Doing a little bit of catch up, as I seem to be perpetually behind here.
About a month ago, I had the incredible opportunity to venture down Cataract Canyon on the Colorado River with three amazing co-staff and 12 teenagers. It was definitely one of the most interesting river trips I’ve ever been on, but it was an awesome experience overall.
Cataract Canyon offers some of the biggest whitewater in the southwest, and is definitely the biggest water that we as the Colorado Outward Bound School take students on. The put-in for the canyon is just a few miles outside of Moab, so it is a really popular river section to run. Cat (as we affectionately call it) is a stunning canyon, and provides great insight into the incredible geology of the region. There are some great day hikes from the river, and the rapids are fun.
This was my second time down Cat (the first time was last October with another course I was working), and I had a blast. This summer I did the logistics for our 50 day summer semester course, which, if you are reading this and know anyone between the ages of 16 and 19, you should definitely recommend this course to them for summer 2014. The Cataract section was the fourth section they did, preceded by two other river sections and a mountain section. I was really grateful for the opportunity to get to know the students better and be able to just have fun with them, rather than them seeing me as someone who was always stressed out during course events.
The first three days of the river were flat-water days, and we hung out with students in the paddle boats, playing rounds of various getting to know you games, splashing each other, jumping in for a swim every five minutes and watching the students fry themselves in the hot July sun.
I was able to do a fair amount of rowing on the support boat (a big boat operated by two oars that carries all of our gear; pots box, cooler, food box, water, etc.), which I was really excited about. I rowed a fair amount of the flat-water, pulling students on the boat with me to talk to and learn more about them. I also got the chance to row about half of the rapids. I had good lines through most of them, but I did get stuck on a sleeper rock once, which was a bit of a bummer.
One of my co-staff and I dropped the students and two of the staff off at the mouth of Dark Canyon, a huge canyon drainage that comes all the way down to the river. The students hiked up the canyon for several days, and my co-staff and I attached all three boats together and enjoyed a peaceful row out to the take out with awesome moonlight.