Westwater Canyon Rafting and Kayaking

1 Block Break, 1 Canyon, 1 Pumpkin, 24 Students

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Deep in Westwater Canyon with only one direction to go. Photo by Jamie Sarafan ’16

          Westwater canyon of the Colorado River is a deep, dark-rocked canyon swallowed by towering walls of desert sandstone – all about an hour this side of Moab. This past block break, 24 students: five leaders and 19 participants descended into this amazing place for three days of rafting and kayaking. This trip is one of the oldest ORC-sponsored trips still happening at this school, and I’m sure that any of the 24 people who participated in the last one could tell you why. Westwater provides, at least in my opinion, the ideal Block Break adventure. First off, it is relatively close (5½ hours from CC) compared to some of the other places that people have been know to travel for four days. Coupled with its proximity, is the amazing beauty and excitement contained within it, and the ability to help erase the mental schedule that becomes so engrained in one’s head over the course of a block.

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Cap’t Punk’n amongst the gear. Photo by Jamie Sarafan

This trip consisted of four rafts, six kayaks, and one plastic pumpkin and was characterized by relaxing floats, exciting whitewater, painted nails, the occasional cold feet, and great food. I overheard one person on the trip state “why would I ever backpack, when I could raft instead?” And I couldn’t help but agree! Especially after a stressful block, I find it great to sit back and relax while the river does the work for me. Not to mention, your gear potential goes through the roof. That is to say, rafts have enough room for that extra warm sleeping bag and the cast-iron dutch oven! What’s not to love about that?

As a graduating senior this year, I hope that this trip continues into the future. Fortunately, we have a strong contingent of experienced river-oriented students at this school right now in all classes, so the future of the “River Program” looks promising! Be on the lookout for more Outdoor Ed river trips in the future, and be sure to come by the pool on Monday nights (8:00-9:30) for kayak roll sessions!

See you on the river (or in the pool).

Mike Curran ‘13

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Nothing like campin on the beach! Photo by Ben Varick ’13

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About ccoutdoored

The Outdoor Education Department at Colorado College organizes the Priddy Experience Orientation for new students and advises a variety of student organizations including the Ritt Kellogg Climbing Gym, Climber's Association of Colorado College, Ahlberg Gear House, Free Rider's Union of CC, Outdoor Recreation Committee, Breakout, Cycling Team, Kayak Club, and Colorado College Farm. The department thrives because of the hard work of three professional staff, 35 student employees, and hundreds of dedicated student volunteers. The programs advised by Colorado College Outdoor Education provide CC students with opportunities for real world challenge, adventure, leadership, and service outside of the classroom.
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