We're heading west today with a family from North C. They'll raft and camp and witnes firsthand how a changing climate is affecting one of America's great rivers.
Welcome to Windows to the Wild.
I'm Willem Lange.
The Davidson family of North Conway returned recently from a trip on the Colorado Rive.
They filmed the spectacular jour and we're going to get a look at some of their adventures toda.
But first, we're going to take a little rafting trip ourselves on the Androscoggin River and around New Hampshire with, of course, the Davidson's Carter, Sara and Annie.
What could be better?
Oops and Keeky, How is Keeky doing this?
A little nervous.
It's like dad what did you get m. It would take a little while lon to make her a water dog.
We're on the Androscoggin River.
It flows from Lake of Magog in E New Hampshire, to the coast of M. And Mary meeting Bay, total distance, about 169 miles.
We'll ride a raft and kayak along a small section of the riv.
At some point, we'll pull ashore and take you west to the mighty Colorado River.
Outdoors is really important, you guys, as a family?
I mean, why?
The outdoors has formed a connec for our family of four, but it's a greater connection to our and to nature itself.
And we all feel at peace when we're outside.
We all feel at peace right now.
Feet are in the water and no bla and no black flies at the moment.
The Androscoggin runs all through the human history of the Northeast.
It was a water route and food so for indigenous peoples at that t. It was also home to Atlantic sal.
Centuries later, dams went up and the salmon disa.
The river was transformed into an artery of Ne industry.
Textile and paper mills.
More than 100 dams still span th now mainly for recreation, power control.
Androscoggin is a popular destin for anglers and people who like to play outd.
The Davidsons spend time together on the river and they hike the mountains that surround it.
We're a big hiking family as well, and Addie completed her 4000 footers before she turned ten.
And on every summit someone woul.
Oh, you're out here hiking.
Are you going to make it to the or This is so great that you're hiking.
And, you know, I think children are continuously underestimated and their potential in their cap.
So more exposure and to the outd is where it needs to be for this next generation.
They need to feel connected in order to be stewards.
And we have to remember to get them outside.
We return to the Androscoggin a.
Right now we head west.
The idea of an 18 day descent of the Colorado River came to Sarah and Carter years before they were a family.
That permit was over 20 years ag when the first entry to the permit was placed.
I've known Sarah for about 20 ye and that permit was placed for the first time long before I.
So she's really the one that should be answering.
I was a raft guide in Maine on the back river right out of h and fell in love with the waters put in a permit to go on the Gra when I was 19, thinking that I would be going soon after in my early twenties and I.
And finally made it down the riv.
And now I have married and have two wonderful children that also love the outdoors.
So they were invited on this permit that we had 16 pe.
It is a perfect example of bette than never.
As it turns out, the timing is p. It's an opportunity for Sarah an to include their children on a t where they can learn about thems and a new environment.
It's a first time in the Grand C and it's pretty cool.
Never seen anything like it.
Never been to the desert.
Never been far.
This far away from North Conway.
It's pretty cool.
The outdoors, I think, is special for the Davi for a number of reasons.
There's something to be said about the j right from leaving the driveway and getting to whichever destina.
The road that that we take is ju.
I think, so special.
The experiences are so special.
It's sort of hard not to love.
It may maybe on a river or be on a mountaintop.
And certainly our trip to Arizon and on the Colorado.
River was more than special because completely foreign type to me coming from New Hampshire and covered in green, for exampl.
A lot of it for me, I think is the journey.
The river trip begins just below the Glen Canyon Dam.
At Lee's Ferry, Arizona.
To complete the journey, the family will navigate the wat to Diamond Creek, Arizona.
225 miles downstream.
I am feeling great, man.
It doesn't get much better than.
They are not alone.
A group of friends joins them.
Okay, We're heading to scout Han rapid approach to the bigger rap so we stop as a group.
Joe Clementovich also made the t to Colorado with the Davidsons.
He's a New Hampshire photographe.
He and Miles will film the journ.
Nice way to cap it off.
Carter, way to roll through that.
Why are you guys here?
We're here in the Grand Canyon, to run the Colorado River.
