Showing posts with label Grand Canyon. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Grand Canyon. Show all posts

Video: Chaco Presents: The Time Travelers - Chasing a Speed Record in the Grand Canyon

A few weeks back I posted a story about a team of paddlers who attempted to set a speed record for rowing down the length of the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon. They ultimately came up a bit short do to mechanical issues, but the effort was nevertheless amazing. Now, a documentary of the team's journey is in the works and we have a trailer for that film. As you'll see, this was quite an undertaking as the short clip gives us a brief glimpse of what to expect when the full-length film is released down the line.

Video: Thru Hiking the Grand Canyon - Thirst and Threats in the Godscape (Part 3)

Today we have the third – and final – video in the National Geographic series that follows photographer Pete McBride and journalist Kevin Fedarko on 650 mile (1046 km) thru-hike of the Grand Canyon, as they explore the threats that that place now faces. They've discovered that amongst those threats are environmental issues, climate change, encroaching commercial interests, and more. As their journey nears and end, the two men face a challenge of their own – potentially running out of water in a remote corner of the national park. Find out how their expedition wraps up in this installment of the series.

Video: Thru-Hiking the Grand Canyon - Between River and Rim (Part 2)

Last week we had the first video in a three part series that follows photographer Pete McBride and journalist Kevin Fedarko as they make the very difficult thru-hike across the Grand Canyon in an effort to explore the challenges that the national park currently faces. In part 2 of the series, we return to the trail, where Pete and Kevin are now 200 miles (321 km) into their journey as winter begins to set in, bringing a new set of obstacles for them to overcome. This is an amazing look at the Grand Canyon as most of us never get a chance to see it, and it is well worth your time to watch in its entirety.

Video: Thru-Hiking the Grand Canyon - A 650-Mile Challenge (Part 1)

Throughout 2015 and 2016, photographer Pete McBride and journalist Kevin Fedarko set off to make a sectional thru-hike of the Grand Canyon in an effort to document the threats that that National Park now faces. Along the way, they faced more challenges than they had anticipated, as the journey was more difficult and dangerous than they had ever impinged. This video takes us along with them into the canyon, to experience much of what they saw while they were there. It is Part 1 of a 3 part series, which promises to be an amazing adventure with some important revelations to be had along the way.

Whitewater Rafting Team Narrowly Misses Grand Canyon Record

A team of eight whitewater rafters missed setting a new speed record for rowing down the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon this week when their raft was punctured in the attempt. The group spent nearly 40 hours out on the water, but came up short in their epic attempt to cover the 277 mile distance as quickly as possible.

The 8-person squad, which includes the 6-man U.S. Whitewater Rafting team had been planning the Grand Canyon run for years, but received new incentive in 2016 when a new speed record was set. For years, the time to beat had been 36 hours, 38 minutes held by Kenton Grua, Rudi Putsches and Steve Reynolds since 1983. But last year, solo kayaker Ben Orkin set a new record by running the entire stretch in just 34 hours and two minutes.

Unfortunately for this team, the final time was 39 hours, 24 minutes, but they were slowed down greatly in their efforts thanks to the punctured raft, which couldn't be fixed properly while on the water. That left one of the raft's tubes almost completely deflated, causing way too much drag to overcome. A strong headwind didn't help their efforts either.

Still, the team wasn't feeling sorry for themselves. They seemed to enjoy the adventure, even though they didn't set a new record along the way. After all, traveling through the Grand Canyon is always an amazing experience, and for some it was the first go at the Colorado River. There is no word yet on if they'll return to try for the record a second time, but something tells me we haven't heard the last of this crew.

Read the entire story about their rafting expedition here. It has a lot of great moments and some big challenges that they faced along the way.

Video: The 17-Million Year Old Grand Canyon is Still Teaching Us New Things

In this video, we join 17-year old Katie Winkelman as she takes part in a youth group that is exploring the Grand Canyon on foot and by raft. While in the Canyon, she learns a lot more about how it was formed and its continued importance in the lives of more than 40 million people who depend upon the Colorado River – which carved the dramatic landscapes there – for fresh water. The health of this place, and the waters that pass through it, are incredibly important, which is why we must continue to strive to protect it.

Is the Grand Canyon in Jeopardy?

Yesterday I posted a beautiful video of the Grand Canyon in celebration of the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service later this week. Everyone knows that the national park is one of the most iconic outdoor destinations in the entire world, with some of the most amazing opportunities for adventure. But are we losing the Grand Canyon to commercial and industrial development? That is the question posed in a new article from National Geographic that reveals an uncertain future for one of the U.S.'s most famous landscapes.

