One of my favorite places in the world (in fact I think I’ve mentioned this before) is the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon. I just got back from an 8 day river trip with the company I work for Grand Canyon Expeditions and I wanted to write about all my favorite things while the trip is still fresh in my mind.
Without further ado – here are some of the things I love about my river trips: I love sleeping under the expanse of stars with the walls of the Canyon raised up above me and the sound of the river lulling me into a restful sleep. I love the hikes, and picking out the exact placement of my foot so I can comfortably make it to the end point. I love places like the Little Colorado, and Havasu. We went up the mouth of Havasu instead of doing the hike, and I adored that. I loved laying down in the water and having the current take us back to the boats. I love sitting on a boat in the middle of a warm rain, listening to the thunder echo off of the cliffs and watching the rim falls starting. I also love waking up to a rainbow in camp because of the light rain we had in the early morning.
I also love hearing the guides yell “get two good hand holds and get into rapid running position” and the laughs from the group as the boat enters the rapids. And I love sitting in a circle eating a delicious dinner and listening to everyone in the group get to know each other.
But my most favorite thing about the Canyon is what it does for those who travel in it. It changes a group of complete strangers into a river family. The human connection you make on this trip is different from anything else. There is no WiFi, no cellphone service.. it’s you and your group relaxing, getting to know each other and being in one of the most beautiful places in the world. You camp, eat, bathe and sometimes go to the bathroom together for 8 days. I’ve seen people take care of each other, share items and lend a helping hand to someone else who needed it. This trip is definitely a friendship builder.
I also love that the river can bring out the child in anyone. It’s so amazing to hear people laugh at the rapids, giggle in the side streams as a waterfall lands on their heads, or tell jokes and play games on the boat. I love seeing a giant smile on the face of people who are in their 70’s because they are sitting in front for Lava Falls.
On my last trip we had a 9 year old from the UK – and he was the star of the show! He made all of the adults smile and feel young again. He was very smart as well and could carry on a conversation with anybody. In Havasu when he was laughing and giggling at the flowing waters, a lot of us joined in with him. When we were leaving Havasu a group of us (including the 9 year old) put our life jackets on, locked arms and let the water carry us back to the boats. It was probably one of my favorite experiences on the river. On the last day we actually had him stand at the back of the bag line and when the front was ready we passed him down the line. He was the most important cargo!
So if you are trying to decide whether or not to go on a trip with GCE to this breathtaking place, I say do it. No one can experience it for you but you and it’s something that you’ll never regret. In fact I think it’ll be a trip that you will carry with you in your heart for the rest of your life.