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Bad Experience with Canyon Explorations

Mendocino, CA
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4 posts
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Bad Experience with Canyon Explorations

I had a bad experience with Canyon Explorations (Can-X). They misrepresented the trip and did not do a good job of managing the trip.

I booked a 16-day, once in a lifetime, "hiker's special" with Canyon Explorations. I chose Canyon Exploration (Can-X) because I was told we would hike "4 to 5 hours" each day, and hiking the side canyons was my main interest. The trip started April 16, 2011.

In actuality, we seldom hiked more than 1 or 2 hours in a day, and many days had only short, 30 minute hikes (with stops at the end for discussion or hanging out that consumed considerably more time). There was only one canyon hike that extended more than a short distance.

When I realized that longer hikes were not occurring, I discussed this with the trip leader; but no changes were forthcoming.

Upon returning, I wrote to the company. Their owner was defensive and non-responsive. "Most rafters love their trips." When I told him that the trip was mis-represented, he said that many factors affect how much hiking occurs.

The misrepresentation of hiking was my main concern, but there were numerous other disappointments and management failures.

* Time and again, we would get started later than other groups on the river, or stop for short hikes and lunch during the day; so that we were late in the afternoon looking for camping sites. Invariably sites that were at the entrances of canyons would be already occupied by the time we arrived

* Staff socialized and drank together upon arriving, rather than providing food and companionship with the group.

Typically, after all of the bags and equipment were off-loaded, the staff would gather together on their rafts and begin drinking. Generally, at least an hour would go by before appetizers would appear. In one instance it was several hours.

* Alcohol consumption by most (but not all) of the guides was, in my mind, excessive for staff whose primary responsibilities should have been the clients’ comfort and well being.

Not only beer but considerable hard liquor was routinely consumed. One night, one of the staff got so drunk they could barely stand up. This was an exception, but it is indicative of a permissive attitude toward alcohol.

* The leader did not have good leadership skills. To cite one example:

On the first day, the leader said that everyone should help unload the boats before looking for camping sites. Not everyone followed this instruction, though many did. On the next day, he again asked, but with no real force. Over time, more and more people immediately raced to claim camping sites. This led to hard feeling among those who wanted to help and follow the rules. Eventually, helping first broke down completely, with those ashore first scrambling off immediately to secure the “best” site.

I would not recommend this firm for a Grand Canyon trip. Their are many other firms that receive uniformly high marks. Choose one of those.

tucson az
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for Tucson, Arizona, Northern Mexico
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1. Re: Bad Experience with Canyon Explorations

Sorry that you had a bad experience. The best place for this is in the reviews under Things to Do.

tripadvisor.com/Attractions-g143028-Activiti…

To get started, go here:

http://www.tripadvisor.com/UserReview

You can copy and paste from your existing post (hint: open 2 browser windows to TA).

Edited: 4:56 pm, June 13, 2011
Ann Arbor, Michigan
Destination Expert
for Grand Canyon National Park
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15 reviews
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2. Re: Bad Experience with Canyon Explorations

I really appreciate you posting your review and I'm alarmed to read about the guides drinking to such an extent that it was obviously noticed by one of their clients. Even if the guides felt that their judgement or the clients' safety wasn't affected, it seems downright unprofessional. There was an incident a few years ago where a guide rescued a rafter who had fallen in the river in the middle of the night, so it does matter.

Ann Arbor, Michigan
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for Grand Canyon National Park
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3. Re: Bad Experience with Canyon Explorations

By the way, can you tell us about some of the hikes you did get to do?

Sedona, AZ
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for Sedona, Arizona, Monument Valley
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4. Re: Bad Experience with Canyon Explorations

Your "one example" could be an indication of why you had a lousy time, and why the crew did less for you. They often gauge their trip plan based on an evaluation of all the passengers in the first couple of days. The group's failure to cooperate and bond on day one and two probably set the tone for the rest of the trip. I'm not making excuses. Just saying...

5. Re: Bad Experience with Canyon Explorations

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Sydney
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79 posts
7 reviews
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6. Re: Bad Experience with Canyon Explorations

Thanks for that review i have just been looking at their website but I will stay away for sure

Thanks again

TUCSON
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1,612 posts
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7. Re: Bad Experience with Canyon Explorations

I would also report this to the BBB

Daly City...
7 posts
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8. Re: Bad Experience with Canyon Explorations

Sorry to hear that you had such a bad experience. I guess it comes down to which guides you get because I just got back from the June 11, 2011 all-paddle trip with CanX and it was wonderful beyond description.

Since it was a shorter (13 days to Diamond Creek) summer (not the best hiking weather) trip, we didn't do many long hikes, either, but it was enough for me personally. Matt was our trip leader and he and the rest of the crew did an excellent job of keeping us safe, entertained, and as comfortable as possible in the extreme environment of the inner canyon. It was hot during our trip, but Matt was very good about selecting campsites and timing things so that we would usually pull into camp shortly before the entire site fell into shade. There were people with special needs on our trip and the crew did an amazing job of accommodating everyone's needs with grace, discretion, and good humor. There were differences between the upper half and lower half participants in terms of abilities and interests--it seemed to me that the itinerary was adjusted to suit each group.

Maybe because I did the trip solo, it seems weird to me that everyone in your group was racing to claim the "best" campsites. Were people blocking river access with the placement of their campsites? I actually fell into the habit of waiting until I kind of saw where everyone else would be before selecting my site, so it's a bit difficult for me to conceive of why there would be competition for sites. Maybe that's just because we were always at great camps with plenty of room.

Anyway, I had a great trip with Canyon Explorations/Expeditions. The trip was not exactly what I had expected, but it was exciting, enriching, magical. The CanX crew was amazing and I'm so glad that I got to experience the canyon with them and with the rest of the participants. The crew on our trip was Matt Biddle (trip leader & paddle boat captain), Ariana Lowe (paddle boat captain), Eric Baade (paddle boat captain), Alexis (head cook), Paulie, Kelly, and Kiki. I wouldn't hesitate to go on another trip with them.

Not saying this had anything to do with the original poster's experience, but for others signing up for a Grand Canyon rafting trip with any company, I would encourage you to try not to have your heart set on specific expectations like going on a 4-5 hour hike every day. There will be many factors outside of your control--weather and other environmental conditions, other groups on the river, the other guests on your trip, unexpected problems, etc. I think if you go into it with a positive attitude and an open mind, you'll increase your chances of having a positive experience.

Redwood City, CA
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9. Re: Bad Experience with Canyon Explorations

Is there a spot on TripAdvisor which review the individual rafting companies? I haven't been able to find specific info on each organization.

tucson az
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for Tucson, Arizona, Northern Mexico
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10. Re: Bad Experience with Canyon Explorations

There is not a place in TA where the individual rafting companies are reviewed. Most recommended here has been River & Oceans, a Flagstaff company which books the trips. they are not the actual providers but a booking agency. rivers-oceans.com/rafting_grandcanyon.htm

Also see this thread: tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g143028-i157-k4378…

Edited: 1:29 pm, June 30, 2011