I remember the first night camping under the stars. I remember the sound of the river and the feel of the sandy beach. What stands out the most, however, was the night sky! Wow, what a spectacle those stars were.
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Spirit Quest Rafting
April 25th – 28th 2015
The spirit quest is a four day all inclusive rafting trip in the San Juan canyons of Southern Utah. This adventure is one of exploration and personal expansion. In addition to rafting, there are daily opportunities for hiking, archeological discovery, and yoga and meditation at sacred sites. All meals are fresh and organic.
Where: The upper canyon of the San Juan River from Bluff to Mexican Hat, Utah. Total river distance: 26 miles.
When: Guests should arrive in Bluff the morning of April 25th or the evening of April 24th. The river put in is on April 25th. River Take out is the afternoon/evening of April 28th.
Guides: Kay Harris of Canyon Expeditions and David Michael Scott of Fire Heart Adventures.
Cost: 850 dollars covers all food, group gear, rafting, guiding, and instruction on this trip. A 200 dollar non-refundable deposit is required to hold you place. Full payment before April 1st.
Canyon Expeditions is owned by Kay Harris, who has over 30 years of experience on the Colorado Plateau. Based in Cedar City, Utah, Canyon Ex runs river trips on the San Juan as well as backcountry trips throughout the desert Southwest. All guides are licensed and trained in Advanced First Aid and CPR.
Our boats are 16' and 18' industrial rafts, capable carrying a full kitchen, fresh water and other gear necessary to make a comfortable and enjoyable experience. The rapids are not difficult, and with a little instruction, you will be able to successfully navigate the river in an inflatable kayak. We camp on sandy beaches along the river's edge. Lands south of the river form the northern edge of the Navajo Nation.
David Michael Scott
David Scott has been practicing yoga and meditation for over ten years. He has spent time studying vipassana meditation in a Buddhist monastery in Northern Thailand and lived for a few years in the Amazon rainforest as a Peace Corps Volunteer. Before finding yoga, David was passionate about learning survival and aboriginal skills in the desert of Southern Utah. As a youth, David grew up kayaking and rafting. He began teaching kayaking at age 18. The nature of this trip is a combination of David’s passions: the river, the desert, and yoga.
A Community Driven Experience
We believe that the greatest community is created when the entire group shares in the labor and camp chores. This includes all the guests and raft guides. What this means is that we are all responsible for helping to load and unload the rafts each day. Each guest will help cook and clean for two to three meals during the trip. While this might sound a bit strange on an all-inclusive raft trip, it is better this way. When we work as equals in this community, what we build will be beautiful.
Our meals include quality meats, specialty cheeses and a variety of fresh vegetables and fruit--many of which come from our organic gardens in Bluff as well as regional Colorado Plateau farmers. We can accommodate most eating preferences and dietary restrictions including vegetarian options and would be happy to discuss a specialized menu for any trip.
Our day trips include a delicious salad or sandwich layout as well as snacks and plenty of water. On multiple day trips we serve hot coffee and tea, hearty breakfasts and salads and sandwiches for lunch. Our dinners might include grilled salmon or steaks, abundant stir-fries and pasta dishes and homemade tamales.
We supply and row the boats, which include 16' and 18' industrial rafts. If you would like to paddle your own craft, ask about our inflatable kayaks. We provide all the food, snacks, and non-alcoholic beverages, in addition to the kitchen, stoves, plates, cookware and cups.
In short, we provide all the gear except for your personal gear. Upon booking a trip, we'll send you a list of personal gear to bring on your trip. We provide waterproof bags for your personal gear, as well as watertight boxes for your camera and other items.
If you don't have your own sleeping bag, pad or tent you can rent them from us. Our fleet of tents and sleeping bags is new and sleeping bags are washed after each use. If you or members of your party need to rent tents, sleeping bags or pads, we ask that you reserve them in advance.
This four day rafting trip provides ample time for yoga and meditation as well as exploring Anasazi ruins. Our trip leader, Kay Harris, will provide expert interpretation of the upper canyon's rock art, cliff dwellings and textbook geology. David Michael Scott will guide the yoga and meditation curriculum in the mornings and the evenings. The days will be filled with rafting, hiking, laughter, and fun.
