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The V Wave
Stay connected to the river...
March 2009 - Vol 3, Issue 1
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Motor boat at Redwall

Hello and welcome again to the Arizona Raft Adventures and Grand Canyon Discovery bi-annual e-newsletter. Now in the third year of publication, The V Wave, (named after a legendary wave in Lava Falls rapid) keeps you connected with AzRA Discovery, the river community, and the Canyon. This issue features a brief report of the 2010 opening day, an update on river guide Jerry Cox, a short story on AzRA's free trade coffee, a summary of a new specialty trip with a yoga focus, a book review on Ancient Landscapes, and 2009 discounted trip dates. (Photo: upstream view from Redwall Cavern by Rob Elliott)

Motor boat at Redwall
Last September we were booked nearly 100% for the 2009 river season. A large handful of cancellations have caused reservations to drop about 6% consequently opening several discounted trip options in 2009 (see below). Last month we began accepting reservations for the 2010 river season and are currently booked around 37%. This is slightly below average compared to the past two years where we were booked in the fiftieth percentile range by this same time. (Photo: Claret-Cup Cactus by Rob Elliott)

The familiar sound of the morning coffee call probably reminds you of the peaceful dawn hours of a river trip. Many passengers and guides alike begin the day with a delicious cup of cowboy coffee as the Canyon is illuminated by the light of a new day. Not only is the intoxicating aroma and rich blend a classic favorite but it is also organic, shade grown, and fair-trade.

There are many benefits of supporting shade-grown coffee. It is harvested from coffee shrubs grown under an over-story of trees and the fields support twice the number and diversity of birds, insects, orchids, reptiles, and many other organisms. Shade-grown fields more closely imitate native habitat, thereby protecting soil from erosion, providing nutrients from decomposing organic litter, and suppressing weeds. This helps to eliminate the need for chemical fertilizers and herbicides. Shade-grown coffee also has to be harvested by hand providing job security for local workers.

Sun-grown coffee farmers begin by clear-cutting the forest to plant rows of shrubs. The fields generally produce higher yields but use pesticides, herbicides, and insecticides. They are also harvested mechanically therefore eliminating jobs for hundreds of indigenous workers who for generations have relied on picking coffee as a means to support their families.

Many coffee shops sell organic coffee and support fair trade policies. Buying fair trade coffee ensures farmers receive the best market price for their coffees and just wages for farm workers. If you are interested in supporting fair trade coffee, ask your local shop how you can help! (Photo: Passengers enjoy a morning cup of 'jo by Kim Lucy)

Photo by Rob Elliott
With twenty two years of boating experience, AzRA guide Jerry Cox is a Colorado River veteran. His passion and dedication to the Colorado River and the Grand Canyon is admired by both passengers and the guide community. He loves sharing his extensive knowledge of Grand Canyon geology, playing the guitar, and taking passengers on energetic hikes.
He resides in Durango, Colorado and in the winter and in between river trips he works as a water quality tester. In his leisure time he enjoys hiking, biking, skiing, fly fishing, playing music, reading, and traveling.

Jerry is also a three year member of AzRA's Advisory Committee (AC). The AC is a committee of four guides elected by peers to serve as a liaison between guide staff and management. The AC meets twice a year to discuss what is working well, address any problems needing attention, act as a safety committee, and create the guide schedule. The AC has been in effect for twenty years and has been proven to be an effective management strategy at AzRA. Jerry's river expertise and highly respected work ethic makes him a valuable member of the committee. (Photo: Jerry Cox by Rob Elliott)
Yoga on the beach in Grand Canyon
Yoga instructor and Grand Canyon river guide Laura Fallon is conducting a 10-day yoga workshop in conjunction with a Grand Canyon river trip in September of 2010. Laura has been an AzRA river guide for the past 9 years. She is passionate about guiding and loves sharing her knowledge of the Grand Canyon with her passengers. She will use her river experience to work seamlessly with the rest of the crew and choose the most interesting and scenic locations for yoga sessions while maintaining a balanced itinerary (yoga, river adventure, and exploring side canyons).

Laura has been traveling across the country teaching and practicing yoga for almost a decade. She attended the intensive Bikram Yoga Teacher Training and has studied yoga at studios such as Om NY, Kripalu, Integral, and Jiva Mukti. She believes in the practicality of yoga in her daily life and making yoga accessible to people of all walks of life. Laura says, "Yoga is for everyone and there is no experience or particular skills necessary to begin or maintain a practice." Imagine deepening your practice or exploring yoga for the first time in one of the most spectacular places in the world. If you think this trip is for you, call today to make a reservation on the September 12-21, 2010 Colorado River Grand Canyon Yoga Workshop. $2,910/person. Maximum 12 spaces. (Photo: Yoga on the Beach by Rob Elliott)
By Ralph Hopkins
Are you still interested in going on a Grand Canyon river trip this year? We had a couple of group cancellations opening availability in the 2009 season. It might be your lucky day if you are interested in joining a discounted trip date:

May 1-8, 8-day full Canyon motor trip 25% off! Price after discount $1,785.50

May 19-27, 9 day lower Canyon hybrid trip 15% off! Price after discount $2,210

For more discounted trip dates, check the discount page on the AzRA Discovery website. (Photo: Paddle raft by Ralph Hopkins)
Acient Landscapes
Ron Blakey and Wayne Ranney recently published "Ancient Landscapes." Blakey is an expert on the geologic history of the Colorado Plateau. He shows how the historic landscapes have contributed to the region's spectacular modern day geologic formations. Ranney, geologist and award-winning author of Carving Grand Canyon, narrates the captivating story accompanying the beautifully illustrated maps. Appreciated by both geologists and non geologists, Ancient Landscapes contains more than 100 full-color photographs, diagrams, illustrations, and a detailed guide explaining where to go to see the amazing rocks described. The University of Arizona Press says the book is a "fruitful collaboration bringing the past alive like never before." You may order a copy of Ancient Landscapes at the Grand Canyon Association website.
Submitted by Vinopals
Featured Photo submitted by Guy and Amy Vinopal. Riding the rapids with guide Colin Topper on a hybrid trip in July 2005.

Calling for vintage photos! Do you have a classic vintage photo from an AzRA trip you would like to share? We would love to feature it in the next publication of The V Wave. Please email the photo to

We would like to inform you we are now available for free Skype to Skype international phone calls!

Once again we would like to thank you for river seasons full of wonderful memories and for taking time to read our newsletter. We hope you will choose to continue receiving this publication so we may keep connected. In fact, we appreciate input and if you have suggestions for future newsletters or have stories or photos to share, please drop us an email.

(Arizona Raft Adventures and Grand Canyon Discovery are concessioners under contract with the U.S. Government and administered by the National Park Service.)

See you downstream!

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