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Visiting the Grand Canyon
Any current recommendations about rafting the grand canyon this summer? Which segment, what company? Karen
In terms of trip options, you can do the upper river (generally 5 or 6 days from Lake Powell to the Bright Angel trail), lower river (8 or 9 days from the Bright Angel trail to Lake Mead), or the whole river (15 days from Lake Powell to Lake Mead). We did the lower river, and while 9 days seemed like a lot when we signed up for the trip, I was very sad when it was over and will definitely do the entire river the next time.
A warning that if you do only the upper river, you have to hike out at the Bright Angel trail, which is an eight-mile, uphill, very hot hike to the south rim of the Grand Canyon. As we were hiking down the trail to meet for our launch, we passed a lot of miserable people who were hiking out. Erin
Planning a girls only trip and need some advice/recommendations. Any rafting companies recommended? Specific guides? Time of the year to go? Minimum/maximum number of days to spend? Any advice on logistics? Any other advice that I haven't thought to ask? Thanks for your responses in advance!!! Celebrating Our Milestone Birthdays
Hi - My husband has decided that he'd like to celebrate his 50th birthday next year with a family raft trip down the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon. Now we just need a great company to raft with, and would appreciate any recommendations, cautionary tales, or advice about specific companies, times of year to go, other relevant advice. Our kids will be 10 and 12 and are good swimmers and hearty campers. I think one week would be better than two, which seems one week too long. The website has recommendations for California and Oregon trips but not Arizona's Colorado River. Many thanks for your input. D
Because I am a river rafter myself, my trips have been ''private trips'' organized by friends, however I do know of a couple companies that are highly regarded. In order to give you an appropriate recommendation, however, I would need to know what you are looking for. Do you want to travel downriver in an oar raft with guide and a few other people? Or do you want to be on a big motor rig with up to 35-40 other people? Two reputablecompanies that do a very good job are Outdoors Unlimited and Oars, to get you started.
I disagree with you about timeline - in my humble opinion one week would be far, far too short to experience the wonder of the place. If you go on a one week trip, you are going to be in a motor boat, flying past some of the best side hikes and scenery that the world has to offer. When I was down in the canyon, I would often see these folks flying by and think of how much they were missing.
Feel free to contact me - it would be a pleasure to help your family with what could very well be a trip you will all cherish for the rest of your lives. Mary
The one week trip means you only travel half the canyon. If you start at Lee's Ferry (16 miles below the dam) you will hike out at Phantom Ranch - in the Grand Canyon. It is a tough vertical hike (with your pack) and, though beautiful - it is not a mellow way to end a raft trip. You also miss most of the super big rapids. People who were on our trip who left us at Phantom Ranch regretted not doing the entire trip. The alternative is to hike in at Phantom Ranch. 4 people joined our group at Phantom Ranch. They also had a tough time coming down (in fact guides had to hike up and assist them down) - and they had wobbly legs for about two days. I suppose if you go on a motorized trip you can do the entire thing in a week - but it looked like a very different experience. It depends on what the person really wants to do.
We found the people at Rivers and Oceans (www.rivers-oceans.com/home.html) to be very helpful in getting info about all the different outfitters and trip options. They were not helpful as a travel agent. I suggest doing your research through them and then booking a trip directly with the outfitter that is offering the trip.
Have fun. Shahana
We will be driving to the Grand Canyon (south rim) from Berkeley in August. Does anybody have any recommendations as to stops along the way to break up the drive? Little towns with good parks? A good lunch spot along the way? Your favorite hotel to stop-over if you want to do the trip in two days? We know it will be hot, so no need to warn us about that, but we would appreciate any recommendations you have about how to make the drive as fun and/or painless as possible with a 4-year old. Thanks! Looking forward to a HOT summer!
Laughlin has some nice, cheap casinos (we have stayed at Harrah's)--check the days for cheap rates--with free [or nearly free] food. Since we don't gamble, we simply enjoy the cheap room and board, and their nice pool/sauna/etc.
Have a nice trip! Amy
Food and things to do and see along the way: Harris Ranch at I-5 and Hwy 198 in the Central Valley is 180 miles from Berkeley and has excellent food and is very kid friendly. We always stop there for lunch. Bakersfield has several excellent Basque restaurants. Look in the local yellow pages. They serve enormous meals - we try and eat there for dinner on the way home after backpacking. Flagstaff (which you may or may not get to - the shortest way to the Grand Canyon south rim is to turn north off of I-40 at Williams, 30 miles before Flagstaff) has the best food on I-40 and has an excellent museum, the museum of Northern AZ. On the way back, if you take old US66 west after leaving Kingman AZ you pass through the near-ghost town of Oatman AZ (now with rock and gift shops) and come down to the Colorado River between Laughlin NV and Needles. Turn left to get back to I-40 at Needles, and turn right if you want to go gamble). It's better to do this going west because Needles to Oatman is poorly signed, but Kingman to Oatman to Needles is well-signed. The Oatman cutoff is much more scenic than I-40, and only a few minutes longer in time because it's 10-15 miles shorter in distance. The Providence Mountains State Park (~15 miles N of I-40, about 45 miles W of Needles has a cool cave with guided tours. We stopped there on the way home for a couple of cool hours underground in the middle of a hot day. Between Boron and Mohave you'll have Edwards Air Force Base on your south. Look for wierd planes flying low - Edwards is a test center. West of Mohave the largest set of wind generators in the U.S. (many more than in the Altamont Pass) is south of Hwy. 58. And finally, as Hwy. 58 climbs over the Tehachapi mountains east of Bakersfield it passes a place where the transcontinental train line makes a 360 degree loop in order to change elevation. For kids of a certain age, the chance to see a long freight train making a complete loop so that the engine passes right over the rear cars is probably on a par with seeing the Grand Canyon. The ''Tehachapi Loop'' is quite famous among train fans, and because uphill trains travel slowly there's a good chance of seeing one (or more!)if you stop there for 1/2 an hour or so. I think it's near the Caliente exit, but in any case a web search for ''Tehachapi Loop'' should find it.
