Wanderlust: The Grand Canyon

The Grand Canyon is one of the nations most loved national parks. With its towering walls, seemingly fathomless depths, and the clear blue Colorado flowing below it is no wonder that almost five million people visit this national treasure every year. The Grand Canyon originally began as a Forest Reserve in 1893 then became a National Monument before finally being declared a National Park in 1919, shortly after the creation of the National Park Service three years earlier. Its humble origins make this National Park even more appealing to those seeking for a destination rich with American history and natural wonders.

Grand CanyonThe Grand Canyon chasm runs 277 miles long and up to 18 miles wide and was formed by the Colorado River. It took the Colorado River somewhere between 3 and 6 million years to form the canyon and is continuously being altered by the constant state of erosion, while the river itself flows west through the canyon and is on average about 300 feet wide, 100 feet deep and flows around 4 miles per hour on any given day. The Grand Canyon National Park covers 1,900 square miles of the Grand Canyon and contains 277 miles of the Colorado River. Fun fact: it is populated by five Indian tribes: The Hopi, Navajo, Havasupai, Palute and Hualapai. Havasupai Falls, named after its namesake tribe, is one of the most popular hiking destinations of The Grand Canyon with its crystal clear blue waters and rumbling waterfalls that are sure to amaze.

Not only does the Grand Canyon offer one-of-a-kind sights, it is also home to a large range of outdoor activities that can appeal to outdoorsmen and city-slickers alike.  Feel like Grand Canyon Sunrisehiking? You’ve got tons of options depending on the length of your stay. You can take a few hours to enjoy the rim and Sky Walk, an entire day to explore some of the depths, or a few days to venture to the bottom and enjoy all of the Grand Canyon’s watering holes, Indian dwellings, animals, and ancient rock formations. On a multiple day excursion, you have the benefit of not only going on a beautiful and challenging hike, but also the chance to enjoy camping along the way. If you are more  of a day tripper, be sure to catch the sunrise or sunset. It’s life changing.

For all our kayakers, you can do some Colorado River kayaking that is 100% life changing. These guided tours are for advanced kayakers, however if you are a newbie and feeling a little wild, you can take a support raft to your destination. Kayak and rafting tours are available from local tour companies that offer a wide range of options for any trip you could dream of. Check out a few of these options and choose which touring company is the best fit for you.

Ultimately, The Grand Canyon is guaranteed to appease that need for adventure and the outdoors in one fail swoop. Hiking, camping, kayaking, shopping, photography, and the most beautiful sunset you can imagine are all waiting to be explored at one of America’s favorite outdoor travel destinations.


The Grand Canyon Lottery?

Source: National Park Service

Time is running out! It’s time to join the weighted lottery for a chance to win a permit to go down the Grand Canyon on a non-commercial raft, canoe or kayak river trip. The lottery is for 2013 and is open through February 22nd, 2012. The cost to get in the lottery is $25. If you are interested click here to sign up. Not familiar with this? Learn more here or check out their FAQs.

– Luke @ACK San Marcos

Hello Luke…Welcome to ACK San Marcos!

Luke Patranella, mapping it all out on the Grand Canyon

We’d like to take a quick moment to introduce Luke Patranella, ACK San Marcos Store Manager. Luke was born and raised in San Antonio, TX and attended school at Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches where he majored in business. Soon after graduating he moved to the mountains of Colorado where eventually he ended up with two great seasonal jobs. In the winter he worked at the Loveland Ski area in a sport shop and as a whitewater rafting guide during the summer months. He spent a total of five seasons as a commercial rafting guide along with kayaking on his free time in Colorado, Utah, Arizona and West Virginia so he is no stranger to whitewater.  Luke told us that the highlight of is career was paddling all 300 miles of the Grand Canyon, twice — first in 2009 and again in 2010. According to Luke, he is very happy to be back in Texas and working for Austin Canoe and Kayak — we are too.

If you get a chance, stop by the store to help us welcome him aboard or comment below. If you have any rafting or whitewater kayaking questions, he’s the man to ask!

Chris @ACK