Friday, December 7, 2012

As we wax our skis and pray for snow...Let not forget to apply for next years River Permits

Hello Everyone,

Well you can bet that we are all praying for snow here in Colorado!  Whether you're a rafting and skiing family like we are, or just a city slicker, we all know we need a big snow year.

I plan on waxing my skis this weekend (go here for a great YouTube on how to wax your own skis). I'm hoping for a nice year skiing China Bowl along with all the other wonderful mountain runs we have in Colorado.  We bought the Epic Local this year and sure hope to use it.

I was having lunch with another rafting dad and we started talking about what River Permits we are hoping to score for this upcoming year.  As many of you know, there are some rivers that are heavily regulated so you need a permit to float them.  These permits are obtained through a lottery system that have deadline dates, so you sure want to submit your application in time.  For some reason, my friend and I always forget the deadlines for submission, so I thought I'd post some of them here.

Lodore Canyon of the Green or Yampa Canyon in Dinosaur National Park is a yearly event for our family.   We always put in for a permit and tend get a ticket 1 out of 5 years.  When we don't get one, we grab a cancellation (more on how to do that this spring if we strike out again).   River Permits applications for Dinosaur National Monuments can be submitted from Nov 1 to February 1, 2013Here is a link to the permit.

Rio Charma  river in New Mexico is another great family float that needs a permit.  Go here for to learn about their permit system which also uses a lottery.  Permits for the Rio Charma must be received by Jan 31st.

Upper and Lower San Juan River is a great family float.  You can do upper and/or the lower.  Go here to see the permit information. Applications must be received by the Monticello River Office by February 1, 2013.

Middle Fork of the Salmon River in Idaho is a great river trip but a significant step up in difficulty.  I do not suggest this river for beginners or for families with children under 12 years of age.  Other people do it with younger children but I'm not suggesting it.  Go here to read about the permit process.  Applications are due by January 31, 2012.

Selway River in Idaho:  This is a wonderful family river trip (below Selway Falls) Lottery Applications for the Selway River launch dates (May 15-July 31) are accepted from December 1 until midnight Eastern time January 31. Permits are not required outside the control season on the Selway River.  Go here to read about Selway Permits.

Westwater Canyon of the Colorado River in Utah is a great trip.  I don't take young kids on this trip, but it's a great family float for older kids.  Go here to learn about Westwater permits.

Rouge River in Oregon is an amazing float.  Go here to begin the process of applying for a permit.  The lottery application period takes place from December 1 to January 31 each year.  This is a once in a lifetime river trip so good luck in the lottery!!!!

I'll be adding to this page as I have time.  Let's start planning our 2013 river trips!  Good luck getting permits!!!

Bill Strong of Denver on Family Rafting

Monday, November 12, 2012

Hi all,

Now that river season is over we will be focusing on family skiing.  Stay tuned to this blog for fun family ski ideas, deals and adventures!!! 

As many of you may know, in Colorado 5th and 6th grade school children get special passes and deals.  We've opted to have my daughter in the School of Shred, run by Vail Resorts.   I bought the Epic Local Pass to go along with my daughter's pass. 

Let's hope for some SNOW!!!!

Bill Strong on Family Skiing

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Westwater Canyon of the Colorado River in the Fall

Hi Family Rafters,

We just got back from running Westwater Canyon (which is west of Grand Junction right past the border into Utah) of the Colorado river and had a blast!!!  This wasn't a trip where we took kids so we were able to let loose a little bit on how we ran the rapids.  Good time were had by all.

Go here for my YouTube of the trip.  Please understand that I'm not all that great at YouTube, but you'll get an idea of what the scenery looks like.   What's so cool and unique about this canyon is the contrast between the red sandstone walls and the black Pre-Cambrian rock that you get into in the heart of the canyon.  I hope you enjoy the video.

Here is a map of the canyon: 

Here are some of the pics you'll see on YouTube.  And below is a great example of how you don't want to run Skull Rapid at this level.  Going left of the rock would have been a better idea.  Not having kids in the boat allows for a little bit more excitement!

Above is a good view of Skull Rapid and the "Room of Doom" on river right.  At this level (2500 CFS) you can easily enter into the Room of Doom and cruise around.  At higher levels it can be difficult to exit due to the circular flows.

More pics of Westwater in the fall.

A storm that came along as we were in the canyon.  

Holy smokes it moved in fast!  Luckily I was able to dock my raft in a little cave along the bank where I could wait out the storm.

