More Magazine - June 2005


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Grand Rapids


By Susan Crandell

“Forward!” our guide Erika yelled, as the Colorado River boiled furiously around us. At the end of the rapids – still upright and exhilarated – we lifted our paddles in victory. I was tagging along with nine women who had booked O.A.R.S. (Outdoor Adventure River Specialists) six-day Ultimate Southwest Vacation for a fiftieth birthday celebration with pizzazz. The 30 year-old company is offering all-women weeks this year – and I was one of the program’s inaugural paddlers.

Over the next three days, we negotiated the class III and IV rapids of Utah’s Cataract Canyon, pitched tents on the river’s sandy banks, climbed towering, red-rock cliffs to an ancient Pueblan granary, and floated down flat-water stretches in our life jackets. I’d rafted bigger rapids before, but being part of an all-female crew doubled the camaraderie and fun. Evenings at camp, our guides prepared hearty, tasty suppers – grilled salmon, barbequed steaks – and even whipped up a Dutch oven birthday cake. But it was our last morning on the river that was the most thrilling: We almost capsized tackling Big Drop Three. “It was exciting and wonderful,” said first-time paddler Kim Kosmatka, who was already talking about a reunion.

From the take-out on Lake Powell, we hopped a scenic flight to Moab for two days of horseback riding, mountain biking and 4X4 tours. After soothing my muscles at Sorrel River Ranch’s spa, I relaxed on the porch of my Southwest-style cabin each night, watching calmer waters slip by cliffs the color of cherry wood.

All-women weeks are also offered on the Salmon River, and in Yellowstone and the Tetons. Rates start at $2,452, including meals, all activities and three nights at the ranch.

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O.A.R.S. is an author ized concessioner of Arches, Canyonlands, Grand Canyon and Grand Te ton National Parks and Dinosaur National Monument.
Outside Travel Awards 'Best Outfitter' Runner Up National Geographic Adventure Magazine - Best River & Sea Outfitter on Earth As Featured On 50 Tours of a Lifetime - National Geographic Traveler Mindy Gleason, O.A.R.S. Reservations Manager Condé Nast Traveler Top Travel Specialist 2007-2013 (River Rafting) Best of the Bay Area Winner

For consecutive years, O.A.R.S. has been named the "Best River & Sea Outfitter on Earth" by National Geographic Adventure and one of the top two outfitters in the world by Outside Magazine in its annual Active Travel Awards recognition program. In multiple years, O.A.R.S.trips have been honored as "50 Tours of a Lifetime" by National Geographic Traveler and since 2007, Condé Nast Traveler has recognized Mindy Gleason, O.A.R.S. Reservation Manager and International Adventure Travel Consultant, as Condé Nast Traveler's standalone Top Travel Specialist in the River Rafting category.

Questions about trips or making reservations? Contact or call 800-346-6277 in the USA or Canada or 1-209-736-4677 if outside the USA or Canada.
O.A.R.S. Companies Inc.,
PO Box 67, Angels Camp, CA 95222