Shoulder Seasons

The demand for permitted river trips is pushing paddlers to the margins

Photo by Maxi Kniewasser

Photo by Maxi Kniewasser

By Jeff Moag/Dave Shively

0.0749 percent: Chance of securing a Grand Canyon permit for Sept. 17, 2014.
100 percent: Chance of securing a permit on any of nine days in December, 2014

As peak demand for permitted river trips continues to grow, more boaters will get wise to shoulder seasons. Spotty flows, shorter days, the occasional blizzard: The same factors that keep the masses away have a certain appeal to the well-equipped optimist. A new breed of crossover kayaks (see our review on p. 52) is equally at home on the flats and moderate whitewater, and will carry a week's worth of gear with ease. Add drysuits cut from new miracle fabrics, waterproof-down sleeping bags, even dehydrated beer. Off-season river trips will be easier and more comfortable.

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