In order to explore the threats to the Grand Canyon, journalists Kevin Fedarko and Pete McBride have spent the better part of the past year exploring its wonders. Starting last fall, the two men have trekked for more than 650 miles (1046 km) through remote wilderness to not only get to understand the Canyon better, but to discover how its fragile ecosystem has increasingly become under siege by outside interests.

Along the way, they talked with people living in and around the park as the two men learned about the potential for over development and the increased stress put on the Grand Canyon due to a larger number of tourists visiting. But most importantly, they discovered that mining operations just outside the park's borders could have a long-lasting, and incredibly devastating, impact on the park itself, creating a potentially dangerous environmental catastrophe. For example, uranium is one of the substances that is mined near the park that could have severe impact on its future. In fact, U.S. Geological Survey data says that 15 springs and five wells near the Grand Canyon already have levels of uranium that are considered unsafe to drink. This is mostly due to incidents from older mines in the area, but it underscores the problem none the less.

While the story is already quite eye-opening, Fedarko and McBride aren't quite done yet. They're continuing to explore the Grand Canyon even now, with plans to wrap up their investigative expedition sometime in October. The story is of course still unfolding, but the hope is that we're not too late in spreading the word about the threats to this incredibly popular national park. After all, it is a place that has been presumably preserved for future generations to enjoy as well, so why would we want to spoil it now? Hopefully that won't happen.

Video: The Best of the Grand Canyon

This week, the U.S. National Park Service will celebrate its 100th birthday in grand fashion, with all kinds of special events taking place across the country. For those of us who love the parks, this is a major milestone in their history, and one well worth commemorating. The video below comes our way courtesy of National Geographic and shares the very best vistas and landscapes from one of the most iconic parks in the entire system – The Grand Canyon. It is a good reminder of just how special these places truly are, and why having protected public lands is such an important thing. Consider that this week as we all appreciate the NPS just a bit more.

The 10 Best Campgrounds in America's National Parks

The classic summer road trip to visit a national park is a quintessential part of American culture. After all, the parks are home to some of the most iconic and beautiful landscapes found anywhere on Earth. They also happen to have some outstanding campsites available for visitors as well, providing inexpensive, yet very memorable, places to pitch your tent for the night. 

National Geographic Adventure has assembled a list of the 10 best campgrounds in America's national parks, highlighting some of these great places. As Nat Geo points out, many of the national park campsites get very crowded in the summer months, but their list took this into account and suggested places that are more off the beaten path, and far from the typical gathering points for visitors. 

So, which campsites earned a spot on the list? Some of the suggestions include Tuweep on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, Piñon Flats in Great Sand Dunes National Park, and Wonder Lake in Denali National Park. Each of these is unique, remote, and beautiful, and the accompany article describing them tells you not only what to expect when you're there, but how to book a stay as well.

To find out which other campsites earned a spot on the list, read the entire story here. Then, start planning your summer visit to a national park too. 

Grand Canyon Paddling Speed Record Broken Twice in Three Days

The speed record for paddling the length of the Grand Canyon was first set back in 1983, when three river guides rowed a wooden dory down the 277.1 mile (446 km) stretch of the Colorado River in 36 hours and 38 minutes. For more than three decades that mark stood as the time to beat, although very few people actually attempted to break it. But this past weekend, that record was broken not once, but twice, by two independent teams who didn't even realize that they were both hoping to achieve the same goal.

Outside magazine has a great piece on their website explaining the entire story, and it is an interesting one. Essentially, no one really cared about this speed record until author Kevin Fedarko wrote a book called The Emerald Mile back in 2013 detailing the 1983 record row. That sparked a renewed interest in trying to beat the old record within the paddling community, with kayakers Ben Orkin and Harrison Rea trying to set a new record last January. They failed in that attempt, coming up an hour and ten minutes short.

But last week a new team of paddlers hit the water with the hope of chasing the record. Ben Luck, Ryan Casey, and Matt and Nate Klema set off on January 20, with Matt actually reaching the finish line in 35 hours and 5 minutes, shaving an hour and a half off the previous record. Of course the foursome were ecstatic over their success, but they soon began to hear rumblings of another kayaker who was about to attempt the record himself.