More scenes from the float and a nice campsite:

The river polished Pre-Cambrian Rock is truly a sight to behold.

Indeed there's nothing like life on the river!

It's going to be long off season.  Let's hope for a lot of snow this year to fill our lakes, reservoirs and rivers!!!  Time to strap on the boards for some skiing.

Best regards,

Bill Strong of Denver on Family Rafting

Monday, October 15, 2012

A Special Thanks to Maravia!

Hi All!

I just got back from the river so this is just a quick post.  I wanted to give a shout to Chris Frazee of Maravia Rafts for helping out with my Families On The River program.  We had a chance to get the new raft out this weekend and ran Westwater Canyon of the Colorado River.  In this pic I'm about to take on Skull Rapid.  Westwater sure is beautiful this time of year!  I'll post more pics soon.

Thanks to Jan at Stitches' N Stuff for the Everything Bag and all the other drop bags.  Go here to see her fantastic and bomber products.


Thanks again Maravia Rafts!!!!

Bill Strong of Denver on Fun and Safe Family Rafting

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Family Therapy on a Raft!!!

Hi All,

Well we got back from Lodore and I've been meaning to post pics and recipe ideas.  Time has gotten away from us, so I've gotten behind on posting here.  The trip was wonderful, even though our boat was a bit over loaded.  It's certainly time for a 16' raft!  I'll post what I end up with and why.  The kids and families had a blast.   I'll post pics and an update soon.  Thanks to all of you who have submitted ideas for the River Cookbook, we will be getting to that as well.

The last two years of my rafting life has been interesting.  Besides starting this blog to encourage other families to look into rafting as a family recreation, I've been donating trips for school auctions, and have also take some clients on family raft trips.  We have also donated trips to cadets from the Air Force Academy, who were in need of break form the rigors of their training.  Because I'm a Family Therapist, watching how families and groups interact on the river is particularly of interest to me.  We donate all of our trips as a way to introduce the wonders and healing the river has to offer.

It's been a pleasure getting to know people as we float down the river.  Watching the "river discussions" between family members that would not take place in their home environment has been a blessing.  Talks on the bank of the river or around the fire at night have inspired us to offer more of these experiences to others!  The trip donations and other trips have gone so well I've decided to figure out a way to donate therapeutic float trips to in crisis families and other in-need groups, such as Foster Homes and lower income families.  I'll be posting more about this as time goes on.  I have all winter to put next year together.  We are hopeful that we can offer other families the healing experiences that the river offers.

The following companies have assisted our project by either donating gear or making their product affordable as we put this together.  Thank you so much.

Canyon Coolers
King Soopers
Middle Park Meat Co

Bill Strong of Denver on Family Rafting

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Bill Strong Denver River Recipes

Hi All!

I'm still working on river recipes.  Thanks for all the responses.

Here's some Dutch Over ideas from the fine folks at Mountain Buzz!

Thanks for Cataraft Girl and the rest for these yummy ideas!   And here's a few links for other Dutch Oven ideas.

The Recipe Ring

Pork Loin

All right!!!  Dump it all in and cook until pork is done.

Idea #2

Potatoes-Cubed, Sliced, Shreded, Your Preference.
Onions-Sliced, Diced, whatever
Salt n Peppah

Put it all in and let cook. Stir every now and again untill pork is done.

This is my favorite Dutch Oven dessert:

2 large cans of cherry pie filling
2 large cans of sliced peaches
1 yellow cake mix
1 can whipped cream

Strain the peaches, and use the juice to moisten the cake mix (if you do this in the cans, there will be fewer dishes).
Dump the peaches and cherry pie filling in the oven, spread the cake mix over the top.

Cook 30-40minutes I think.
Enjoy with cream squirted all over.


Ingredients: (6 servings)
½ pound bacon (or pre-cooked sausage)
1- medium onion
1- 2-pound bag of hash brown potatoes
½ pound grated cheddar
1 dozen eggs
Here you go:
The following requires 6-9 bottom coals and 12-15 top coals: Pre-heat Dutch oven. Slice bacon and onion into small pieces and brown in the bottom of the Dutch oven until onions are clear.
Stir in the hash brown potatoes and cover; remove cover and stir occasionally to brown and heat potatoes (15-20 minutes).
Scramble the eggs in a separate container and pour the mixture over the hash browns.
Cover and cook until eggs start to set. (10-15 minutes).

