In 1983, Mike Taggett, the founder of @chumsusa, was embarking upon his third year as a boatman with Martin Litton’s Grand Canyon Dories in the Grand Canyon. A GCD trip down the Colorado was 18-22 days back then, and Litton ran his operation with beautiful, painted wooden dories – fast, responsive, and easy to right in the event of a flip.
Spring of 1983 marked the end of a tremendous snow season, resulting in high and fast runoff from the Colorado mountains. Lake Powell was at capacity with the risk of overflowing, forcing the opening of the spillways from Glen Canyon. Downriver water ran at more than double its normal flow, measuring 40,000 cfs and above – rates that had never been seen before. -
Most big rapids had washed out, creating large whirlpools and eddies, but Crystal Rapid had turned into a huge reversing wall of water, known as a hydraulic jump. And by the time Mike's trip got to Lava Falls, it was running at almost 100,000 cfs! The current ran fast all the way to shore, and it was hard just making it into the eddies for some of the camps. Throughout the trip, the Park Service dropped notes from helicopters with high water warnings and river closure notices.
Passengers had no idea why the guides were a bit jittery, as most of the rapids weren’t big, but the water was fast. Not many can say they experienced those epic days on the Colorado in 1983, and Taggett is lucky to own a piece of history on that river that will likely never be repeated. -
Awesome story and image from @oars_rafting and Rudy Petschek. If you’re looking for a splashy summer adventure check them out.
Choo-choo! A train of AzRA rafters head down a small rapid on the Little Colorado River at RM61. The LCR is clear and a brilliant blue color about half the year. This water comes from Blue Springs about 12 miles upstream from this location. In the rainy season or if there is ample snow melt, the LCR will run muddy from the run off, which obscures the blue spring waters. Almost all rafting trips will stop here to frolic for a short time in this spectacular location, when it is blue.
So why is the water that incredible color? It is because the water comes from underground, where it picks up dissolved minerals magnesium and calcium from the rocks. As these waters flow through the ground, it encounters very high levels of carbon dioxide--100 times more than in the air we breathe. The carbon dioxide dissolves in the groundwater, forming a compound called bicarbonate. When the bicarbonate-rich groundwater meets the desert air, another chemical reaction occurs, and calcium carbonate—the same stuff that makes up chalk, —precipitates out of the water. Together, the dissolved magnesium and calcium and the suspended calcium carbonate reflect sunlight to create the turquoise color. Photo credit: Marianne Porter #littlecoloradoriver#LCR#rafting#gcnp#grandcanyonsidehikes#grandcanyonsidecanyons#grandcanyonrafting#adventureawaits#funontheriver#bluegreenwaters#grandcanyonsprings