I think one part for the white w. I think one part for the adventu of being on a long trip.
And when I say stow the ores you drop right down by your knee I'm thinking of this as a camping and hiking trip with rapids in b.
We're covering 225 miles.
25 of those are going to be intense Wh which I think we're all excited.
But we're also excited to get ou and enjoy the hikes and see the different venues as well.
Just one on the left.
One on the left.
Flow stow them.
And have in places like this ava right.
And we're just at the put in rig.
Okay, Whatever else.
Grand Canyon is just unbelievabl.
And I think the importance of having access to these beautiful parks.
I mean, it's it's in there.
It sits right here, you know, Don't get wet.
You're doing great.
This is zen.
Don't let the big rapids fool yo.
The Colorado River is in trouble.
Prolonged drought and demands on its precious reso have left it parched.
Several years ago, we flew with the conservation gr over the lower section of the ri water was in short supply then.
It is being diverted from the river to grow food and to support about 15 million.
The Davidsons will experience this lifeline up for the first time just past mile 117.
Back there at 117 was LS Charles which was a beautiful little lit I guess you could call.
And I think the formal name of the terrific creek is Ro.
The water, I think, was a little cooler tha the Colorado River water, which is the first time.
I think we felt that all of the other tributaries that we've seen so far, which there's hasn't been many.
I'd say maybe five or six.
They've been warm or on the warm side.
A lot of these canyons coming out of them are pretty dr. And we're in spring.
We're in spring.
I mean, we get a little bit of r a couple, three nights ago, mayb but just enough breakfast to mak to put on a shell or a splash to.
Then the skies parted and with a decent weather run throug.
And I think it was.
But not a lot of rain.
A lot of wind and pretty dry.
90% of the river's flow originates in the upper basin north of Lee's Ferry where the rafters put in.
Scheduled water releases from th Canyon Dam produced what's known or flows on the river, according to the Nature Conserva.
The average flow on the Colorado River has declined 20% since 2000.
It's good to stop at Phantom Ran we were able to chat with the Ra and get a flow.
It's been running low tide at se.
High tide at ten.
Just looking at the shoreline.
R. It hasn't seen over ten grand.
And I don't know how long, certa since we've been on the trip.
Hasn't been over ten.
And I would guess that we'd have go back and look which the data.
I don't think it's seen much more than ten in the past m. And this is a typical time where we'd be getting snow in the mountains melt.
And because of the reservoirs ar they're probably just filling up as much as they can.
That's how I understand it.
Yeah Powell and Mead are drastically.
When we arrived, you could tell what had changed in the 20 years that we put our in we've been researching water and water levels to figure out what we were in st. And anticipated Trend was 17,000 cubic feet per.
And when we got there in April, it was trending more towards 7 t and that's just what's going on in our environment with global w and that the changes that's occu.
Now, the Colorado's got a lot of but they are so much for flood control as they are for irrigati and power, right?
So our put in was at least very so just below Glen Canyon Dam.
On the empowerment there is Lake which was at a record low last y and leading up into our put on d back in April record low.
So seeing that perspective and then coming back here and ru you know, the rivers here and New Hampshire and Maine and are also trending lower has just opened up conversations as a family of how we can become better acti and educate ourselves and how we can make simple chang so that in 20 years, when my kids want to take us dow the Grand Canyon, we'll still have enough water to.
Well, for example, what can we do righ.
That is a great question.
I've got a lot of more.
So we've been talking as a famil as simple measures that we can t. And Addie and Miles has been learning in s through their outdoor education what they can be doing.
But we're riding bicycles more.
We're limiting our water usage a.
We're just being mindful of where we're going and trying to stay more local and have local adventures to, you know, lower the impact of our travel and fuel costs and, you know, trying to find ad close to home that still have a significa.
And then just continuing to lear and have conversations and share that knowledge with ot.
And I think it's important to to to just be an advocate and a.
And and it's sort of that simple.
At least it is in my mind that the respect that you give nature, be it a river or a mount you know, it needs it needs an a if I can say it that way sometim.
