Parent, Family, Student & Alumni River Expedition
A Weekend of Fun, Friendship, Family and Adventure
A Weekend of Fun, Friendship, Family and Adventure
The river wild is the perfect metaphor for life. It has calm stretches with moments of chaos, fear, and adversity. To make a safe river run requires planning, trust, hard work and the experience of those who’ve been through it before.
The calm stretches allow us to relax, reflect, and enjoy the scenery – but when the rapids draw near, it gives everyone the chance to dig in, to do their part and trust the others to do theirs. At the end of an exhilarating run, there’s nothing like the feeling of overcoming difficult challenges.
We’ve found the lessons learned on these trips are lessons most people take a lifetime to learn – if they are lucky. Most are not.
Along the Colorado River in Canyonlands National Park
The expedition takes us through some of the most remote country in the United States. Deep in the heart of Canyonlands National Park, the Colorado River takes us through scenery most people will never see in person. Beautiful red cliffs, the water changing from blue, to red, to green – the sandy beaches, lush vegetation and bright blue skies.
Floating the Colorado is like going back in time. Our guides show us the geology, the ecology, and wildlife and the history of the canyon that spans centuries remaining essentially unchanged.
Getting Ready to Set Out
The preparation requires a lot of planning, a lot of gear, and instruction from our experienced guides. After a long drive to get to the launching point, there is a lot of excitement and anticipation as we finalize our preparation and set out into the calm river.
The first part of the river is calm, beautiful, serene, and relaxing. We take time to swim, talk, nap and get to know each other.
The quiet of the canyon is amazing. No cell coverage, no electronics, no hurry. Through the disconnection, we connect with each other and our surroundings.
A Beautiful Beach on the Wild Colorado River
Half way down the river we come to a large sandy beach in a protected cove where we set up camp for the night. The beach provides a fun area to play football, frisbee, and have fun.
The sun goes down quickly deep in the canyon, and when the last of the western light fades the sky turns black and the stars shine brighter than you’ve ever seen. Being so far from civilization there is no ambient light so the visible stars are amazing. Even the milky way is visible across the night sky in a huge milky band.
With the darkness comes the chorus of frogs birds and other wildlife who welcome the cool evening air, and you’ll often hear the song of the coyote far off in the distance. There’s nothing like it.
Hiking to See Ancient Ruins and Beautiful Views
Along the way we stop to take short hikes to the rim of the canyon to see ancient ruins of people who lived in the canyon centuries ago. We see petroglyphs on the canyon walls and the large rocks with black patina from thousands of years of baking in the sun.
From the rim we can see the river below and fertile areas where the ancient people grew corn, squash, melons, and other life sustaining foods. To see how hard ancient people must have worked just to survive makes us appreciate the dinner we know is waiting for us at our campsite.
Whitewater After the Calm
“DANGER” reads the sign warning of the upcoming whitewater rapids ahead. We stop and change into our whitewater gear, put on our safety helmets, separate the rafts stowing everything but our oars and make sure everything is tied down and secure.
One final set of instructions from our guides gives us the plan on how to attack the rapids. Everything is done on purpose with planning up front, there is no winging it here.
The excitement and anticipation is intense as we set into the water above the rapids in our individual rafts – each person ready to work together with their oars to guide the craft around the rocks to miss the huge depressions in the water and the massive waves that follow.
The ride is intense, exhilarating, physically demanding and on the other side it is unanimously named the most incredible thing we’ve ever done.
As we float further down the river we relive the ride, each with his or her own recollection of each crazy turn, each pounding of the water, and the heroic effort to move the craft to the right spot in the rapids.
Controlled chaos. Without planning, preparation, guidance, and experience of others it could be dangerous. But with a well executed plan we all arrive home only bumped and bruised, a little sunburned and tired, and taking with us memories we will relive for a lifetime.
It’s more than fun, it’s an adventure of a lifetime. We’ve designed the trip especially for students, alumni and their families. Throughout the trip we have time to play, time to think, time for solitude, time to stretch and do things you may never have thought you would do.
Getting into the wild and experiencing everything it takes to get safely to the end of a wild river is the perfect metaphor for life, its challenges, changes, uncertainty, and victories.
We’ve had some of the most memorable experiences of our lives on this river. We hope you’ll join us.