Warriors on Cataract Canyon is a nonprofit that takes our Wounded Warriors, disabled veterans, on multi-day whitewater raft trips on the Colorado River through Canyonlands National Park, Moab to Lake Powell. 2017 was our seventh year running these raft trips, 22 trips to date. These trips are conducted by licensed commercial operators and are free of cost to the veterans. We can accommodate most any level of disability, including wheel chairs, service dogs, severe PTS and TBI, MST, burns, blindness, multiple amputations.
These four day whitewater trips appear to offer most of what is effective in an environment for recovery and reintegration: beauty and relaxing peace, hiking, large rapids (combat soldiers are adrenaline junkies), much campfire time, and camaraderie. We also offer yoga and mindfulness for those that wish to participate.
One of the veterans related, “For those that have been there, there is no need to explain. For those that have not been there, there is no way to explain.” Many tell us the trip has been life-changing. Some tell us they have weaned themselves of substance abuse, a ubiquitous symptom of military experience and lack of enough support upon returning home. Some have thanked us for saving their lives. VA Therapists tell us that some have been taken off High Risk Suicide Watch after the raft trips. The therapists also tell us that these soldiers are the best healers among themselves. We sense that these raft trip adventures are making a very positive difference through the supportive bonds that are created.
Perhaps the healing of soldiers by each other is well said by Lt. General Bernard Trainor (Korea, Viet Nam), “But as earlier generations know, often the best medicine for bruised bodies and psyches is communion with those who have supped from the same bitter cup. From the dawn of civilization, hunters and warriors shared danger in packs. Through the ages, comrades have sustained each other through the heat of battle. Comrades play the same role when the war is done.”