Canyonlands: Tales from Narrow Places

White water on the Upper Salt

Posted in Southern & Central Arizona by canyoneering on June 14, 2009
White water on the Upper SaltUpper Salt River – Class III/ Class IV
35 miles
San Carlos Apache Reservation and White Mountain Apache Reservation
02/17/08 – 02/18/08


It is not canyoneering, but there are many characteristics that these sports share, most notably the exploration of canyons. I am not a kayaker or a white water rafter, but the sensations and excitement that I have gotten on the few occasions that I have taken on white water by boat are similar to those when I canyoneer.

My boss, the Director of Photography at the Arizona Republic newspaper called me one day and asked if I would be available to work on my two days off for an out of town assignment. As I started to say no because I had already committed to other plans he cut me off and said, “You might want to hear what the assignment is before you say no.” When I heard that an Arizona Republic writer and myself would have the opportunity to join Canyon Rio, a Flagstaff based river guiding outfit, on a two day, 35 mile trip down the Upper Salt River through a series of Class III and Class IV rapids for a pre-season scouting trip, there was no way that I could say no. The Arizona Republic was doing a story on how the 2008 wet winter was going to make for a banner year of rafting and kayaking along the Salt River.

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©Arizona Republic 2008


The trip was sensational. The rapids were intense. The scenery was magnificent. Our guides couldn’t have been better. It was one of those assignments where you keep saying to yourself  “I can’t believe they are paying me to do this.”  For me the most challenging part of the trip was keeping my two still cameras and video camera dry, yet still thoroughly documenting the experience. Fortunately I was able to achieve both through the use of multiple dry bags and army surplus boxes. When using the equipment on the boat during a stretch of rapids I would use my body to protect the cameras from the full force of the waves that seemed to consume the raft. My cameras survived the trip and I feel I got great coverage in both still photos and video.

Before the trip was over I was planning on buying a kayak, taking classes and completely diving head on into the sport. I had only seriously been into canyoneering for less than a year but had already made an investment into the sport with both time and money. One of the best investments I have ever made by the way (maybe with the exception of the engagement ring I bought for Laura and my college education). With limited days off and resources I have yet to make my next white water trip. However, I know that it is only a matter of time before I get back on the river.

-David

It is not canyoneering, but there are many characteristics that these sports share, most notably the exploration of canyons. I am not a kayaker or a white water rafter, but the sensations and excitement that I have gotten on the few occasions that I have taken on white water by boat are similar to those when I canyoneer.
My boss, the Director of Photography at the Arizona Republic newspaper called me one day and asked if I would be available to work on my two days off for an out of town assignment. As I started to say no because I had already committed to other plans he cut me off and said, “You might want to hear what the assignment is before you say no.” When I heard that an Arizona Republic writer and myself would have the opportunity to join Canyon Rio, a Flagstaff based river guiding outfit, on a two day, 35 mile trip down the Upper Salt River through a series of Class III and Class IV rapids for a pre-season scouting trip, there was no way that I could say no. The Arizona Republic was doing a story on how the 2008 wet winter was going to make for a banner year of rafting and kayaking along the
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