Solar Powered – Colorado Whitewater River Rafting
By John Wood
4,000 Watts, 8,000 Kilowatt Hours, and over half of our annual Green River operation center’s total power use is being harvested quietly off the roof. As a kid in science class one of the first things I remember learning about was the POWER of the sun. The numbers like those above didn’t sink in much, but the idea that the sun was the primary force driving our world did. Harvesting the sun off the warehouse roof to make ice for a week-long rafting trip down the Colorado River is just one of the many ways our expeditions rely on the original sustainable energy source.
By never using motors on our trips we tap into the solar driven weather cycle. Each winter it delivers snow high into the Colorado Rockies and then at the sun’s beck and call the snow comes flowing down the tributaries of the Colorado River. We just have to show up with oars and paddles and ride that life force through some of the most magical landscapes on the globe.
It looks like our culture has taken the wrong ‘energy’ trail in the recent past. We forgot those early science lessons and have temporarily become enchanted with the burning of carbon fuels. Eighty years ago in a conversation with Henry Ford, the inventor of the light bulb Thomas Edison said,
“We are like tenant farmers chopping down the fence around our house for fuel when we should be using Natures inexhaustible sources of energy — sun, wind and tide. … I’d put my money on the sun and solar energy. What a source of power! I hope we don’t have to wait until oil and coal run out before we tackle that.”
At Holiday River Expeditions we are not waiting. By the time the power companies and politicians provide an answer the natural wonders of the Colorado Plateau that we are lucky enough to visit and share with our guests will be have been ruined.