Rafting the Grand Canyon means big water, scenery that scrolls past like the backdrop of an exotic movie, never-ending geology lessons, and, if you do it right, plenty of fun.
I just returned from Arizona, where I backpacked from the South Rim to the Colorado River to meet a passing group of friends who were doing what’s called a “painless private” trip. They hired outfitter PRO (Professional River Outfitters) to provide 18-foot rubber rafts, a kitchen set-up, a groover (essentially an ammo can with a toilet seat attached for human waste), dry bags and food for the three-week trip.
I jumped on for the final two weeks of the adventure. We supplied our manpower and camping gear, and did our own rigging, rowing, loading and unloading, and cooking.
Here are my favorite things about the trip. Look for a complete story soon in Austin Travels Magazine at www.austintravels.com.
Top 10 things about rafting the Grand Canyon
- Unplugging from technology.
2. Hiking up slot canyons, through streams and into magical pools of water. We even made a “butt dam” in one narrow rivulet – lining up bottom to bottom to back up the water for a few minutes, then standing up to watch the mini flash flood we’d created.
3. Playing dominoes on a sandy beach at the end of a fine day of rafting.
4. Reading “Robinson Crusoe.”
5. Taking the oars for short stretches and trying to figure out how to make the raft go where I wanted.
6. Sipping bourbon and watching shooting stars with some of my favorite people every night.
7. Sleeping in a tent, in one of the prettiest places on the planet.
8. Eating amazing meals – burgers, curry, pasta, quesadillas – cooked in our portable kitchen.
9. Blasting through some of the biggest rapids I’ve ever seen, and only getting tossed out of the boat once.
10. Impromptu mud wrestling matches.