This 26-mile journey affords a closer experience with the Upper San Juan River. In addition to visiting ancient rock art sites and cliff dwellings, we'll have the option to hike to the top of Comb Ridge for its commanding view of the surrounding landscape. We'll travel through a quarter of a billion years' worth of colorful rock formations, making camps in spectacular corners of the canyon.
This is an all-inclusive rafting trip. Healthy meals and all group gear will be provided by the outfitter, Canyon Expeditions. Guests must provide their personal camping gear, although we have lots of extra stuff (sleeping bags, tents, etc.) if you need it. Guests are also responsible for transportation to and from the river and any alcoholic beverages they want to bring along.
Night Before Departure:
You will meet with Canyon Expeditions in Bluff at 7:00 p.m. for the prelaunch orientation. Your trip leader will hand out waterproof bags and boxes. We can also supply sleeping bags, pads and tents, but be sure to reserve them in advance with our office.
Day One: For those who camped the night, we will begin the day with some light Sun Salutations followed by a short meditation. We will then depart for our launch ramp and the river put in. The float begins as the river meanders past orange and black streaked sandstone outcroppings.
Soon the boats pull into shore and we take a short walk to a site once inhabited by ancient desert farmers, the Anasazi. Large oval steps are carved into the cliff wall and petroglyphs appear around every corner.
Downriver a short distance, we will enjoy lunch under the cottonwood trees at the famous Butler Wash petroglyph panel with plenty of time to examine this extensive group of mysterious images.
After lunch we may observe additional rock art panels across the river on the south bank, or we may explore panels near our camp a few miles downstream.
Camp is pitched in the late afternoon on a sandy beach amongst the cottonwoods and giant sagebrush. Our community will prepare a healthy dinner. After which we will have an optional yoga and meditation practice. Sunset and campfire, then it's off to sleep in a tent or out under the stars.
Day Two: First person to rise puts on hot water for tea and coffee. We will begin the day with a yoga practice and meditation.
After breakfast the group walks to River House, an 800-year-old cliff dwelling. You can spend time amid the round walls of a kiva where dried corn cobs remain with bits of pottery. This hike can be extended by exploring the nearby bench lands for more sites and another large kiva.
We'll then hike a short distance downstream to observe a great kiva and associated surface sites, and then a hike up San Juan Hill. This steep route was chiseled along a diagonal opening in the cliff by the famous Mormon "Hole-In-The-Rock" expedition in 1880. The views from its top--also the top of Comb Ridge--are incredible.
We will have more time this evening for a deeper yoga practice followed by a dharma session.
Day Three: Morning Sun Salutations while sheep graze in the background?
After breakfast we'll pack the boats for a short float downstream to Chinle Wash, where painted rock art and cliff dwellings hide among the rock alcoves. Author Tony Hillerman calls Chinle Wash "Many Ruins Canyon" in the mystery novel Thief of Time.
At Mile 9 the river enters the "anticline" and the canyon walls rise up dramatically. The river narrows and the pace quickens as small riffles and rapids rock the boats.
Camp is made deep within the canyon where the limestone walls are full of fossils and a lively current murmurs against the rocks.
The evening yoga practice will be dedicated to vipassana meditation.
Day Four: Last morning yoga of the trip! There is time after breakfast for fossil hunting. An undulating pattern to the rocks reveals the presence of "bio herms." Porous mounds in an ancient shallow sea, they act as a reservoir rock to capture oil.
Desert bighorn sheep may appear along this stretch. The rocks tilt and canyon walls diminish as Mexican Hat Rock comes into view, a large red slab balanced on a small pedestal. The vivid reds and grays of the anticline zig-zag across the eastern horizon, a Navajo blanket of stone.
The journey ends by 2 or 3 p.m. at the boat launch in the town of Mexican Hat, where Canyon Expedition vans will transport you back to Bluff.
Itineraries can vary depending on the river level, weather, group ability and interest. All hikes, yoga, and meditations are optional.