Sheri Griffith River Expeditions: This is how a river adventure should be run!
River trip on Sunday, October 7, 2012; reviewed October 14, 2012 See this review on Trip Advisor.
One of the main activities that we schedule for our 2012 Utah meet-up was a white water rafting trip on the Colorado River through Sheri Griffith River Expeditions. What a great trip this was! The crew from SGRE was outstanding and took care of all the details, which really made for a fun day.
We started the day fairly early, meeting at the SGRE location just south on Moab at 7:00 AM. We took care of the obligatory waivers at the shop and then loaded the bus for the 2-hour ride to the West Water Ranger station to start our river adventure. Once off the bus, we were fitted with life vests and given the first part of the safety briefing, then we divided up into the rafts. There were 15 of us on the trip and there were three rafts, two oar boats and one paddle boat. In the oar boat, the guide does all the work; in the paddle boat everyone is working and had a paddle. I was in the paddle boat with seven of my buddies and our guide, Annie. The rest of the group split off into the oar boats.
This is really like three trips in one. The first part is on smooth water with a few small riffles. This is where we learned how to paddle as a team and got the commands that we would use later in the day. We also enjoyed the scenery and looked for wildlife (we saw one Bald Eagle) plus Annie gave us some of the history of the area. In addition, we had a breakfast of fruit and cake served while on the water…how cool is that!
After the smooth water float, we hit the river bank for lunch. Again, all the details were covered by the crew, who set up a nice little sandwich line for us. Very fresh and nice variety. After lunch, we got ready for the second phase of the trip, the rapids! There were splash suits for everyone. These really to not keep you dry, but they do certainly help you to dry out faster. We also received the rest of our safety briefing on how to handle the rapids and what to do in case you are tossed from the raft or the raft is flipped. Potential for serious consequences, but the guides are there to ensure the safety of the trip, and in this regard they are very good and highly professional. Once briefed and geared-up, it was back to the river for some excitement.
There are 11 rapids along this section of the river; all are Class III except for one Class IV. When we made the trip, the river was running at 2100 cfs, so not real high, but still made for an exciting run. For a couple of the rapids, Annie went through the plan of attack for what we would have to do as we paddled through, but in most cases she just had us dive right in. It was GREAT! Needless to say, we got soaked, and the Colorado was more than a bit chilly! But it was an outstanding ride through the white water. Those of us in the paddle boat were working hard through this section of the river, which I think made the experience even better. No one came out of our raft.
After the rapids, the three rafts were lashed together in a V-formation with two boats in front and the third behind with an outboard motor now attached and we motored our way the final distance along a smooth water stretch to the take-out point near Cisco. Again we got to enjoy the wonderful scenery along the river, as well as a few beers that we had brought along for the trip. The skies were blue, the sun was out and we dried off quickly after we peeled off the splash suits. It was a great day on the river.
There are facilities at the take-out in which you can change into dry clothes (several folks brought a change of clothes, which you just leave on the bus). The ride back to Moab is along scenic route 128 and takes about an hour. I think we were back at the outfitters office about 5:30 (give or take), so it is a full day adventure. But it is well worth the time.
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