Ben Orkin, who had missed setting the record last year, was back out on the river on a solo mission this time. He had no idea that the other team was even trying to set the record, let alone that they had already accomplished that goal. He was preparing to put-in the Colorado on Saturday morning when he received an email from Ben Luck informing him of the new time to beat. Knowing that he'd now have to go even faster than he had previously thought, Orkin moved forward with his plans.

The paddle wasn't an easy one. Orkin grew exhausted after paddling for hours on end completely on his own. He also flipped his kayak in some of the rough rapids, costing himself precious time. But in the end, he was able to best Matt's new record, covering the distance between Lee’s Ferry to the Grand Wash Cliffs in 34 hours and 2 minutes, 57 minutes faster than the two-day old record.

You can read a lot more about this story on Outside Online, where more details of these record-setting paddles are shared. The interesting thing to watch now will be how many more people will attempt to kayak the Grand Canyon, and just how low this time can truly go.

Scientists Discover Massive Canyon in Antarctica

It is fascinating to me how much we are still learning about our own planet. It seems that despite the fact that we are sending space probes and rovers to other Mars, Pluto, Jupiter, comets, and other celestial bodies, we continue to discover new things right here at home. Case in point. Last week it was revealed that a team of researchers have discovered a massive canyon under the ice in Antarctica. It's so big in fact that it could dwarf even the Grand Canyon itself.

The canyon was discovered using satellite imagery and ground penetrating radar that was pulled along behind snowmobiles and small aircraft. This giant gorge is located in the western region of the Antarctic near the Ellsworth Subglacial Highlands. It is said to be buried under several miles of ice, but its dimensions are staggering to say the least.

According to preliminary estimates, the canyon is believed to be 3 km (1.9 miles) deep, and more than 25 km (15.5 miles) across. It is also believed to run more than 1000 km (621 miles) in length, and even more amazingly it reaches 2000 meters (6500 feet) below sea level at certain points. In comparison, the Grand Canyon 1.8 km (1.13 miles) deep and stretches for 433 km (277 miles) in length.

The scientists studying the Ellsworth region aren't sure how old the canyon is exactly, although they do know that Antarctica has been covered in ice for at least 34 million years. Over that time, the glaciers that cover the area have shifted dramatically, ranging in thickness while shaping the surface found underneath them. Because of its immense size, it is believed that it was ice – not an ancient river – that carved this massive gorge.

Unlike the Grand Canyon, it is unlikely that humans will ever see this natural monument. Because it is covered in snow and ice, it would take millions of more years – not to mention dramatic shifts in climate – for it to ever reveal itself. Still, it is fascinating to know that this place exists, and it makes you wonder what else is still out there, hidden under the ice.

Video: In Current - Rowing the Grand Canyon

This video isn't just about rowing a boat down the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon. It is also about pursuing a dream. In order to earn a spot on the crew of a dory boat in the Canyon one must first pay their dues. That can take years to accomplish, and requires a great deal of experience. For Amber Shannon, the subject of this short film, it has been a nine year struggle toward achieving her goal of joining the team on the dory. This documentary shares that experience, along with what it is like to explore the Grand Canyon in a small wooden boat. Amazing stuff.

In Current from YETI Coolers on Vimeo.

Video: Clouds Over the Grand Canyon

This video comes our way courtesy of the National Parks Service. It is a short timelapse shot of the Grand Canyon that was just posted yesterday. The clip condenses 30 minutes of realtime down to just a single minute of video that shows the amazing cloud cover that enveloped the Canyon. As you can see, the clouds formed below the rim, creating an eerie sight for anyone who came to catch a glimpse of the magnificent landscapes there.

Video: Bright Angel Trail to Plateau Point in the Grand Canyon

Here's a beautiful short video that is even more impressive when you realize the entire thing was shot using just an iPhone 6 Plus. It features some amazing footage from the Grand Canyon, where filmmaker Dan Carter hiked Bright Angel Trail to Plateau Point, capturing video as he went. It is incredible to think that we now have such great cameras, and video editing tools, right in our pockets. Filmmaking has never been so accessible as it is today, and as a result, we're getting some very cool videos. Enjoy!

Grand Canyon Bright Angel Trail to Plateau Point (iPhone 6 Plus) from Dan Carter on Vimeo.

Blind Kayakers Wrap Up Grand Canyon Paddle (With Video)

A few weeks back, I posted a story about blind adventurers Erik Weihenmayer and Lonnie Bedwell launching their bid to paddle the length of the Grand Canyon. At the time, the two men – along with their support team – were just preparing to embark on their expedition, which was expected to take about three weeks to complete, covering the entire 277-mile (445 km) stretch of the Colorado River. Earlier this week, they wrapped up that incredible journey, both both Erik and Lonnie paddling the challenging stretch of water.

