The best 10 things about rafting the Grand Canyon

The best 10 things about rafting the Grand Canyon

Pam LeBlanc enjoys the view from above Bass Camp in the Grand Canyon. Photo by Mollie Binion

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.

Mollie Binion watches as her son Peyton mans the oars during a rafting trip through the Grand Canyon. Pam LeBlanc photo

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

Jimmy Harvey rows through Crystal Rapid. Pam LeBlanc photo

Top 10 things about rafting the Grand Canyon

  1. Unplugging from technology.

Jimmy Harvey jumps into a pool in a side canyon of the Grand Canyon. Pam LeBlanc photo

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.

Peyton Manning, Steffen Saustrup and Jimmy Harvey play dominoes. Pam LeBlanc photo

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.

Charlie Riou blasts through Lava Rapid. Pam LeBlanc photo

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.

rafting the grand canyon

Mollie Binion mans the oars during a rafting trip through the Grand Canyon. Pam LeBlanc photo

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.

Mark Poindexter and Leslie Reuter mud wrestling on the banks of the Colorado River in the Rio Grande. Pam LeBlanc photo

10. Impromptu mud wrestling matches.


About Pam

I’m Pam LeBlanc. Follow my blog to keep up with the best in outdoor travel and adventure. Thanks for visiting my site.

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