Awesome Dutch Oven Turkey & Rice Casserole
lb. bacon; 1/2" pieces
10 oz. cans cream of chicken soup
cups long grain white or wild rice
cups water
cups diced cooked turkey
tsp. dried parsley flakes
large yellow onion; diced
tsp. poultry seasoning
1 1/2
cup sliced mushrooms
tsp. paprika
cup chopped green bell pepper
salt and pepper to taste
cloves garlic; minced
cups grated cheddar cheese

Fry bacon in a 12" Dutch oven using 22-24 briquettes bottom heat until crisp. Add white or wild rice and continue cooking until rice is slightly toasted. Add turkey, onion, mushrooms, bell pepper, garlic, cream of chicken soup, water, and seasonings. Stir to mix completely. Bring contents to a boil then cover and bake for 60-90 minutes using 10-12 briquettes bottom and 14-16 briquettes top heat. When rice is tender sprinkle cheese over the top then replace lid and let stand for 5 minutes until cheese is melted.
Serves: 10-12
Cataraft Girl's Enchilada Casserole

1.5 lbs ground beef
Diced onion
1 cans enchilada sauce
1 can2 cream of mushroom soup
1 cans chopped green chilies
1 cans black beans
1 lb. shredded cheddar cheese
Tortilla chips - crushed.
Brown ground beef & onion
Add enchilada sauce, soup, chillies, beans
Alternate layers of chips, meat, and cheese, ending with
12 inch DO @ 350 degrees (whatever method you use to achieve that) for 30 - 45 min.
Serve with salsa & sour cream

I brown the ground beef and onion ahead of time at home and freeze it.

My kids still love this one:

chocolate cake mix
can of 7 up
cherry pie filling

Line DO with foil - dump everything in and cook. When your done throw the foil in the garbage and your done cleaning. They call it the cherry dump cake.

Chicken Pot Pie
1 bag Tyson diced chicken breasts
1 bag diced potatoes & onion
1 - 16oz. bag frozen mixed vegetables - thawed
2 - 10.5oz. cans cream of chicken soup
1/2 cup evaporated milk
Seasonings of choice - Mrs. Dash, garlic powder
Salt & pepper to taste
2 cans refrigerated biscuits

On stovetop, in 12 in. DO . Put chicken & potatoes in DO. Stir in vegetables, soup, evaporated milk, seasoning. Let mixture come to a low boil. Add water as needed if too thick. Cook until well heated. Place biscuits on top to cover.

8 - 10 coals on the bottom, 14 - 16 coals on top. Cook 25 - 30 minutes, until top is golden brown.

Cornbread Casserole
Chopped onion
7 oz. can diced green chilies
2 cans creamed corn - 14 oz.?
Marie Callender cornbread mix - use entire can
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 lb grated cheddar cheese

Saute onion & chilies in butter. Mix cornbread by pkg. directions. Add creamed corn, onion & green chilies, and cheese. Pour into a greased 12 inch DO. Swirl in the sour cream last. Bake @ 350 for
45 - 60 minutes.

For cobblers I like to use the Krusteaz cinnamon coffee cake mix as my topping. It's easy and tastes great. It comes with a packet of cinnimon sugar that you can sprinkle on your fruit filling if desired, or just sprinkle on top.

Drunk beef roast. (elk antelope moose what have you is ok too) Heat the oven with a good quarter inch deep pool of oil in it. on the stove is fine. Poke holes in the roast large enough to stuff a clove of garlic a green onion and a pepper.Long skinny red ones, slice off a jalapeno, whatever. 1 hole every inch or two. not so many the roast comes apart,but not so few no flavor is imparted to the meat. Mow off any onion greens that protrude. When the oil is about to start smokin, slide the roast in the pot, holes down. Let is sizzle till brown then flip it over. Add beverage of choice. A can of cheap beer, glass of wine,or? Let it cook to desired doneness. If needed relube with whatever beverage you started with. It,s better if you don't add liquid at the last, but don't let it go dry either. Drippings are wonderful.

The side dish is onion pie

Five or six large onions sliced thin and cooked down to golden brown. Mix a can of evaporated milk or a cup and a half of cream with and egg or two. Mix carmelized onion with milk & egg mixture. Salt pepper goram masala oinion powder what ever spices paddle your canoe. Top with pie crust or biscuits or bread slices or? Bake.

dessert is cobbler
One cup sugar
one cup milk
one cup flour
one TBS baking powder
(ya see a pattern here?)
Heat the oven, melt a half stick butter. Mix sugar flour and baking powder. Add milk. (if you got space, add an egg. Eggs will add loft though. Good at home, bad in a dutchie.) Pour the batter in onto the sizzling butter. Dump a can of fruit of choice on top of batter. Bake 20-30 minutes at about 350ish.