The treacherous whitewater found inside the Grand Canyon can be difficult to run even for those who have the ability to see the river. For these two blind kayakers, it must have been both exhilarating and terrifying at the same time. Both trained diligently for the trip, and had lots of experience on other rivers, but their accomplishment is impressive and inspiring none the less.

For Erik, this is just another big adventure that has allowed him to remind the rest of us just what we can accomplish in life, no matter what barriers are thrown up in front of us. As you probably already know, Weihenmayer is the first, and only, blind person to summit Everest. He has also climbed the other Seven Summits, ridden his bike across Vietnam, competed in adventure races, gone backcountry skiing, and more.

Lonnie has a similarly inspiring story. He was Petty Officer in the U.S. Navy, serving aboard submarines. He lost his sight due to a hunting accident, but took some time before he started pursuing adventures of his own. Bewell eventually taught himself how to kayak on a lake on his Indian farm, before he started paddling rivers. In 2013, he made a descent of the Colorado in the Grand Canyon as part of team of military veterans.


The team has left the Grand Canyon and are all on their way home now, their mission a success. Congratulations to everyone who took part in this endeavor. It will certainly serve as an inspiration to others for a long time.

To get a better sense of what the journey was like, read the expedition dispatches at KayakingBlind.org. Then, check out the video below, which highlights some of the whitewater they encountered along the way.

No Barriers Grand Canyon Expedition White Water Highlights from Erik Weihenmayer on Vimeo.

Blind Adventurers Launch Grand Canyon Paddling Expedition

A team of kayakers that includes two blind adventurers has launched an expedition to paddle the length of the Grand Canyon in Arizona. The journey will take them down 277 miles (445 km) filled with some of the most challenging and iconic rapids in all of North America. The Canyon's unpredictable whitewater can make for a wild ride for paddlers who have perfect vision, but for the two men on this journey who lack sight, it will be a completely different experience altogether.

The two blind paddlers are Erik Weihenmayer and Lonnie Bedwell. Weihenmayer's name is no doubt familiar to Adventure Blog readers, as we have been following his preparation for this trip for some time. He is no stranger to outdoor adventure having staked claim to being the first – and only – blind person to ever climb Mt. Everest. Erik's adventures have also taken him to the top of the other Seven Summits, on a cycling journey across Vietnam, and mountain biking and skiing in various locations, amongst other pursuits. Bedwell is a former Navy Petty Officer and submariner who lost his sight in a hunting accident. He too continues his favorite outdoor pursuits, and has already paddled the length of the Grand Canyon in the past. His experience will be helpful to the entire team.

Joining Erik and Lonnine on this journey will be kayakers Seth Dahl, Chris Drew, Steven Mace, Timmy O'Neill, Rob Raker, and Harlan Taney. Each of them has a great deal of paddling experience that will prove invaluable to the expedition as well. The entire journey is being filmed by a production company too.

The team, which consists of nine paddlers, launched from Lee's Ferry yesterday, and will now spend the better part of the next three weeks descending the river. They are attempting this excursion to not only continue to show what visually impaired people can accomplish, but to also inspire others to take on the biggest challenges in their life as well. You can follow their progress at KayakingBlind.org. Good luck to Erik, Lonnie, and the entire squad.

Kayaking Blind Grand Canyon Teaser from Erik Weihenmayer on Vimeo.

Video: A Timelapse Journey Through the American Southwest

Let's kickoff the weekend in style. This video, shot entirely in the American Southwest, captures the landscapes of that region in amazing fashion. The beautiful settings, including the Grand Canyon, as well as Bryce, Zion, and Canyonalands National Parks, are almost hypnotic. If you haven't been to this part of the U.S., you need to make it a priority to get there soon.

The American Southwest – A Time-lapse Journey from Tommaso Maiocchi on Vimeo.

Video: Paddling Solo Through the Grand Canyon of the Colorado River

In January and February of this year, adventurer and filmmaker John Nestler paddled solo, and unsupported, through the Grand Canyon. He spent 27 days kayaking through that iconic landscape, documenting the journey as he went. The short film below is the result of that expedition, and features some fantastic scenes from Canyon, as well as some of the people that Nestler met while on his adventure. It is perfect inspiration for the start of a new week.

Why Rush Through Paradise from Fluid Glass Productions on Vimeo.