What did you do last summer?
The best answer to the back-to-school AP English essay question, ARTA’s 7 day Junior Whitewater School is also a wonderful introduction to whitewater rafting and wilderness camping as well as an opportunity for exploration, discovery, and growth.
The school will take place on the Green River as it cuts through Desolation and Grey Canyons in eastern Utah. The Green is perfect for learning the basic elements of whitewater navigation as it starts out calm and gentle, then builds in difficulty as the trip progresses. The canyon, too, is well-suited for learning and offers numerous opportunities for hiking and exploring. Instruction will cover many aspects of whitewater navigation including rowing, paddle-captaining and inflatable kayaking. Training will also be provided in whitewater safety, repair, rigging, cooking, and minimum impact camping. In addition to and perhaps more important than these technical skills, students will also develop teamwork, decision-making, interpersonal, leadership, and risk-assessment skills in a supervised, wilderness setting. Our goal is to act as positive role models and to foster a fun and friendly environment in which each student can gain self-confidence, independence, and maturity.
Proposed Itinerary (subject to change due to flows):
Day before the trip: We will meet at the Salt Lake City airport between 1:00 and 4:00, then drive to the actual launching spot at Sand Wash on the Green River. Here we will have dinner, go over trip parameters and goals, and get to know each other. We will camp at the launch site.
Day 1: An early and busy morning during which we will learn knots and rigging and go over safety procedures will lead to a relaxing afternoon in the boats floating downriver. There are no rapids on this day, giving us time to learn basic navigation techniques and become comfortable in the boats. Camping will be at an undeveloped site along the Green.
Day 2 – 6: We will continue down the Green working on ferry angles, turns, pivots, and eddy-catching. The rapids will increase in difficulty and our skills will be challenged daily. In addition to whitewater instruction, we will take time each day to learn about other aspects of wilderness camping and the unique high desert environment of the Green River. We will hike to abandoned ranches, explore ancient cultural sites, and play games on the expansive sand bars of the Green River. The students and instructors will be divided into groups with each group having specific responsibilities for the day. Students will be involved in setting up and taking down camp, preparing meals, washing dishes, and caring for the equipment. The days will be busy, but not strenuous. Evenings will include a combination of structured and unstructured time.
Day 7 – An early morning wake-up will get us to take-out before noon. We will de-rig the rafts, load the trailer and head to Salt Lake City to catch afternoon flights back home. See Departure Information section for details about flight times.
Alternate Ending: Over the years, many parents have signed up for a regular ARTA trip immediately following their child’s Junior Whitewater School and have taken a trip together with their newly graduated “junior assistant guide”. These trips have always been fun; the parents have gotten to see their kid in action and the kid has gotten to show off their new skills for their parents. We highly recommend this if you can make it work; call us and we’ll help you make plans.
I loved my instructors. They were very attentive but also let us solve our own problems as they came up. Super fun.