The Hualapai Tribe of Northwest Arizona has opened their 2011 season of Hualapai River Runners, the only one-day whitewater rafting trip through the Grand Canyon. This year marks the 38th anniversary of the adventure operation.
The Hualapai River Runner guides train for weeks in preparation of the opening of the season. The 27 certified guides undergo intensive safety education as well as study the history of the area. Part of the day long whitewater rafting trip includes learning about the history of the region as well as information about the natural surroundings.
“The primary focus of the training is number one, safety. It is also essential for our guides to focus on our cultural objectives ‘to learn specific knowledge, skills and attitudes which reflect an understanding for Native American values, stories, beliefs, rituals and way of life’ which insures an authentic, unforgettable visitor experience while keeping true to our roots,” said Earlene Havatone, Hualapai River Runners Operations Manager, in a press release.
All the guides are American Indian, the majority are Hualapai members. During the season, which lasts until October 31st, more than 50 Hualapai will be employed by the operation.
The one-day rafting trip departs daily from the Hualapai Lodge on Historic Route 66 in Peach Springs, AZ at 8:00A.M. The rafters are driven Diamond Creek Road, the only road that leads to the bottom of the Grand Canyon and is only accessible with a permit from the Hualapai Tribe. Launch takes place from the riverbanks on 8-passenger whitewater rafts specifically designed for managing the rapids of the 1,450-mile long Colorado River.
Rafters are given an immediate taste of what's in store as the first set of rapids is just downstream from the launch point. A docking point along the riverbanks offers rafters a chance to take a short hike up to Travertine Falls, one of the Grand Canyon's hidden treasures. Then it's back into the rapids, heading downstream until a stop at a sandbar for lunch. After everyone's properly refueled themselves, its back into the river through more rapids until the water becomes smooth and you reach Grand Canyon West, home of the Skywalk.
Then rafters go from fish in the river to fowl in the sky, where they're taken 4,000 feet into the sky via an to the top of the canyon via helicopter.
Hualapai River Runners also operates the pontoon boat experience at Grand Canyon West. This is for those that would prefer a 20-minute smooth water and helicopter trip through the canyon over the wet and wild rapids of the Colorado River. The pontoon boat and helicopter experience is open year-round.
Guests can book their trip or get more information by calling Hualapai Tourism at 1-888-868-9378 or visiting their site.