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Our guest as they come in prior to the rafting trip they arrive in on a fixed wing airplane out of Las Vegas which is great flight. You get a flight right inside the Grand Canyon on approach. You don’t get that unless you’re landing here. We’ll bring them up to the lodge and let them get some lunch. Then we’ll start with our activities of the day. One thing that we love to see in our guests is the excitement that they bring. They are ready to get into this adventure.
It’s neat to see the change that they have as they leave the hustle and bustle of work and life and come into such a contrast chain. It’s almost, you can say, a spiritual experience for them. They realize what nature can provide. It’s hard to put in words when you’re in nature and when you’re in such a remote area it puts life in perspective. It’s real rewarding to see people are so happy and feel at peace.
The stars out here are amazing. The Dark Sky Association just nominated this area as one of the few dark skies of the world.
We’ve been ranching, you know, for over 100 years. In the mid-to-late seventies, because of our proximity to the Grand Canyon we got to be affiliated with the river rafters that were doing the Colorado white water rafting trips. We started out taking supplies down to them on the mule trail. Then we started taking people in and out of the canyon and got into the business of facilitating river rafters.
My dad thought they rated the rapids down on the river one through ten so he decided to name the ranch Bar Ten Ranch. The Bar Ten Ranch really would not be here today if it weren’t for Western River Expeditions. As my father was starting to help some of these early day river rafters he could see an opportunity along with some of these rafting companies of an exchange point here in Whitmore Canyon where some people could end their trip and others could begin their trip. And it was Western River that was willing to go out on a limb and say, “Hey, we will market this and make it happen if you will build a lodge and have a facility here.”
Western River was the first company that had passengers come here and and spend the night here at the ranch. So, we really owe a lot to Western River Expeditions in that regard. As they really helped us get on our feet and bring us customers as we built the lodge and got that rolling.
You look back 20 years and a lot is the exact same and a lot has changed. I guess I would hope for the future it would kind of be the same way, that we continue to make improvements and changes to make it even better trip. But hopefully we don’t lose sight of what makes it so great in a lot of those things stay the same.
The seclusion of the area, the great guides, the interaction that we have with our guests and find a way to make it sustainable so we can pass that on to the next generation. I hope that my kids will also have a desire to be involved with the ranch and keep it going; as I did as I was a kid. What better place to do it than with the Grand Canyon as your backdrop.
Start your trip off with a stay at the historical Bar 10 Ranch. Gavin Heaton describes the experience for his guests at Bar 10 including horseback riding, skeet shooting, riding ATVs, and evening entertainment.