Western River Expeditions Debunks Myths Around River Rafting and Unplugged Vacations

SALT LAKE CITY, UT, Aug. 28, 2014 – In Huckleberry Finn the author posits the protagonist on a raft on the Mississippi River as a means of escaping civilization’s wiles.

Decades later Mark Twain’s antidote for “The World Is Too Much with Us” can be a Grand Canyon raft vacation on the Colorado River.

But there are myths that surround the forces of a river and being out in the wilderness under the stars. Western River Expeditions (http://www.westernriver.com/) has distilled some of the myths about river rafting. Here are a few myths that they’ve busted.

“These myths”, says Brandon Lake, CMO of Western River Expeditions, “may be keeping many of us away from the river and from some of life’s most memorable and transformational experiences.”

Myth 1: Rafting is for adrenaline junkies. Don’t toss rafting out of your bucket list just because of all the trepidation around running the rapids on a rafting trip. Not every rafting trip is extreme. Western River’s patented J-Rig boat that matches the size of the waves in Cataract Canyon or Grand Canyon combines maximum ride with maximum security and comfort. You can sit high and dry and never get doused.

Myth 2: I will be sitting on a raft all day. Each day of a multi-day river rafting trip offers something new around the corner. Guests generally spend much more time out of the raft than in it. One day you may hike to a moonshiner’s cabin, or ponder Native American etchings on prehistoric stone or jump into a waterfall hole or climb for an hour to a photographic vista. The raft may begin to feel like home base.

Myth 3: There’s only canned food on rafting trips. Western River carries 750 pounds of ice per trip down the Grand Canyon. This isn’t for keeping canned foods cold but to protect foods for fresh salads, fruits, grilled meats and ice-cold desserts. Various and sundry food supplies totaling over 1000 pounds per trip include: 24 pounds of bacon,14 bunches of bananas, 360 eggs, 30 kiwi, 70 apples, 65 oranges,100 gallons of lemonade mix and 128 pounds of the finest BBQ charcoal briquettes.

Myth 4: I have to enjoy camping. Many guests experience camping for the first time in their lives. Do they have to enjoy it? Well, they don't have to like witnessing the Milky Way up close under a cloudless night. They don’t have to enjoy having mouth-watering meals prepared for them for up to seven days, dining under golden sunsets as the river rolls by at their feet. They don’t have to enjoy resetting their internal clocks by the rising and setting of the sun, or bathing in a cool river before bedtime. But they do enjoy it. For those still not sure about the camping part of it, you can run the Rogue River in Oregon where you stay each night in a different lodge along the river for three or four nights.

Myth 5: There are no bathroom facilities on rafting trips. Western River sets up bathroom facilities at camp each night in a large enclosed tent in a remote corner of camp. These toilet facilities, except for not having a flush handle, are just like those at home. During the day they issue a self-contained disposal kit for solid waste which can be carried off to a private location. Count on frequent stops during the day as well.

Myth 6: I have to be a good swimmer. Everyone wears a tightly buckled Personal Flotation Device (PFD) at all times on the river, in case you have a “personal flotation experience.” Involuntary personal flotation experiences are not very common. One needn’t be concerned about sinking or floating if you are wearing your PFD properly.

Myth 7: The best rapids are gone after spring runoff. The more water in a river, the bigger the rapids, right? Not always. Every rapid is caused by the surrounding terrain: canyon walls, boulders, gravel bars, and constriction within the channel. Sometimes the boulders that seem high and dry during late summer flows become rapids-forming boulders in the higher water of spring runoff (and vice versa). In other words, it is relative. One absolute, however, is that high flows mean swifter water, while low flow means slower. Lower water can give a guide more time to react between obstacles, but it can also reveal more obstacles! Dams can regulate a river to the point that high or low flows of spring and fall are virtually forgotten. The Snake River through Hell’s Canyon is dam regulated and so is the Colorado River through Grand Canyon and the Rogue River in Oregon.

Myth 8: It doesn't matter who you go with, all guides and outfitters are the same. This is absolutely false. The quality of your experience, sharing of canyon history and all-round “info-tainment” will increase with outfitters who specifically select guides for technical expertise and knowledge. Western River guides know how to tell a joke, tie a knot, cook a meal, dress a certifiable boo-boo, lead a talent night competition, and pontificate on a variety of topics from ancient philosophy to modern day astrophysics. Western River Expeditions has a unique hiring philosophy: Individuals are selected for the extraordinary personalities and then are trained in-house in river navigation, whitewater rescue, geology, culinary arts, wilderness first aid, and more.

Myth 9: I have to be athletic to enjoy rafting. Athletic people may have an advantage when compared to, let’s say, clumsy people. But if you can grip a rope, walk, step over stuff, occasionally do a slow-motion butt slide and carry a bag to your campsite in soft sand, then you’re golden. The only true requirement of a river trip is being able to get in and out of the raft. Yes, there are short hikes. Yes, these hikes lead to majestic waterfalls and slot canyons so pre-conditioning for your “Trip of a Lifetime” is always a good idea. Being self-aware (aware your surroundings and what you’re capable of) is far more important on a rafting trip than athleticism alone. River trips have a way of revealing that we are more capable than we may think we are. We can shatter the comfort zone shackles we never realized were there.

Myth 10: I will miss my electronic devices. Not really. It can be hard to imagine leaving connectivity behind. Ironically, while we seldom forget to recharge our devices, we sometimesforget the importance of recharging our own batteries! Humans need to unplug to recharge. A multi-day rafting trip is one of the last vacations on the planet where you can truly disconnect. You'll be having so much fun you may not even miss those devices.

For a copy of the 2014-2015 catalog, questions, availability and reservations call toll-free: 866.904.1160 (Local: 801.942.6669), or visit: http://www.westernriver.com/.

Western River Expeditions

Western River Expeditions is an adventure travel company headquartered in Salt Lake City, with operations and offices in Moab, Utah and Fredonia, Arizona. Annually from March through October it escorts more people down rivers on professionally guided rafting trips in Utah, Idaho and Arizona than any other company. It is the largest licensed outfitter in the Grand Canyon and the largest single tour provider in Moab, UT, through its division Moab Adventure Center (http://www.moabadventurecenter.com/).

Western River Expeditions, providing Grand Canyon rafting, Utah rafting, and Idaho rafting trips, was founded in 1961 by Colorado River rafting pioneer Jack Currey. It has been named one of the “Best Adventure Travel Companies on Earth” by the editors of National Geographic Adventure magazine. The company is the proud recipient of the "Best of State" award through Utah’s Premier Recognition and Awards Program for nine consecutive years.

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