Okay let's start floating and cooking!!!!

Bill Strong of Denver on Family Rafting!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Bill Strong of Denver on Family Rafting

 Over look of Hell's Half Mile of Lodore Canyon

Hi All!

Thanks so much for those of you who have sent recipes for the river cookbook we are working on.  We will be posting your yummy ideas soon.  If you haven't signed up and sent you ideas yet, please do so.  Our contest is for fun, but you'll also have a shot at some neat prizes from NRS.

For now we are working on our menu for our upcoming trip down Lodore Canyon.

Because we have kids on this trip, we end up working a bit harder on the menu.  We want our kiddos happy and feeling great.   We picked up an ice cream maker from REI and will report on how well it works.  In the past we've used a 5 gallon bucket for ice cream, so we are looking forward to seeing how well this item works.

We were planning on using our dutch over on this trip, but the fire ban has put a kibosh on that idea.  If you've never used a dutch oven, go here to read about the tasty meals you can create.  We use ours for backcountry pizza, bread making and great stews.

Back with more soon!

And THANK YOU JAN at Stitches-n-Stuff for the awesome Everything Bag and Drop Bags!!!!  They are truly bomber!

Bill Strong of Denver on Fun Family Rafting!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Bill Strong Denver River Cookbook Contest

Hi All!!!

We are still working on our menu for our upcoming Lodore trip and have decided to publish our own river cookbook.   We'd like this to include as many tasty river meals as possible and would love your suggestions.

We'd like them so much that we've decided to start a contest.  We will send an assortment of NRS straps to the person who submits that best river meal suggestion.  We will also include as many suggestions in our cookbook as we can and will credit each submission to the originator.

Be it a great appetizer, dutch oven dish, grill idea or desert, let's see what you love to eat around while camping

So...just sign up as a member of on this blog and submit your suggestion!  We can't wait to hear what you love to eat on the river!

Bill Strong of Denver on Family Rafting

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Hi Rafters,

We are putting together our river trip down Lodore Canyon of the Green River in Dinosaur National Park.  I'll be posting here information about all the details of the trip.  I hope that doing so helps others as they get into the wonderful family activity of rafting.

One important issue on river trips is hygiene, particularly hand washing so that everyone remains healthy.  Here is a great thread on Mountain Buzz that explains the importance of hand washing.  It also gives ideas on the best hand washing stations.

I'll post more about the great hikes Lodore has to offer, including some of the amazing Indian pictographs.

We are planning our menu for this trip.  There will be 3 boats containing 3 different families. Like all trips, there are many ways to plan meals.  Sometimes it's easiest for everyone to "do their own things", and doing so does insure that you and your family are eating the type (and amount) of food that you enjoy.  River trips meals are much different than those of back-packing trips, as you can bring big coolers thereby allowing you to have as elaborate meals as you'd like.  Fresh produce, steaks, lobster and the like are easily cooked and served on the river.

A quick post about what the first night looks like:  Night #1 Grill Night!!! (in fire-pan) Antipasto as an appetizer, ribeye steaks from North Park Meat Co., grilled asparagus, seared scollops (from Tony's Market) and  creamy risotto, with Bajan Rum Cake for desert.  French toast and sausage for the next morning's breakfast.   Yum yum!  Night #2...who knows but it better be good Bryan!  (I'll post what his selection later).  Night #3, who knows but it better be good Chris!  And night #4...Lobster Night with coconut rice!  A quick breakfast for the last morning as we have to get on the river early.  We will serve bagels, lox and cream cheese.

I'll be posting more about specific meals later on this blog.  For now, I'll share what works for us.  Once you get to know the people you are rafting with, you'll find your comfort level on whether you share meals or not.  Sharing meals can be fun and it also gives you a break when it's not your night/breakfast to serve.  We like to eat lunch on the boat, or on the shore, so each lunch is taken care of by each boat.  So all we have to coordinate is Dinner/Breakfast.  This year on the San Juan, we came up with a plan that each boat takes care of a Dinner, and then the following breakfast.  That way, when it's not your meal, you don't even have to unload anything other than your plate etc.  The team that serves the meal, also cleans up, so you truly have a night and morning off when you're not up.

Although it's some work when it's your turn, it's fun to cook for the group.

I'll post more soon.

Happy Floating!

Bill Strong of Denver