Arizona Raft Adventures
The V Wave
Stay connected to the river...
August 2011 - Vol 5, 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 fifth year of publication, The V Wave, (named after the legendary wave in Lava Falls rapid) keeps you connected with AzRA Discovery, the river community, and the Canyon.

This issue announces AzRA's first ever photo contest, new Red River Sports retail items, a gear recycling program, a guide profile on Susan Detering, a river recipe, and a feature piece on the intriguing Canyon Wren. You will find additional topics surrounding the Grand Canyon in the Quick Links list to the left. (Photo by Ralph Hopkins)

Red River Sports
Scorpions, oh my! AzRA's new line of baseball caps features embroidered Grand Canyon animals such as the scorpion, rattlesnake, ringtail cat, peregrine falcon, big horn sheep, California condor, chuckwalla, and raven. The back of the hat is embroidered with Arizona Raft Adventures-Grand Canyon. The baseball cap designs are just one of a few new items now available for purchase from AzRA's Red River Sports. You will also find hoodies, visors, Grand Canyon playing cards, koozies, and new t-shirt designs. There is also a variety of logo clearance items. Call the office with your order before September 30 and mention the August V-Wave to receive free shipping (phone orders only)! Click here to view some of the new items. (stock photo)
Photo by Lynn Crew
A couple of years ago on a sunny morning float just above Diamond Creek, an interesting conversation took place among the guests in Bill Mobley's raft. The guests were conversing over the fact they were going to be throwing out half used bottles of sunscreen because they couldn't take them home on the plane. They wished they could donate the partially used bottles to someone who could utilize the sunscreen instead of throwing it away. Mr. Mobley brought this thought back to the office and it has now blossomed into a successful recycling gear donation program for Flagstaff's Grand Canyon Youth Program (GCY).

The idea was first discussed with Emma Wharton, the Executive Director at GCY, and she loved it. She added there were other items which would be extremely useful to the kids in the GCY program including day packs, water bottles, rain jackets & pants, polypropylene tops & bottoms, river shorts, river shoes, long sleeve cotton shirts, sarongs, trekking poles, sunscreen, camp soap, camp pillows, and carabiners. GCY's Chantal Mossman states, "By having items for families to borrow it allows the total cost of a Grand Canyon Youth trip to be affordable to any young person to participate."

By no means does AzRA want guests to feel obligated in any way to donate gear should they intend to use it again. But, if a guest should choose, they may now leave the items with either their trip leader, bus driver or post -trip orientation hostess. Thus far, the program has been wildly successful. GCY has received quite a bit of sunscreen, biodegradable soap, and rain gear. All of the items are extremely useful and GCY has been lending out the gear for every trip. (Photo by Lynn Crew)
Photo of Susan Detering
Susan Linley Detering, has been working for AzRA for 4 years but has been guiding in the Canyon for nine years - she has 60 trips through the Grand Canyon. Primarily a motor guide, guests have described Susan as the "renaissance woman", as she is so skilled and talented in many facets. Her favorite hike in the canyon is Thunder River and her favorite rapids are Hance, Hermit and Crystal. Guests love rafting with Susan because she inspires joy and creates a warm comfortable feeling for everyone on the trip.

As a graduate of Northern Arizona University, Susan resided in Flagstaff for over eight years. However, the past two years she has been living in Madison, Wisconsin after reuniting with her 1999 college beau two years ago (they have recently married). She commutes back and forth between Wisconsin and Arizona to work for AzRA. Susan teaches art and she is also an amazing artist herself. She has painted stunning landscape art of the Grand Canyon, Arizona, Colorado, Boston, Mexico, NYC, France and other amazing places. You can purchase a beautiful postcard collection of Grand Canyon watercolor postcards of the Canyon from AzRA. Her newest past time is stand up paddle boarding on Lake Monona in Wisconsin.

Susan says guiding is one of the best jobs ever and that one of her favorite things about guiding in Grand Canyon is that she gets to see the best side of humanity on every trip. She believes the Canyon melts people down to their very essence and brings out the best in people. She says "it is amazing to watch strangers become like family." She takes pleasure in facilitating people's enjoyment of the canyon and watching its restorative effects. She says, "It's sheer magic." (Photo submitted by Susan Detering)
Thai Turkey by Micky Rodriguez
Back by popular demand... another River Recipe! Thai Turkey dinner has been on the AzRA menu since the early 90's. Though the recipe has morphed over the years, it is still consistently voted as the third favorite dinner night by guests, right behind steak night and salmon night. Thai Turkey is served toward the end of a full Canyon trip so unfortunately our upper Canyon guests don't get to taste it (sorry!). To complete the meal, make a side of basmati rice, an apple salad (recipe also below), and for desert either a pineapple upside down cake or a gingerbread cake in a dutch oven. The following recipe serves approximately 18 people. Thai Turkey and Apple Salad ingredients as follows:

