There are many ways to salvation and one of them is to follow a river. –David Brower

Trip Filled

AUGUST 20-28,2021

Join Southwest Seminars for the experience of a lifetime led by Geologist Dr Kirt Kempter and social anthropologist, Dr. John Ware and featuring 7-days rafting the Colorado River through the legendary Grand Canyon and 6-nights camping under the stars. We raft into the Canyon beginning at Lee’s Ferry and exit the canyon via scenic helicopter and private charter airplane. The trip includes hotel lodging and dinner the night before the excursion as Kirt and John set the stage for our grand adventure and another night and dinner after the trip wrap-up as we celebrate our amazing journey through the vividly colored Grand Canyon, a 7-day study tour on the most coveted raft trip in the world.

Learn the story revealed in the thick sequence and variety of rocks exposed in the walls of the canyon which provide a record of the Paleozoic Era (550-250 million years ago). View scattered remnants of Precambrian rocks at the bottom of the Canyon. Discuss the origin of the canyon and how the complexity of erosional features of the Colorado River and precipitation created and continue to shape the canyon. Learn about the variety of species of mammals, reptiles, fish and birds that make the Grand Canyon home, including many threatened and endangered species and plants that have found a refuge in the Park’s protected lands. Discover the more than 5,000-year human history and native importance of the canyon to ancestral Pueblo, Hopi, Havasupai, Navajo, Hualapai, Paiute and Zuni tribes. Follow the story of the pioneering journey in 1869 of John Wesley Powell down the river. These features have made Grand Canyon National Park a WorldHeritage Site, a designation honoring its natural and cultural resources, a shared inheritance for all mankind

Trip Description: The Colorado River is The Best Known Rafting Location in the World. Our 190-mile trip between Lee’s Ferry and Whitmore Wash has been selected by Wayne as it covers the most scenic and geologically significant sites within the canyon in just the right balance of time on the river and off-river site exploration. We begin our journey with slow moving rapids, which increase in intensity as we travel further into the Canyon. There is plenty of whitewater excitement, including some of the most famous “drops and falls” in the world: Horn Creek, Hermit, Crystal and Lava Falls. We’ll hike beautiful side canyons with cascading waterfalls, turquoise pools, and the cooling shade of hidden grottos and enjoy stargazing at night. Visit interesting historical sites only accessible by the river, study unique geological features, and gain a comprehensive educational perspective on the geology and natural history of this majestic canyon. Marvel at ever-changing vistas and panoramas revealed at each twist and turn of the river. Along with the amazing scenery and geo-education we’ll enjoy periods of profound peace as we drift quietly through narrow corridors of polished granite

Dr. Kirt Kempter is a noted and popular volcanologist, an independent field geologist and former Fulbright Scholar. He has led many tours for Smithsonian Travel, Around the World geology study tours for Nat Geo by private jet and  throughout the Southwest for Southwest Seminars. His field research was in Costa Rica, Mexico and New Mexico; he conducted Field Geologic Training for the NASA Astronaut Candidate Program and is an Excellent Fajita Chef. Kirt is in great demand as both a public lecturer and study leader, always attracting a packed house at his Southwest Seminars Monday night presentations. We are fortunate to have Kirt at the helm of this river excursion.

Dr. John Ware is a distinguished Southwest archaeologist and social anthropologist. He served as Executive Director; Amerind Foundation and was founding director, NM Museum of Indian Arts and Culture. He is an author, A Pueblo Social History: Kinship, Sodality and Community in the Northern Southwest. As a study leader, John has led many tours throughout Indian Country and has for many years studied the social organization of Eastern Keres Pueblo peoples along the Rio Grande corridor. At Amerind, he sponsored many symposia featuring prominent scholars who gathered on campus to meet and discuss issues in Southwest anthropology, archaeology, and ethno-history while sharing ideas and new research which produced cutting-edge books on research topics.

