Grand Canyon Rafting June 2014
We met in the Desert Rose Lobby at 5:00am to begin our journey to the Canyons shores. It started with a bus trip to the local airport and a flight (two planes) back to Lee’s Ferry where we picked up supplies (beer and wine), loaded our gear onto the rafts and were introduced to our guides. Our group (now at 14 people plus our two guides) took one raft, and we were teamed-up with a second raft to travel the week together, for safety purposes.
It soon became obvious that the trip was going to be characterized by “hot” weather (90 – 100 deg. F) and cold water (47 at the beginning to 53 at the end – deg. F)! Our first half-day on the water was minor rapids (Level 1’s) and “riffles”, and we all began to get comfortable with riding the raft and camping on shore. The next morning we rode our first real rapids (Levels 5-6) and everyone did well and was having a great time, alternating freezing (while wet) and roasting (while dry).
Our guides were R.D. and Grace, experienced Canyon Runners with a wide range of skills, training and college education. The provided us with safe maneuvering down the river, detailed information on the history and geology of the Canyon, gourmet meals, and anything else that we could possibly need. In short – they were amazing. Days were typically breakfast early and rafting all day, with shore stops for lunch and side-excursions. The side excursions were sometimes strenuous, but always exciting, and included exploring old caves and mines, hiking to ancient civilization’s granaries, swimming in side canyon’s rivers, streams and waterfalls, and a ½ day on the Little Colorado River. Evenings we put ashore, set up cots and sleeping bags for a comfortable night’s sleep and enjoyed typically amazing meals provided by our guides.
The Little Colorado is much warmer than the Colorado, and carries dissolved minerals that make it a turquoise blue. We hiked upstream to an area where we could swim and “slide” down the natural “sluice” created by the river – truly an amazing day.
The last couple of days of the week long trip saw the most adventurous of the rapids (Level 10’s). They shook and threw people around, but by this time, everyone was an old-hand at riding what the River could throw at them. The trip ended with a helicopter ride out of the Canyon (5-at-a-time) to the Bar-10 Ranch for a shower, lunch, and an air flight back to Las Vegas.
That night while cruising down the Vegas Strip, the excitement around us there seemed no match for the past 10 days that we had all experienced. Adventures with friends are always so much better, and this one delivered a highlight that rivals any of our others.