivers perfect for rafting. From north to south and east to west, there is something for everyone when it comes to summer rafting destinations. 

Middle Fork Salmon River in Idaho is one of the world’s most popular with rapids up to class IV and amazing scenery to match. Rafters can expect this 105-mile tributary to the Main Salmon River to drop 3000 feet along the way, and over 300 rapids.  
Nantahala River in North Carolina is the most popular rafting destination in the Southeast and one of the oldest rivers worldwide. The name comes from the Indian word which means “land of the noonday sun.” Rapids range from class II-III, eventually emptying into Fontana Lake. Over 250 feet deep and cool water year-round, this a perfect summer destination to cool off from the southern heat.
Menominee River separates Wisconsin from Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Besides boasting the best rafting next to the Colorado River (why this comparison? Is it similar in some way?), this area also features scenic wildlife and numerous campgrounds and boat launching areas. The Pier’s Gorge area features some of the fast moving water paired with beautiful scenery and wildlife.
Skykomish River in Washington is for the thrill seeker, featuring class V rapids, an impressive series of fast moving rapids, and a finale at the famous “Boulder Drop.” Trips to Skykomish River are ideal for summer destinations as the season runs from April to early August.
Tuolumne River in California is perfect for a summer trip as it is just 30 minutes outside of Yosemite National Park, in the Sierra Nevada foothills. Main Tuolomne features class IV-V rapids for moderate rafters and Cherry Creek features V+ rapids for experts only. Runs start at Meral’s Pool and end at Ward’s Ferry after an 18 mile ride through slalom rapids.
Flathead River in Montana’s Glacier Park is ideal for a summer getaway with tons to do between the scenery, wildlife, and 275 miles of thrilling rapids. The Middle Fork of the Flathead River features class II-III rapids and the North Fork with class I-II rapids, perfect for groups with mixed experience levels.
Hudson River Gorge in New York is best in the summer when visitors can enjoy riverside lunches or a swim. Rated one of the top 10 whitewater rafting runs in America, Hudson River features 500 feet of granite cliffs and thrilling rapids. Some of the best known rapids are Givney’s Rift, Greyhound Bus Stopper and the Narrows.
Lochsa River in Idaho has 40 class III-IV rapids and a steep gradient. Known for its challenging rapids, like Bloody Mary and the Grim Reaper, trips to Lochsa River will not disappoint. The river is also known for its combination of speed and volume of water making navigating this river like none other.
Ocoee River in Tennessee features rapid classes III-IV and over 20 continuous rapids. In addition to the rafting, visitors can also enjoy the wildlife and scenery of Cherokee National Forest, which the Ocoee flows through. Ocoee is one of the top locations in the south and also the site of the 1996 Summer Olympics, featuring the mile long Olympic course and rafting area.
Lehigh River Gorge located in Pennsylvania’s Pocono Mountains is the ideal summer vacation destination for families, featuring class I-III rapids in addition to other exploration and recreation activities in the area. Several trips also take rafters through the scenic Lehigh River State Park.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

How to determine if you are an Expert or a Beginner



No matter if it is your first time in a raft or your fiftieth time, whitewater rafting can provide thrills for people of all ages and skill levels. But knowing your skill level is important when choosing your rafting destination.
Knowing how rivers are classified is the first step. Rivers are rated using a class scale to define both the technicality and size of the whitewater. Class I rivers have a slower current, smaller and lower waves, and no obstructions. Often these are labeled as “Scenic Floats”.  Class II rivers feature rapids up to three feet in height with wide channels and high visibility. Some light maneuvering is required. Class III features rapids up to four feet with narrower passages and the guarantee that water will come gushing into your raft. Moderate maneuvering is needed here. Navigating a class I-III rivers are not too difficult and ideal for younger children.
Class IV rivers are longer and feature more difficult rapids, narrower passages, and turbulent waters. Precise maneuvering is required. Class V is the highest level and most difficult with more complexity and larger amounts of water, in addition to the challenges of a Class IV rapid. Class V rivers should only be navigated by experts and many rafting companies will not even take guests on Class V rapids.
If you are already familiar with the classification system, you are probably not a beginner, but you might not be an expert either. Chances are if you have not been formally trained or certified, but you have been whitewater rafting before, you might fall into the moderate or intermediate category. It really comes down to knowing your strengths and weaknesses. Many people who have been rafting before may not want a guide but guides are great for individuals of all levels of experience because they can offer navigation and safety information you may not otherwise be aware of. Tour companies can also give you additional information if you have questions. Using a guide or going on a tour through a company is your safest option, no matter your skill level.
Even if you are an expert, if you are in a group with beginners or moderate rafters, you should be mindful of everyone’s skill level in your group. Most rafts hold 8 people so the skill levels of each individual are important to know before trying to maneuver and navigate your way down a river.