We just finished our two-day whitewater rafting trip down the Colorado River through Cataract Canyon into Lake Powell. We planned this months ago, but the timing was perfect. We needed a break from all the hiking in the heat and two days on the water was perfect. Cataract Canyon is part of Canyonlands National Park and as you can imagine, it has steep red rock walls that rise from the river.
We arrived at 7:30am on Monday at Western River Expeditions in Moab and met the four other people on our tour. There was one young couple, Zach and Megan, and one father and son pair, Gary (dad) & Cory (24 years old). Our tour was supposed to be on a 26-foot motorized raft. Due to the very low water levels, it was changed to be a fast run down the top (quiet) part of the river on a motor boat and then on to an 8-person self-paddled raft for the rapids and remainder of the trip. We loaded ourselves onto the motor boat for a 2-hour run to the point where we met our guides, Daniel (on our boat), Nick & Anna who rowed the supplies down on inflatable rafts.
Words can’t really describe the landscape, the quiet, or the sheer blast of running 32 rapids, a couple of which were classified as Category 5. We ran them all our first day. I have to give props to Western River and our guides–they were cheerful and clearly knew what they were doing. We never once felt unsafe. Bonus was the food, which was surprisingly good for camp food. They even cooked steak for dinner on Monday night. We camped under a bright moon on a sand bar that won’t exist when the water rises. Sleeping was a challenge for everyone but Sue, who can sleep standing up on a cliff face when she’s tired.
Tuesday was a lazy day. Since we were finished with the rapids, we tied onto one of the supply rafts and motored at a leisurely pace to the put out point. I was happy to sit and enjoy the scenery and the company. We were a little sad to say goodbye to our guides, but ready for the 2.75-hour van ride back to Moab. Being on the water for two days in the sun is tiring for us old folks. We promised to exchange GoPro footage (which we will post once we edit) with everyone and went our separate ways back at Moab.
Our separate way was to a beautiful inn called Red Moon Lodge. They have their own water source, so there is a pond to hang out around once it cools off. Plus, there are real flowers. It is odd to see something in nature that is not red, brown, or tan after all this desert.
Finally, we headed to Moab Brewery for dinner, where we met up with none other than Daniel and Nick, two of our guides. We were happy to have another chance to tell them what a spectacular trip it was!