The project commissioned by Lake Powell Construction & Dev., Inc. of Page, AZ, for the National Park Service required the on-site equipment to replace a portion of underground cable at this popular National Park site.
“Because only hiking and mule trails access the ranch, the only way to get the excavator here without the cost of an expensive airlift was by floating it down the river,” explained Trent Keller, raft captain for Western River Expeditions (http://www.westernriver.com/)
By first light they ran through Quagant, past the Little Colorado River and entered into the Inner Gorge, the deepest part of the Grand Canyon (http://www.westernriver.com/
“This is where the largest rapids we’d face are located,” he said. “We had to back the raft motoring upstream to slow the passage, allowing us more time to maneuver around large waves, holes and rocks. With a lot of creative spins, entries and eddy hopping, it went fine through Georgie, Unkar, Socdolanger, Grapevine and on to Phantom. It was a super-heavy load and made a really slow boat. It didn’t spin well either with the weight heavily concentrated and low in the middle.”
The raft pulled into Phantom a day ahead of schedule and 55 minutes later the excavator was off-loaded and ready to go to work. The trip normally takes three days by motorized raft and six days by rowed raft.
“What allowed us to accelerate the trip is the fact that there were no guests on board,” he added.
“This time the equipment will stay on site,” Keller said. Maneuvering equipment on the river to this site was first accomplished by Keller’s father in 1980. That year, Lynn Keller took a Case 580C Backhoe down river, and then again in the early 2000s by Mark Pierce. When the earliest equipment completed the project, it was helicoptered out in pieces. The second time Western’s crew took it out.
Western River Expeditions
Western River Expeditions (http://www.westernriver.com/
Western River Expeditions, providing Grand Canyon rafting, Utah rafting (http://www.westernriver.com/
Western River Expeditions has been named one of the “Best Adventure Travel Companies on Earth” by the editors of National Geographic Adventure magazine. The company was honored last spring as the 2012 recipient of "Best of State" through Utah’s Premier Recognition and Awards Program. This is the ninth consecutive year Western River Expeditions has earned this distinction. For 2013 season reservations call toll-free: 866.904.1160 or 801.942.6669.
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