By Kamron Wixom
Pack your duffel, strap on your sandals then kick back with a professional river outfitter. Moab, Utah is home to many such outfitters ready to take you into the backcountry with everything you’ll need for a multi-day rafting adventure.
Most outfitters require you to bring nothing more than your packed duffel and a good sense of adventure. Just slide your duffel into the dry-bags they provide and you’re on your way! Of course you’ll want your camera, sunscreen and your favorite beverage, but the outfitter takes care of everything else: camp cots, sleeping bags, tents, toilet facilities, emergency services and even a little personal dry pack for things you want throughout the day, like your camera.
There’s nothing as pleasant as a gourmet, dutch oven style meal cooked for you by the guides while you soak in the redrock, cottonwoods and river scenery. In the backcountry it seems that food just tastes better, but many claim that some outfitters, such as Western River Expeditions, offer fantastic food that far exceeded expectations.
Another obvious advantage with an outfitter is that you can get right into your vacation, and the backcountry, with their expertise. Adventure always requires something of its participants, but that requirement should be an attitude of going for the gusto, not just a determination to “do it yourself.”
The more subtle advantage of going with a professional outfitter is peace of mind. Outfitters handle the responsibilities of trip permits, water purification systems and equipment like satellite phones for emergency situations, which could otherwise become backcountry disasters if on your own.
If you’re ready for guided adventure before the end of August, you can still catch Class III and IV whitewater in Cataract Canyon through Canyonlands. First-time river rafters need not fear taking the plunge into this wilder whitewater when you have guides looking out for your welfare and safety—not a luxury afforded to the do-it-yourselfer!
The Green River through Desolation Canyon begins slowing (literally) come August, but plan on it early next summer as an unbeatable family trip with mild Class I-III rapids and scenery that rivals the Grand Canyon.
If you aren’t so sure about camping, or big whitewater, choose a day trip with mild whitewater like the Green River. You can catch a stretch of the Colorado River known as The Daily well into the middle of October with the Moab Adventure Center and some other outfitters. Autumn is an unbelievably beautiful season in the deserts of Moab with temperatures perfect for a river splash. You can also round out the vacation with the family in a Hummer Safari, Jeep Rental or Scenic Flight over Canyonlands, which are offered by many outfitters.
Jump into any of these amazing adventures and by contacting the outfitters listed in Paddle Power (pg. 8) or these great companies: Canyonlands by Night and Day 800-394-9978 (canyonlandsbynight.com), Destination Moab 435-259-4772 (destinationmoab.com), Moab Adventure Center (moabadventurecenter.com), Tag-A-Long Expeditions 800-453-3292 (tagalong.com) and Western River Expeditions 801-942-6669 (westernriver.com).