Hope this gives you a few ideas for the (generally boring but fast - our kids listened to all of Harry Potter on tape on one trip) drive. Remember that it's seriously hot across the desert and aim to do Mohave-Kingman some time other than midday. We find leaving Berkeley about 9 means Harris Ranch from 12-1, Bakersfield about 3, Mohave about 4, and thus a desert crossing as the day is starting to cool off. David Marcus firstname.lastname@example.org
We took a lot of successful, pleasant car trips when the children were small. Here are some ideas:
1. Keep a journal. Have the child dictate what they're seeing/hearing/doing. Draw pictures. Include tickets, programs, dried leaves, photos, post cards, etc. Let child see you and your husband writing and drawing in journal. I have found that what works best for a trip journal is to use the plastic sleeves. Take along a glue stick so you can you can make up some of the pages during the trip and slip the stuff into the sleeves.
2. Take along a spray bottle of water -- when somebody gets hot, this helps. But it has to be one that only has a gentle spray; not the kind that will send a stream. I got one for each child at a beauty supply store.
3. In Mom's bag is lotion, chapstick, pencils, a notebook with paper, magazines to cut up, special snacks, new car toys.
4. Each child packs a backpack with books, writing/drawing stuff, stuffed animals, healty snacks, bottle of water, car toys (from a box at home that is ONLY used for trips. Car toys don't have parts: etch-a-sketch, magnetic checkers, puzzles with pieces built in, etc.) My neighbor had a holder for each child that hooked over the front seat headpiece with pockets to store their stuff in -- that's probably better than a backpack.
5. Pillow and a crib blanket (smaller than from their beds at home, but familiar and comforting.)
6. A flat space to write/draw on.
7. Everybody has their own space -- NEVER move seats!!! (Grownups can switch to drive as long as they don't fight about someone touching their stuff!)
Have a wonderful trip. Happy Traveller
8. Outline the trip beforehand for your child. ''It will take us 2 days of driving all day to get there. We'll leave when it's still dark and you can sleep, then we'll stop for breakfast and drive some more . . . '' Each day you can tell them what to expect.
9. Show him the map and trace your route. This is a visual representation of time and helps him figure out how long he'll be sitting in that seat.
10. My mother always led us in singing -- I think it's a wonderful tradition and bonding activity. Story telling, especially about when you were little, passes the time. Read a great book out loud. Take along stories on tape and music. Play all the traditional car games: ''I'm going on a trip and am taking an A...'', I Spy, find things outside that start with A,B..., license plates, most cars of red vs white vs blue.
11. 5 minutes stops at roadside rests to run as fast as you can, throw a frisbee around, turn summersaults. . .
Have fun! More Happy Traveller
*Left VERY early in the AM(6AM) with breakfast in the car - chunky cheesy scrambled eggs and Krustez mini pancakes (a Special treat!) Given the heat that AZ is having this time of year, I might even consider an evening start and drive most of the night to max sleep time.
*Took a portable DVD player with Monsters Inc, Sound of Music, Mary poppins. routed audio thru sterio system with a sony CD-to- cassette adapter. We all sang along. LIFE SAVER!!!!
*She enjoyed her LeapFrog activity thingy
*We put her in a pull-up to avoid accidents if she fell asleep. She never did wet as the stops were potty-manditory!!!
*Snacks, snacks, snacks - tried to have a good mix of high protein - nuts, hard boiled eggs, turkey sandwiches - include special treats - she was BIG into lolly pops - I used them a quick melt down defusers 1-2X ea way. Generally tried to avoid sugars/cookies, etc
*We stopped in Bakersfield and Kingman AZ for gas and potty - about every 3-3.5 hours. We stopped, ran around hard in the parking lots, walked the dog, got popcicles - 20-30 min. each stop. We did not try to find anything special in terms of parks as this is BARREN land. Needles looks (ed) green (50 min earlier than Kingman)so they might have something.
*If they are sleeping, keep driving.
*Bring huge amounts of water.
Disclaimer - we KNEW that we and our daughter could manage this trip as we had driven back from CT 9/11 when she was 12 mos old and had did it fast - 2 900+ mi days. Even with that - we were prepared to cut this trip in half and stay in a hotel somewhere if needed. My advice is to be prepared to cut the trip up as needed/improvise with your plans. I would look at what worked for you in the past with road trips of any length/what keeps your child occupied now. Have fun and stay cool!!! Liz
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