Arizona Raft Adventures
The V Wave
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August 2010 - Vol 4, Issue 2
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Photo by Ralph Hopkins

Hello and welcome again to the Arizona Raft Adventures and Grand Canyon Discovery bi-annual e-newsletter. Now in the fourth 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 Grand Canyon wildflower photo gallery, a guide profile on Jed Koller, an interesting proposal for a new museum, an article about wilderness medical training, a recommended reading, and a tempting offer on a trip this fall. We are a little over half way through the season and hope everyone is enjoying the summer as much as we are! Photo by Ralph Hopkins.

Photo by Ralph Hopkins
The amount of moisture received during the winter provides a much needed soaking to the plants in the arid environment of the Grand Canyon. Last winter, the moisture from the winter storms prompted an amazing display of beauty as the Canyon came alive in April. Check out the wildflower photo gallery on the AzRA Facebook page. The colors and contrasts are amazing! If you are interested in the Spring of 2011, we still have availability on a few hybrid trips and on the coveted 10-day motorized trip. Photo by Ralph Hopkins.
By James Dean Photography
AzRA guide Jed Koller grew up in Flagstaff. Throughout his childhood he spent a lot of time with his family hiking and exploring around Northern Arizona. It was a natural transition for him when he was hired to swamp his first Grand Canyon motor trip at the age of nineteen in 1993. Jed began guiding for AzRA in 2004. His favorite subjects to discuss with guests are topics of human history and current events such as the uranium mining debate and the more recent controversy created over building a helicopter pad at the confluence of the Little Colorado River.

Last winter Jed accepted a full-time year round position as the AzRA warehouse manager. He is also guiding on a few trips in both the motor and oar divisions during the river season. Jed says the highlight of his new position is spending more time in town with his five year old son. In fact, when asked what he likes to do in his spare time he responds "parenting." He also enjoys being involved in the community. He is a board member of Grand Canyon River Guides and a founding member of the West Street Wash Action Committee dedicated to community
watershed awareness, health, protection, and restoration. Photo by James Dean Photography.
Museum Plans
The history of river running down the Colorado River through the Grand is remarkable. From the early river running years of John Wesley Powell to the more recent history created by lively characters like Bert Loper and Georgie White, the history is rich with tales of exploration, adventure, and turmoil. There is a unique collection of historical materials, stories, pictures, boats (actual artifacts and replicas), and other relics. A project is underway to provide a permanent home for the Grand Canyon historic boat collection and related artifacts where they can be properly cared for and accessible to the public: The Grand Canyon River Heritage Museum.

The National Park Service began working to conserve the historic river boats by addressing some of the boats which were in major disrepair (see photos). In 2009, a non-profit organization called the Grand Canyon River Heritage Coalition was created to help the National Park Service and other interested parties fulfill the vision of the River Heritage Museum. The coalition consists of individuals concerned about the degradation of the historic boat collection including several AzRA employees such as Brad Dimock, Dan Dierker, and owner Fred Thevenin.

The plan includes renovating one of the historic buildings at the Park's South Rim located across from the Bright Angel Trail. The architectural design of the renovation and the museum content has been developed but construction has not begun. The project is currently in a delicate stage of the development process and in need of public support. If you are interested in supporting the historic river boats, river runners, and Grand Canyon River Heritage Coalition, please email and tell us why this project is important or of interest to you. We will share your words of support with the major contributors working on the project. In addition, we are happy to offer you a complimentary pamphlet published by the Grand Canyon River Heritage Coalition called If Boats Could Talk. You may view the pamphlet online or request a copy by emailing AzRA at If Boats Could Talk is not only educational and informative but reiterates the importance of conserving this unique history. Photo: Architect's conception of the new museum, as seen from Bright Angel Lodge.
Property of AzRA
The risk management plan at Arizona Raft Adventures addresses many different aspects of both on the river and off the river company requirements. Included in the risk management plan is hiring guides who are trained to handle backcountry medical emergencies. AzRA's preferred wilderness medical training provider is California based Sierra Rescue (also known as Rescue 3 West). Sierra Rescue, owned and operated by former AzRA guides Julie Munger and Abigail Polesby, is committed to providing quality wilderness rescue instruction including a wilderness medical course known industry wide among backcountry outfitters as Wilderness First Responder (WFR). The WFR course involves 80 hours of initial training and a 30 hour re-certification course every three years. A WFR certification is recognized by the National Park Service as qualified training for commercial guides and a prerequisite when considered for employment at AzRA. However, AzRA provides re-certification training at no cost to employees who re-certify their WFR with Sierra Rescue.

