- Mindful Adventure
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We are honored to be able to offer visitors to the Navajo Nation a truly special backcountry experience. This native guided backpacking trip down a section of Chinle Wash canyon to its confluence with the San Juan River is a true gem of Southeastern Utah. The Chinle Wash guided backpacking trip is 2 days of trekking down the canyon and 2 days of San Juan River rafting from the confluence to the Mexican Hat boat ramp (or Clay Hills boat ramp depending on your group’s desired river run and end date).
We provide you with a glimpse into a living museum that’s to be treated with the highest level of stewardship and respect. This is the reason the hiking trip is kept small in size (10 people max), with flexible date options to provide an intimate group dynamic that’s less intrusive on the fragile environment.
Prices for this hike includes all fees and food for your adventure. Bring your pack and let Native guides share with you a unique backcountry cultural experience. Backpack-minded meals tailored to your likes will be on the menu until you reach the confluence. At the confluence, our guides will be ready to prepare whatever it is you crave most. Upon booking, you will coordinate with the outfitter to plan your ideal backcountry menu.
A note from the outfitter:
Chinle Wash is one of the many side canyons that converges with the San Juan River. The area that surrounds Chinle Wash, is a fragile living museum that offers guests a rare glimpse into the past. That glimpse is as grand as the 150 to 310 million old rocks that make the canyon walls and as delicate as the cryptobiotic soil that holds the sands together making vegetation in the harsh desert possible. It’s as awe inspiring as a Pueblo cliff dwelling and as clear as the Canyon Wren. Enjoy your hike, ask questions, visit with respect, leave nothing but footprints and take nothing but pictures. We adhere to Leave No Trace Ethics: simply put, you pack it in, you pack it out!
This hike is remote, and we ask that visitors be prepared for the challenges backpacking in a desert environment could and most often will present. This guided backpacking trip offers guests the privilege of being able to walk among ancient pueblo ruins, and take in the petroglyphs and pictographs left behind. The geology and beauty of the hike is nothing less than breathtaking and leaves your eyes little time to rest!
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What do we mean by “mindful adventure” travel?
Sometimes, stresses of life and work can cause burnout, and we find ourselves off-center. Our multi-day, guided active trips are a perfect way to recalibrate, utilizing adventurous and mindful experiences in the outdoors. It is our mission to provide you the tools to attain, and maintain, a recalibrated mindset.
Our approach to mindfulness — and ultimately what we mean when we say — “mindful adventure” travel is this:
- Recal Journal. This important element actually begins before the trip itself; as soon as you sign up, you will be sent a Recal Journal. The journal has everything you need to begin your journey toward a recalibrated mindset: prompts for mindful and intentional living, daily highlights, lowlights, reflections, a gratefulness practice, and more.
- Mindful Adventure Fitness. If you live in a city where we conduct our in-person ‘Mindful Adventure Fitness’ classes, you can attend a session to practice your meditation, breathwork, and improve your fitness level leading up to your trip.
- Recal Journal. The trip itself provides the perfect mindspace and environment, immersed in nature, to be present and able to put thoughts and reflections on paper. Our Recal Journal is the perfect tool for this.
- Meditation. Your Recal guide leads meditations; the outdoor and unplugged nature of the trip enables you to dive more deeply into this mindfulness practice (even if you are new to meditation)
- Breathwork. In addition to meditation, there are also guided breathing exercises that are immensely helpful to center yourself and dive more deeply into being present.
- Yoga. The adventure elements of your trip (whether that is paddling, biking, or hiking) aren’t the only physical challenges. Depending on your trip itinerary, yoga will be incorporated. The practice is a flow more akin to recovery and flexibility, as opposed to a power flow, so it is a perfect complement to the physical nature of the trip.
- Unguided Mindfulness. In addition to the guided elements, we also set aside time in your trip itinerary to explore mindfulness on your own — whether that is a walking meditation, solo sit, silent hike, time to read, additional journaling, or any other activity.
- Recal Journal. Journaling doesn’t have to end with the trip; we created the journal specifically as an ongoing tool for mindful and intentional living. There is also an option to receive automatic replenishment of the refillable pages of the journal.
- Mindful Adventure Fitness. The core mission of Recal is to provide you with the tools to attain, and maintain, a recalibrated mindset so you are equipped to navigate all of life’s stressors and challenges. If you live in a city where we conduct in-person classes, consider attending a ‘Mindful Adventure Fitness’ class. And if you aren’t, consider following our content for information on workouts so you can ‘do it yourself.’
To summarize, the three core principles of mindful adventure travel are:
You can read more about our approach to mindful adventure travel on our About Us page.
Backpacking the Chinle Wash Canyon at San Juan River
Two days hiking down Chinle Wash to its confluence with the San Juan River. Hikers will enjoy two unforgettable nights camping under the stars and between the canyon walls of Chinle Wash. The Native guides are happy to share their culture with you and truly appreciate and connect with the environment that surrounds you.
The backpacking portion of the trip concludes at the confluence with the San Juan River. From that point, river guides will take over. Hikers will hand packs over to eager guides to gear up for a big day of boating -- one that will allow us to make it to Pourover Camp at river mile 23. Four Foot, Eight Foot and Ledge Rapids will provide whitewater boating fun, and big horn sheep will keep your eyes on the cliffs that tower above.
Today, we will boat 12 miles and cut through the Raplee Anticline to the Cedar Mesa Sandstone. A fossil stop will allow guests to view the 250 million year old remains of the local sea life. Fossils include Spirifer and Composite Brachiopods, twig shaped and Lacy bryozoan and crinoids measuring up to five feet long.
Miles Explored: 12+ river miles, including short walks from the river to view fossils.
Today is our last day! A short ~4 miles of river-running will bring us to the Mexican Hat Boat Ramp before lunch (if you elected for this service, your personal vehicles will be waiting for you at the ramp). If your travel plans allow, guides can provide suggested hikes and trails to make for a great last day in the Navajo nation.
Miles Explored, ~4 river miles
Duration: off the river before lunch. Lunch can be provided at the Mexican Hat Boat Ramp if needed.
- all food, deliciously prepared to your tastes and preferences. Upon booking, you will coordinate with the outfitter to plan your ideal backcountry menu
- Native, highly-experienced guides that will share with you a unique backcountry cultural experience.
- all fees
We have the Native guides and food covered, but you must bring your own pack and personal supplies. A suggested packing list and other information will be provided by our outfitter partner before the trip!
Pricing NameStartEndGroup (Min-Max)Pricing
The night before Day 1 of your trip, you will have a guide “Meet and Greet” at the Recapture Lodge in Bluff Utah, and they'll show you how to use your dry bags, address any concerns and provide a basic run down of how your trip will proceed.
Note, if the location of the meetup changes due to pandemic restrictions in the Navajo nation, the outfitter will contact you.
For this specific trip, the outfitter will provide you with a packlist of all the items you should consider packing.
We do not provide travel to the start location for any of our Recal trips. We feel that everyone has transportation preferences, alt-travel options for work, or even points to use on their credit card, so we choose not to mandate any particular type of travel.
If you have any questions or require help booking travel, feel free to ask us!
NOTE: some trips have 'intra-trip' transportation needs (i.e. traveling from attraction to attraction or from rafting take-out to canyoneering site, etc.). The trip outline and details will specify if this included in the trip price.
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