Trip Details: The trip will be in 37 foot motored raft as they are more comfortable and safer for this kind of expedition and the preferred mode for this river excursion. The motors are quiet and able to be turned off as opportunities for drifting allow. Our highly recommended outfitter, Colorado River & Trail Expeditions (CRATE) has been in business since 1971 and features knowledgeable, trained and experienced river guides, who are excellent outdoor chefs, enthusiastic river companions and certified in CPR, Wilderness Medicine and River Rescue. The hot weather of August will be tempered by the cold river water, the splash from  the rapids much more welcoming.  Random  summer monsoon rains might result in amazing waterfalls off the rim or cactus blossoms along our journey. Our trip begins (1st day – August 20) with a welcome dinner and lecture by Dr. Kirt Kempter and Dr. John Ware at Cliff Dwellers Lodge in Marble Canyon, Arizona, followed by an orientation about basic logistics on the river.

  • An active trip that involves 7 days of whitewater boating, hiking 6-nights of camping under the stars. (Days #2-8 – August 21-27)
  • Our put-in is Historic Lee’s Ferry, 13 miles below Glen Canyon Dam.
  • Entering Grand Canyon, within the first few miles we begin our descent though geologic layers traveling 78 miles by river to the bottom of this great stack of rocks.
  • Run Badger, Soap Creek and House Rock rapids.
  • Float deeper into the Marble Canyon section of the river and see lush green spring of Vasey’s Paradise stopping at Redwall Cavern, a vast alcove that J.W. Powell estimated would seat 50,000 people.
  • Hike to ancestral Puebloan habitation sites, rock art sites or granaries. Hikes optional (but recommended).
  • The canyon is truly grand as we float downstream to the turquoise blue waters of the Little Colorado River, the spiritual birthplace of the Hopi Fourth World. The canyon begins to open up as we encounter Tanner, Unkar, Nevills and the formidable Hance Rapid.
  • We reach some of the biggest whitewater in the canyon as we enter the Inner Gorge.
  • Make a quick stop at Phantom Ranch, designed by architect Mary E. Jane Coulter in 1922 as a tourist camp, it’s style later adapted to most other National Park Service locations.
  • On one of the biggest whitewater days in the canyon, a stretch of river known as the “Jewels”, we encounter Crystal, Sapphire, Turquoise and Ruby rapids
  • Enjoy hiking to the green haven of clear pools, lush moss and ferns at Elves Chasm
  • View an excellent example of the geological phenomenon, the Great Unconformity, at Blacktail Canyon
  • Enter the Middle Granite Gorge and a series of exciting rapids – 128 Mile , Specter, Bedrock and Dubendorf.
  • Enter the Granite Narrows, the canyon’s narrowest point and visit Deer Creek Falls for a refreshing dip in the clear pool beneath the falls.
  • Hike the limestone terraces and the travertine pools and waterfalls of Havasu Canyon.
  • Raft the notorious Lava Falls in the depths of the Grand Canyon near the end of our journey.
  • Arriving at Whitmore Wash, we board a helicopter for a scenic flight out of the canyon, followed by charter flight return to Marble Canyon for farewell dinner with Kirt and John and those often dreamed showers and beds. (Day #8-August 27))
  • Departure following break fast the next morning (Day #9 – August 28)

Includes: 9 days and 8 night tour includes: Full outfitter services for 7 days of rafting in 37’ motorized rafts, 6-nights deluxe camping including cots, foam pad, sleeping bags, chairs, tents (and stars), 2 nights lodging at Cliff Dwellers Lodge, all meals at the lodge and on the river. Helicopter/airplane transfer back to Lee’s Ferry. Study Leader honorarium, river guide gratuities, admission, fee for our services.

Double Occupancy: $4900 per person, Single Occupancy $5050
Requires a $500 Deposit to Reserve
Contact Southwest Seminars for Registration Packet
Balance in full due April 1, 2021

Contact Southwest Seminars to reserve your space

Completed vaccinations will be required for all 2021 Southwest Seminars Tours

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