What a truly amazing experience! An epic adventure! A magical moment that will be etched in my memory forever! Yes, that is what the Grand Canyon trip was for me. A journey down the Colorado River for 6 days. Rafting and camping and hiking for 6 days. The fact that I was out of my comfort zone and out of cell or internet service range made the trip that much more magical. Camping on the beaches of the Colorado River every night, enduring 100 degree weather every day and then jumping in an ice cold 45 degree river to cool off every afternoon. Life was reduced to the simplest of terms….eat, sleep, explore! Repeat! The walls of the canyon rose above us making us feel smaller in a huge world. The night sky was lit up with millions of stars that we never see because of the ambient light of the city. Everyone pitched in to do chores every morning and every afternoon to set up camp. We bantered with each other on our rafting boats and cooled each other off with water fights and plunges in the river. We floated down the Little Colorado singing “Proud Mary” as a group! I led a yoga class for my fellow rafters on the beach of the Colorado River. We played in waterfalls that we found on our daily afternoon hikes. We ate like kings every day….prime rib, salmon, steak, BBQ chicken…the food was phenomenal! Our guides were knowledgeable and capable oarsmen. I’m in awe of their strength and ability to navigate the river and take us through the rapids. They let us try rowing the rafts and it’s harder than it looks. It’s not like the rowing machines in the club or like rowing crew where you use your back to pull. For these boats, you push instead of pull. Counter-intuitive for me and I struggled to get a smooth, fluid pull on the oars. My respect for their abilities grew immensely after that.
The last day was a test of both physical and mental toughness. We hiked out of the Grand Canyon on the hottest day of the year thus far. We had 8 miles to go, all uphill and mainly in the direct sunlight with very little shade anywhere. There was no breeze and no cloud cover and did I mention it topped out at 120 degrees?! Our little group was well matched and we supported each other the whole way up. We would wait at each water station for the whole group to appear and make sure all were ok. We cheered each other on and commiserated with each other. The group stayed within 15 minutes of each other the whole way. We all made it to the top after 8 hours! The heat was brutal, causing us to take longer breaks and more frequent breaks than we normally would have. Plus we all had our backpacks on carrying our water and our clothes from the trip. We were so happy to all reach the top and felt a huge sense of accomplishment in what we had just done! We were badasses!
I made some new friends on this trip that I am sure to stay in touch with. It was one of those times that everything and everyone came together for a reason and we all just meshed and gelled perfectly. Fate? Kismet? I don’t know, but whatever it was, it was magical!
I highly recommend this trip or any rafting trip down the Grand Canyon if you are at all adventurous! I went with a group called the Canyoneers and was helped by Advantage Grand Caynon. They acted as a concierge of sorts to place me with the right trip and the right group for my needs. Check them both out!