An Arizona Adventure -- Canoeing, Kayaking And Rafting

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With more than 30 lakes in Arizona, you are sure to find a great place to canoe, kayak or raft.

In Bullhead City, in Arizona's West Coast, a popular day or overnight trip involves canoeing or kayaking the 11-mile stretch of the Colorado below Hoover Dam, called Black Canyon, an area with hot springs, a "sauna cave" and beautiful scenery.

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Know what to bring on your whitewater rafting trip of a lifetime.

In Prescott, you can visit any of the area lakes to enjoy the water.

Of course, don't forget the biggest adventure of them all: a whitewater river rafting trip down the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon!

Rafting in the Grand Canyon enables visitors to explore its geological wonders through the very source of its creation -- the Colorado River. The Grand Canyon section of the Colorado River runs from Lees Ferry to Grand Wash Cliffs, and those looking for a real white water adventure can raft the entire 277 miles. Featuring an amazing 161 sets of rapids, the complete trip takes as little as six days in a motor-powered raft or up to 22 days under oar-power.

Visitors looking for a slightly shorter rafting experience can opt to raft the Upper or Lower Canyon only. These trips typically take four days and three nights. Upper Canyon trips start at Lees Ferry and end with a hike out of the canyon from Phantom Ranch, while Lower Canyon trips begin with a hike down to Phantom Ranch and take rafters four to five days downstream.

Alternately, adventure-bound visitors can opt for a one-day rafting trip in the Western part of the canyon, which runs the 35 miles from Diamond Creek to Quartermaster Canyon, and is offered exclusively by the Hualapai tribe. The day starts and ends at Hualapai lodge and includes a high proportion of rapids and white water as well as an exhilarating helicopter ride out of the canyon.

The rafting season begins in mid-April and runs until mid-September for motorized trips, and continues as late as early November for oar-powered expeditions. As a rule the minimum age for rafting is 8 for motorized trips and 12 for oar-powered trips.

For information about river tours, visit www.NPS.gov, www.grandcanyonchamber.org or www.GCROA. org.

Packing for your

whitewater rafting trip

The addictive thrill of whitewater rafting draws many new enthusiasts to the sport every year. The United States and Canada, as well as Central and South America, offer some of the best rafting locations around. With dozens of rivers to choose from, you can certainly find hot spots not too far from home.

Whitewater rafting can be an hours-long excursion or a week-long adventure, depending upon the tour you choose. You can also leisurely cascade the water or choose hair-raising Class V rapids. Regardless, there are certain supplies that are needed to ensure the best trip possible.

  • Sun protection: Being surrounded by water while rafting magnifies the suns rays and puts you at risk for greater exposure to harmful ultraviolet radiation. Plus, you'll be on the water for long stretches of time with no shelter for relief. Bring along a strong sunblock with SPF 30 or above. Also pack sunglasses and plenty of drinking water to rehydrate. Although you may not feel the heat, your body will be drained of fluids through exertion and sweating.
  • Foot gear/clothing: It is important to wear shoes or sandals that can get wet. They should stay snugly on the feet and be comfortable for walking on a beach or shore if a stop on land is part of the excursion. Dress according to the weather in clothing that will not absorb the water and chill you, but will keep your body temperature comfortable. Check with a rafting outfitter or sport shop about their suggestions.
  • Making camp: For trips that stretch over a few days, a lightweight tent, sleeping bag and cushioned pad will make camping out under the stars more comfortable.
  • Check with the guide: Some rafting trips are all-inclusive packages, meaning the rafting company may provide provisions. Some others, however, simply provide the raft and safety equipment, and you're own your own for food and beverages.

Whatever you bring, pack it in a waterproof bag or case. You don't want supplies that should remain dry to get wet. Use caution with cameras and video equipment. Double-bag these items or consider renting water-resistant electronics that won't get damaged from a dousing of river water.

Arizona information from the Az. Office of Tourism

Packing information from Metro Services

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