Best USA Roadtrip?
Replies: 35 - Last Post: Feb 9, 2013 4:05 PM Last Post By: ianw6705
Feb 6, 2013 3:57 PM
A decent two week trip.
Feb 6, 2013 4:08 PM
16River trips down the Colorado cost around $1,500 - $2,000 per person and you need to sign up a year in advance. The National Park Service can give you a list of the concessionaires permitted to do river trips on the Colorado.
Feb 6, 2013 4:59 PM
17The decent two-week trip from bzookaj is very good ... and if you do not spend much time in San Francisco you have two additional options that you could consider in the time:
(1) Go east from Bryce Canyon to include Arches NP, Canyonlands NP, and Monument Valley, on your way to the GCNP South Rim, or (2) start in Los Angeles and include the Hwy 1 coast trip LA to San Francisco, then head east via Yosemite, ending in Las Vegas.
I also think you definitely do not have time to include Colorado - and especially not Texas.
Feb 6, 2013 5:35 PM
Well that stinks.
Could I just get my own raft and take my chances?
Feb 6, 2013 7:45 PM
19I don't think so.
You have three competing forces in play ... and they are all biggies:
(1) In the Land of the Free and Home of the Brave, you should be able to raft on any darn river you feel like.
(2) There are so many people that such free access would lead to crowding, mayhem, and the destruction of the resource so no-one could enjoy it (see The Tragedy of the Commons).
(3) And in the spirit of capitalism that is the American Way, if a resource is desirable and controlled, then someone with the inside running will make a buck out of it - hopefully a monopoly one.
So that's why you can't.
Feb 6, 2013 9:02 PM
Feb 6, 2013 10:03 PM
Feb 7, 2013 4:57 AM
Feb 7, 2013 6:30 AM
23"Could I just get my own raft and take my chances?" Actually you can, but the wait for a permit is just as long and you have to demonstrate you know what you are doing. The permits are issued by lottery (with low chances of winning).
However, cheer up, there are lots of whitewater rivers in the U.S. flowing through magnificent country where permits are far more easily obtained and you CAN take your own raft down them (The Salmon, Owyhee, Rogue and Snake to mention a few).
Feb 7, 2013 7:24 AM
Feb 7, 2013 8:01 AM
25Last word on wild rivers: Not sure what ianw's rant is about, sounds like a rail against regulations, but I don't like all the regulations either. However, with millions of people wanting to float the more popular rivers like the Colorado I think the Park Service, BLM and Forest Service do a good job regulating them. Without controls these special areas would be ruined in short order.
Some years ago I took a photo on the Deschutes River in Oregon that tells the story (which I send to my congressman periodically). Land ownership along the Deschutes is a "checkerboard" mix of public and private lands, a common thing in the western U.S. But the shoreline, including all the private property holdings, is served by a road built and maintained by the BLM (i.e. with your tax dollars). Yet there I am, sitting in the BLM campground, looking at signs posted 100 yards away on the "public" road saying "private property behind this sign - stay out - no trespassing" and "violators will be prosecuted or shot." The BLM only has isolated campgrounds along the shoreline, so the road is only needed by them for servicing the campgrounds (which could be done by boat). In that case, let the property owners build and maintain their own damn road.
So, regulations, rules, restrictions? No one likes them, but at least these public areas aren't "locked up" in private ownership like the Deschutes. Chaulk it up to over-population and sadly, as our population increases I think more and more wild places will be further restricted as more and more people use them (already some National Forest Wilderness Areas have permit and quota systems).
OK, my rant is done. Carry on.
Feb 7, 2013 8:15 AM
Feb 7, 2013 11:39 AM
27An outstanding whitewater rafting trip in the Glacier Bay, Alaska, area is the Alsek-Tatshinshini Rivers week-long trip from Haines Junction, Yukon Territory, Canada, through the Wrangell-St. Elias Mountains and Glacier Bay to Yakutat, Alaska, on the Pacific Coast. It is an old Indian trading route that they did in canoes. Lots of wildlife. From Yakutat, you catch a flight back to Canada and the road system. There are river guides in Haines Junction and in Whitehorse for the rafting trip.
Feb 7, 2013 12:27 PM
28Yep trekker - I did the Tashenshini in 2003 and getting ready to go again in 2014 (except this time I want to do the Alsek River to which the Tashenshini is actually a tributary, albeit a damn big one). Outstanding trip - 10-days - I went with Wilderness River Outfitters out of Grangeville, Idaho and would highly recommend them.
First night out I walked down the sandbar from camp, coffee in hand, and saw a wolf feeding on a dead grizzly bear cub on a spit of land about 100 yards away. Five nights later I spotted a "ghost bear" which even the guides said they hadn't seen before. Also, we took some day hikes up into alpine areas the guides knew about where we saw mountain goats (pretty strenuous hikes and most of the clients didn't go after the first one). Oddly, we didn't see one moose on the whole trip although the place is full of them. Saw bears and eagles every day, but only the one wolf on first night out. The summer sockeye run had either just ended or hadn't started, but there were a few fish coming up.
The trip was in early August and we were extremely lucky - no rain for ten days - unusual, and - best of all - NO BUGS. We saw all the Fairweather Range, even the coast range behind Yakutat was in full view, and the icebergs in Alsek Lake were blue and enormous. Only rapids of mention are on the first day out through a canyon for about an hour, a chute with Class III - IV drop n pool rapids. After that, it's just a big, fast-moving river.
I think the trip cost is up to $2,200 or more per person now, but . . it is a world-class trip. We ate like kings and the guides were excellent. I arrived at Haines two days prior to the trip and the salmon were running up the Chilkat River (with the usual assortment of bears and fishermen), and did my obligatory time in the Fogcutter Bar downtown.
Trip included transportation from Haines to the put-in in the Yukon Territory and float plane flight at trip's end from the mouth of the Alsek River to Yakutat (a fishing destination with an airport capable of handling commercial jets - Alaska Airlines flies out of it). Yakutat is a major sport fishing area, so if you do the Tat you might tack on a few days to go salmon and halibut fishing out of Yakutat, or fly on up to Anchorage and access Denali Park (that's what some of our crew did).
Hot Tip: Ask for a paddle boat. That's why some of us went with Wilderness River Outfitters 'cause they ran a a paddle boat. It's fun to paddle and you get exercise to warm up with - it gets cold just sitting there in a raft piloted by guides in freezing glacial-melt river water.
Feb 7, 2013 4:06 PM
29Not sure what ianw's rant is about, sounds like a rail against regulations, but I don't like all the regulations either.
Wasn't a rant at all - I didn't offer an opinion ... I was just raising three of the main forces that come into conflict when anyone discusses rivers, water rights, riparian rights, and even simple access to the water by people or livestock. In fact, your description of what happens along the Deschutes River shows those conflicting forces in living colour.
Coincidentally, we had a picnic lunch on the Deschutes River at Maupin - very pleasant - and there were a lot of people rafting up and down. Had I known about the land issues of the region, I would have taken more interest indeed. Although driving through the US it's hard to miss how land ownership is set out on a different "mental grid" to the way it works in Australia - different history and different geography, of course.
As an example, there is public ownership of all the shoreline right round Sydney Harbour (a seriously big and seriously beautiful body of water) - and in theory you can walk all the way round the national park that has been declared ... but only in theory.
The waterfront real estate is worth multi-millions, and the owners do not want the unwashed punters walking on the "public" land at the water's edge - so there are still concrete walls, and all manner of other obstacles in place - even though access is supposed to be there. But at least the owners don't threaten to shoot you.
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