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Water Adventures Happenings - June 2016
A Centenarian's Draw to the Colorado River
Lovingly penned by Swirlin’ Eddy for Wild West Voyages

100-year-old Nina Sullivan recently smiled and giggled her way through a day trip down the Colorado River near Moab. The Times-Independent reports that this has been a longtime bucket list item for the adventurous woman who has lived in Africa, Europe and the United States. Her personal history features years of farming in Kenya, translating for the BBC in World War II, and raising family in Washington State.

This river that has been calling her here to Moab for all these decades… it has its own powerful history of indigenous culture, cowboys and pioneers, outlaws and vagrants, fearless matriarchs, miners, river runners, naturalists, and awestruck tourists. How does this history correlate to Nina Sullivan’s life?

When Nina was born in 1915 the river we know as the Colorado River was called the Grand River. Occasional steamboats were still in use in the river corridor, hauling in supplies for the residents of tiny Moab, only a generation old. When Nina was three years old, still in Kenya, Moab suffered its first outbreak of influenza, which would afflict over 500 people before it passed.

The Colorado River has continued its call to adventure throughout Nina Campbell’s life. By the time she was thirty years old groups were regularly navigating Cataract Canyon, below the confluence of the Green and Colorado. Availability of surplus war gear made rafting more accessible to those who dared.

Fast forward to the spring of 2016. The commerce aspect of the Colorado River has turned primarily to tourism. The stunning vistas and towering red rocks, tranquil floats and roller-coaster rapids are irresistible to folks from all over the world. A trip to Moab is not complete without a voyage down the river, and people find themselves returning again and again to catch that river “vibe.” Moab currently boasts 17 companies offering river tours of some sort, with vessels including everything from traditional rafts to motor boats, kayaks, stand-up paddle boards, and yes, even a floating river couch (thanks, Wild West Voyages)!

Follow the example of a centenarian and add a Colorado River trip to your bucket list. Once you try it, you won’t want to cross it off!

Find Swirlin’ Eddy’s blog on
Wild West Voyages offers guided day trips in on the Colorado River, rental gear and shuttle service. Call for reservations: 435-355-0776 or visit


Float by Fisher Tower with your Family
Experience the breathtaking beauty of the Fisher Tower stretch of the Colorado River, commonly known as the ‘Moab Daily’, with Canyonlands Field Institute. The Fisher Towers section of the river begins as a flat, yet swift flow with several named rapids about halfway downstream. To navigate this section of river we will be using both paddle rafts and inflatable kayaks (duckies) providing ample time and opportunity to be fully engaged in the rafting experience. Trips will begin at 1:30 pm, when we meet, and run until 5:30 pm when we drop you off. Trips run from Wednesday through Sunday starting in June and ending in August.

Limited to one boat and eight passengers CFI caters to an intimate and engaging outdoor adventure experience. This daily trip will be both exciting and educational as we spend time on the rapids and share our knowledge of the surrounding landscape. With millions of years of geological forces at our fingertips there is no better classroom for our CFI naturalist guides than the mighty Colorado River. For example, we will pass by the famous Fisher Towers including Titan which at 900 feet it is the tallest sandstone tower in the world.

Have children and want them to learn while having fun on the river? Then paddle alongside one of our CFI naturalist guides who excel at working with children of all ages and have a wide variety of nature games and art projects about the canyon country that are engaging and educational for your children. Our naturalist guides are well trained in river guiding and have a vast knowledge of (but not limited to) geology, ecology, Native American history, regional history, and of course the Colorado River that they are eager to share.

Canyonlands Field Institute is a non-profit outdoor education organization whose mission is to increase awareness and appreciation for the Colorado Plateau through direct natural and cultural experiences. All profits help support youth and school outdoor education programs.

For more information about this seminar or other tours CFI provides go to our website at, call us at 435-259-7750, or by email at
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