On July 16 Barb & I drove our ’99 Camry to the south rim of Grand Canyon. With us was Barb’s sister Audrey. Barb’s daughter Danielle, and her daughter Abigail also made the trip from Las Vegas in a rental car. Just outside the southern rim we were met by Barb’s son Jeffrey and his son Zane, who were arriving from Utah. Most of us went to the spectacular Imax movie about the Colorado River that travels through the Canyon. Then we all viewed the Canyon from various crowded overlooks on the rim, overlooks filled with folks speaking languages from all over the world. Many were brandishing selfie sticks and virtually everyone had a camera. On one promontory a raven sat and squawked at the crowd. A woman behind me explained in a Brooklyn accent to her son that the bird was a California Condor and received my gentle correction with extreme skepticism.
We all stayed in a motel just outside the Park that night. Next morning, Danielle and Audrey returned to Vegas and the rest of us continued on to Marble Canyon where we would leave our vehicles. We spent the night at a local motel and were shuttled the next morning to the put-in spot at Lee’s Ferry. After a brief orientation by the Grand Canyon White Water guides, we were on our way down the Colorado: two large rafts, each with a crew of two, and a combined passenger total of 21. We were each given a large waterproof bag containing a sleeping bag, a sheet, and a small pillow. Each bag was large enough to receive the duffel bag we had each been permitted to bring along with our clothes and personal effects. We were also issued a smaller waterproof bag to be used for stowing items that we would want to access during the day.
When we stopped along the river bank to make camp, everyone pitched in and joined a “bucket brigade” to offload the tents, folding seats, and folding cots, as well as the afore-mentioned waterproof bags. (Everyone then set up their own camp items.) And, of course, we all helped offload the kitchen stands and tables and cooking pots, etc. The food was abundant and varied and delicious.
We all got wet in the largest of the rapids. The water was cold enough that most of us learned to wear waterproof pants and jackets for the big ones. (The rapids are rated on a scale from 1 to 10; we went through a number in the 6-8 range, and two extra-exciting number 9 or 10’s.)
The scenery was spectacular. We stopped several times each day to do a hike. Into slot canyons, caverns, waterfalls, and historic sites on the river (including an ancient granary). In the evenings the skies filled with bright stars. Most people after the first night stopped setting up the tents and slept on the cots out in the open. It was a magical time.
At the conclusion of the trip (after six days and 187 miles down the river) we were lifted out of the canyon on a helicopter. Barb was lucky enough to command the front seat beside the helicopter pilot. We were taken to the Bar-10 ranch, were we were given lunch and could take showers. There, we caught a small fixed-wing plane back to Marble Canyon.
It was the experience of a lifetime. We highly recommend it!