Travel + Leisure - April 2003

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Cataract Canyon UTAH

After a few days spent floating past the sandstone cliffs of Canyonlands' Cataract Canyon, you'll think you've been gone for weeks. Meet up with laid-back river guides in Moab; then head down the glassy flats of the Colorado for a three-day trip back in time. You will pass rock strata 300 million years old and petroglyphs carved on canyon walls by the Anasazi. (Nothing like pre-history to put life into perspective.) Nights are spent on sandy beaches where towering red rocks are the only walls. The river's current both lulls kayakers to sleep and serves. The river's current both lulls kayakers to sleep and serves as a morning wake-up call. There's enough time for the energetic to hike to Indian ruins, isolated buttes, and otherworldly rock formations -- and for everyone else to read by the river or just loll around. Worried you've grown too relaxed? Halfway through the trip you hit "the Confluence," where the Green and Colorado rivers meet. In high-water season (May and June), this water is some of the most challenging in North America. But by late summer, the water becomes ideal for even novice riders.