Monday, July 15, 2019

Rafting on the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon

When Major John Wesley Powell’s curiosity led to his 1869 expedition down the Colorado River as it flows through the Grand Canyon, he was an experienced explorer. When I decided to follow his path, I was clueless about what the adventure would entail.
A visit to the Grand Canyon’s South Rim many years ago left me fascinated with its natural beauty and magnificence.  I vowed to return and traverse the Colorado River from the depths of the canyon, to see the massive walls from the bottom up instead of top down.

But I didn’t know a thing about camping.
Amazing colors indicate archeological activity millions of years ago.
Still I was determined to try. So Larry and I embarked on a 225-mile raft trip from Lee’s Ferry to Diamond Creek, Arizona.  I couldn’t resist the challenge—and I was willing to travel out of my comfort zone for the experience.

Hiking could be challenging, but it was a great way to explore land in the canyon.

 For 10 days my companions and I camped on the banks of the dam-fed river, hiked on narrow ledges and scrambled over jagged rocks, splashed through 160 rapids, bathed in 45 degree water (or  held-out for frolicking in waterfalls), and brushed away blowing sand.

Beautiful reflections in the morning mist
I learned skills I’d never needed before--pitch a tent, go potty in the river, brush my teeth in the dark--put up with daily hat-hair and wet feet, and listened to unfamiliar sounds while trying to snooze.
More interesting rock formations tell stories about ancient weather.
But I discovered, as did the other 14 people traveling in our group, that stretching one’s boundaries in order to view spectacularly beautiful and ever-changing vistas of canyon walls while learning history and geology of the region were worth any inconveniences.

It's impossible to describe the immense beauty all around.

If you have any inclination to take this life-changing rafting trip, I hope these photos will encourage you to do so. There are a variety of options such as different length in days, miles covered, type of raft, and whether you want to hike as well as paddle the river and the rapids. Only certain outfitters are approved to take visitors on rafting trips in the national park.

There's a new and exciting landscape to view around every bend.
Because we wanted time to explore the fascinating landscapes yet cover the most distance possible, we chose to go on a motorized raft with Arizona Raft Company.

Appropriate dress for the raft included hat, sunglasses, shirt, and life jacket.

Our days were filled with adventures and new discoveries while soaking up the incredible ever-changing views. Enjoy this small sample of photos that Larry and I took. Despite no way to recharge batteries or use cell phones, we tried to capture the grandeur of the Grand Canyon.
More magnificence of nature in the ever-changing canyon.

Our group of 14 loaded and unloaded the two rafts each day.

After making camp, we set up chairs in a circle to visit and enjoy
a sumptuous dinner prepared by the guides. When it got dark
we went to bed--no campfires allowed.
Colors of sunset captured our imaginations.

Best to keep feet (and sand) out of the tent as much as possible.

Several hikes led us to refreshing waterfalls.
Waterfalls provided an easy way to get clean,
since the river water became muddy after a few days.

Our rafts followed the river as it flowed between large rock formations.

Fun activities like jumping into a waterfall!

Everyday we packed our dry bags (our only "luggage,")
and retrieved them when we camped for the evening.

Magnificent and varied scenery kept us in awe during
our many hikes.

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