  • 8 lbs Pre-cooked turkey breast
  • 1 Bunch cilantro (chopped)
  • 1 Bunch celery (chopped)
  • 2 Chopped or sliced yellow onions
  • 1 lb Carrots (chopped)
  • 5 - 14 oz Cans of coconut milk
  • 2 - 4 oz Jars red curry paste
  • 12 Apples (chopped)
  • 2 Cups walnut pieces
  • 2 Cups raisins
  • 4 - 11 oz Cans of mandarin oranges (drained)
  • 2 Lemons (juiced)
  • 2 Limes (juiced)

  • To set the mood, you may like to put on an apron and a pair of flip flops. There is a fair amount of chopping, so you might also like to recruit an assistant to the kitchen area. Coarsely shred turkey, cut onion into chunks, peel and slice carrots, chop celery and cilantro. In a large sauce pan, mix coconut milk and curry paste together thoroughly. Add carrots, celery, and onions to the coconut milk mixture and bring to a simmer on stove until veggies are tender crisp. If you are serving any vegetarians, now is the opportune time to set aside some of the coconut and vegetable mixture. Next, add turkey and heat thoroughly. Add cilantro just before serving. Serve over prepared basmati rice. To prepare apple salad, mix the apples, walnuts, raisins, and mandarin oranges together, and squeeze the lemon and lime juice over the top. Blow conch shell and call dinner!

    You might want to consider some of the guide's variations to this recipe: adding a can of pineapple, peeled and chopped potatoes, fish sauce, and/or serving recipe with couscous instead of basmati rice. (Photo submitted by Michael Rodrigues)
    By Andrew Reding
    Also known as Catherpes mexicanus, the canyon wren is one of the most recognizable and commonly heard bird songs on a Grand Canyon rafting trip. This tiny bird is often heard belting out its unique and distinctive song and most everybody knows their melodious descending song by the end of their rafting adventure; however, because of its small size, it is rarely seen. The canyon wren plumage is bright rust with a distinctive white breast. Bring binoculars to be sure you get a good view of this little treasure.

    The canyon wren is found throughout the Western United States from Canada to Mexico and can be found where there are cliffs and canyons. It does not migrate south like most insect eating birds, as the majority of the insect species it favors dwell in the cracks and crevices of the cliffs or along water sources and these insects also live year round. If you have the occasion to observe this bird, you will usually find it crawling up and down, into and around the nooks and crannies in the cliffs. The family name for wrens is Troglodytidae, which derives from Latin for cave dweller, and small caves and crevices are where it prefers to nest.

    During the spring and early summer the canyon wren will sing often during the day, however, it does not announce its presence as often during late summer or fall trips. Most often its loud song serves as a pleasant wakeup call at about dawn. It usually sings when perched atop a rock and occasionally does so from cracks in the rock, where the acoustics really amplify their singing. Like most wren species, it is curious and brave, often coming quite close to people who are sitting quietly. Occasionally, it will even explore one's belongings if left about, crawling into open bags in hopes of finding a wayward spider. (Photo by Andrew Reding)
    By Ralph Hopkins
    Do you have a fantastic photo from your last trip? If so, it could be the front of this year's seasonal card. If your picture is chosen, you will be awarded with $500 off a 2012, 2013, or 2014 reservation. Photo should be universally identifiable by guests of all types of trips including motor, hybrid, and all-paddle trips. Send an electronic version of your picture to with the subject line as PHOTO CONTEST. Submissions are due by October 15, 2011 and will be uploaded for display in the Gallery Contest album on the AzRA Facebook page. The winner will be chosen on by an internal voting committee and announced by October 31. Good luck! (Photo by Ralph Hopkins)
    Photo submitted by Kim Fawcett
    Come celebrate your next occasion in the Grand Canyon with us!

    (Photo submitted by Kim Fawcett)

    We are available for free Skype to Skype international phone calls during our regular business hours. Our contact name is arizona.raft.adventures.

    Before we close this issue of The V Wave, we would like to remind you AzRA has a Facebook page and a YouTube Channel. Our Facebook page features a Tip of the Week, photos, discussions from guests, announcements, full trip reports after every trip, and more. Our YouTube Channel features video clips and AzRA's five promotional clips. If you have not viewed AzRA's YouTube channel lately, you might like to visit it again as there have been many new videos from our guests and guides added to our Favorites list.

    Once again we would like to thank you for giving us 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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    Arizona Raft Adventures and Grand Canyon Discovery

    phone: toll free at 800-786-7238