Sierra Rescue's training philosophy is based on "integrating information into practical skills while developing the ability to think through complicated wilderness problems" ( The training provides skills and knowledge to help identify the possible problems, anticipated problems, a treatment action, and an evacuation plan if necessary. Some of the training topics include general trauma, stabilizing muscle and skeletal injuries, identifying and treating illnesses, basic life support, toxins and allergic reactions. The course is structured with lecture and hands-on scenarios. The scenarios are based off of actual injuries or illnesses often associated with the surrounding environment of a Grand Canyon river trip. AzRA guide, Katie Proctor, admits "the adrenaline created while performing a scenario mimics what we might experience in the field. The scenarios help us practice problem solving and gain control of a situation in order to make educated decisions."

It can be extremely challenging dealing with medical situations in remote locations such as Grand Canyon, but WFR provides basic fundamental training oriented toward individuals who may be confronted with a wilderness setting medical emergency. Check out some photos of your favorite guides working through scenarios in AzRA's last re-certification class provided by Sierra Rescue. Photo: AzRA Guide Jerry Cox records vitals from his patient Randy Tucker during a scenario.
By Elisabeth Hyde
In the Heart of the Canyon is a recently published fiction novel about a Grand Canyon river trip. Inspired by the Author's own experience on a river trip with AzRA in 2002, Elisabeth Hyde captures the essence of 15 strangers and intertwines them together on a physical and emotional journey in a "strikingly beautiful but persistently hostile landscape." The book is narrated by 6 different characters. Elisabeth believes this is an important aspect in capturing the essence of the trip; guides and passengers coming together to create a unique group of people with many different perspectives.

Elisabeth says she was deeply inspired by her Canyon trip and after a 45 second swim in Deubendorff Rapid, she began writing the book in her head. After her trip, she began intense research on whitewater rafting through the Grand Canyon. She also kept in touch with her guides and used them as a resource for gathering more information. The book began to come together after a second AzRA trip in 2005. Once again, using her own experience and her guides as a resource, she began putting the final touches on her novel.

In the Heart of the Canyon will certainly rekindle a few memories from a previous Grand Canyon river trip or provide a new guest a perspective of what one might expect on a first trip. Many of our previous guests have read the book; read what others guests have said. You may also read an excerpt from the book on Elisabeth's website. The 336 page paperback version may be purchased online from Red River Sports for $15.00 + shipping.
Photo by Ralph Hopkins
It is not too late to consider a trip this year. We recently opened a late September - early October hybrid trip. In an effort to fill the trip, we have reduced the price by 25%. So grab your crazy party pajama pants, your Chacos, and your river gear and come on another fabulous Grand Canyon trip (sorry, not applicable if you already went this year). Dates and reduced fares are as follows:
  • 15-day full Canyon, Sept 30-Oct 14, $2,790 pp
  • 7-day upper Canyon, Sept 30-Oct 6, $1,634 pp
  • 9-day lower Canyon, Oct 6-14, $2,011 pp
  • Or if these dates don't work for you, check some of our other reduced fares for the rest of the 2010 season. Photo by Ralph Hopkins.

    We are available for free Skype to Skype international phone calls.

    Before we close this issue of The V Wave, we would like to remind you AzRA has a Facebook page and a YouTube Channel.

    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 stay connected. In fact, we appreciate input and if you have suggestions for future newsletters such as article topics, river stories, photos, poetry, or artwork to share, please email us.

    See you downstream!

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

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