And I would love nothing more than our children to to be right that to be exactly t. Once the sun disappears beyond the canyon walls, the rafts and kayaks pull and the group settles in for the it's where they eat and sleep.
How'd you start your day today?
On the other side of.
I started my day white knuckled.
I actually started my day waitin until the day before.
I only stayed overnight at above.
And I got to listen to the roar of the river all night, which just made the butterflies.
And fast forward to a little bef it was grip and grin.
Let's go for it.
And had a great partner along the way with Sarah giving directions.
Hold on, guys.
Miles, give her some space.
Don't mess with that.
Addie hold on a moment.
Day 14 of our 18 day river trip.
And today, today's a big day.
This is going to be our lava run, which is the large rapid on the Grand Canyon.
How do you how do you feel about I'm nervous.
Did you have a good day yesterda.
How many miles did we get I.
It's one thing to get the boat d through.
It's totally different scenario with a ten year old and a 12 yea.
And they're your daughter and so.
It makes you think long and hard about every move that you make.
Even though the water level on t is lower than normal, it can still play tricks on raft and kayaks.
Carter and Sarah aren't taking c. They send Adeline and Miles to s to hike those sections rather than risk dangerous rapid.
And how are they about being in that decision to not be on the boat?
They seemed okay with it, but we have had a ton of conversations with them long before this trip started.
Just about the reality.
I get the vibe that they got it and they certainly sensed my nervousness or the stress of run.
So I think they understood.
After 18 days on the Colorado Ri.
The journey ends.
There were Adventure Time togeth as a family and experiences they bring home to New Hampshire.
You know, what was surprising wa we were noticed as having four children under the age of 13 along the wa.
You know, and it was sort of a pleasant su in that, you know, we just sort got the vibe that not a lot of c participate on this type of a trip or advent.
And, you know, out Addie at ten Miles at 12 Carter at 12 Harper at 13, and nothing better, I think, than than to have them in the crew working every day.
Yeah, you bet.
Yeah, This is Addy.
She's setting up for her first r. Yeah.
If you're going to give advice to people taking kids on a river like the Colorado, the green, the snake, what would.
You know, I think with trips of this calib there's a lot of planning that goes ahead of the trip itse.
And kids have a great opportunit to participate right from the fr in terms of itineraries and pack and preparation and food pack.
And I think making them children as much as you can from the beginning is huge.
And then with a permit like this you have a couple of years to pr before your launch date.
So that's where all the micro ad come in at home just to try out new gear and gain confidence on you know, part of the outdoors y exploring whether it's water or and just being as dialed as you and comfortable with each other and having a plan A, B, and C every time you go out with kids and plenty of snacks.
No injuries on the river.
While we were paddling our rafti we had one slip and fall during a side hike onto a cactus where we had in the hands that impacting padd and one some hammer injury, you know, with the stakes.
But as far as an adventure of this s goes, I would say that we had minimal injuries.
We end the story back where we s on the Androscoggin River.
But first, a tribute to a journe by a family.
It's read by Adeline and Miles Davidson.
An adventure of this magnitude is difficult to explain.
Every minute of this 18 days flooded our senses.
We learned to live in the moment rapid to rapid campsite, to camp to embrace the beauty of nature and the importance of teamwork with new and old friends.
For that, we are grateful for the flow of that the river provides.
Well, as you can see, we've survived the perilous rapi.
We're safe at the foot and we're I guess, disperse and go to our respective homes, but not without saying goodbye.
And thank you, Addie and Sarah and Carter and Miles.
It's just been a wonderful family to be with.
I wish I could have been in the with you.
Oh, but someday.
We have to say goodbye to you al.
And so we shall.
I'm Willem Lang.
And I hope to see you again on windows to the wild.
Support for the production of Windows to is provided by the Alice J.
Charitable Trust, Bailey Charitable Foundat.
And viewers like you.
Make a gift to the wild and supp the William Lang Endowment Fund.
Established by a friend of New H PBS to learn how you can keep environmental nature and outdoor programing possible for years to.
Call our development team at 603.
The spirit of travel through the Grand Canyon got a turbo in the back, and turbo in the front