Magazine article Sunset

Top 10 Rafting Trips

Magazine article Sunset

Top 10 Rafting Trips

Article excerpt

Our favorite river adventures for foodies, photo geeks, and classical music fans

1 COLORADO RIVER, AZ

STRING QUARTET IN THE GRAND CANYON It may appear incongruent at first-a cellist carting her instrument up slick rock, a grand master violinist keeping time with his sandaled foot-but once the musicians plunge into Beethoven or Bach, you'll know the grandest of concert halls. Along this 225-mile journey down the Colorado, the string quartet plays 10 full-length concerts in naturally carved amphitheaters, often mingling strings with the rhythm of waterfalls. A true trip of a lifetime; spaces fill early, so call now for June 2009.15 days; (3,370 (2007 price); class UT-V rapids; Canyon Explorations, www.canyon explorations.com or 800/654-0723. -LAURA STAVOE

2 SNAKE RIVER, OR & ID

PHOTOGRAPHY WORKSHOPS Whitewater washing over a boulder, a black-eyed Susan backed by weathered wood, an osprey soaring over the deepest gorge in North America... Professional photographers Marissa Lopez and Larry Jones work with digital and film photographers of all skill levels. They'll show you a hundred ways of looking at a river, with a teaching style that's as fluid as the Snake. 4 days (Aug 14-17); $1,195; class III-IV rapids; Hughes River Expeditions, www.hughesriver.com or 800/262-1882. -L.S.

3 ROGUE RIVER,OR

GOURMET COOKING Thrills, spills, and at the end of the day, a multicourse meal prepared by renowned chef Bob Anderson and his wife, Mary (from V Restaurant in Murphys, California), who are there to share their vast knowledge of food and wine. Learn how to make a creamy risotto or carve a whole beef tenderloin into filet mignon. Or just lounge riverside, in comfy camping chairs, with real glasses of fine wine in hand, and wait for candlelight dinner to be served. On tablecloths, of course. 4 days (Sep 18-21]; $1,215; class IT-HI rapids; OARS, www.oars.com or 800/346-6277. -SUSAN G. MAUSER

4 UPPER COLORADO RIVER, CO

AFTER DARK Rafting the Colorado at night sounds, umm, dark. And scary. But anxieties fade as quickly as twilight on this one-of-a-kind Lakota River Guides "night vision" trip. Peer through superhero-like lenses during a mellow 8-mile float beneath the Milky Way-and see the river in a whole new light. The greenish amplified glow lets you spy on deer, raccoons, beavers, and other wildlife in the wee hours. 4 hours; (95; no rapids; Lakota River Guides, www.lalcotaguides.com or 800/274-0636. -TED ALAN STEDMAN

5 SKAGIT RIVER, WA

BALD EAGLE-VIEWING Want proof that bald eagles have made a comeback? Spend just four hours floating the Skagit and you could see upward of 200 of the regal, white-crowned birds, which soon may be delisted as a threatened species. December through February is prime viewing time, when the eagles migrate south to feast on salmon. So file this away till winter-when you'll want to bundle up, drift down the river, and point your binocs toward the treetops. Half-day; $75; no rapids; Pacific NW Float Trips, www.pacificnwfloattrips.com or 866/383-1349. -MOLLY LORI

6 FLATHEAD RIVER, MT

SADDLE AND PADDLE This hardy trip kicks off with a horseback ride through Indian paintbrush-filled meadows to a secluded camp in Montana's Flathead National Forest, where wranglers grill steaks on the campfire as the last light melts over the peaks of nearby Glacier National Park. The next three days are spent tackling the turquoise water-rewarded by Dutch oven brownies and the perfect combo of crickets and current that sings you to sleep. …

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