After two years on a waiting list my husband and I were finally able to spend 18 days paddle rafting the Grand Canyon…putting in above Flagstaff Arizona. We went with a company called “Azra”…not a cadillac company…but with knowledgeable and entertaining river guides who have been running the river for years. Highly recommended. We went in September…the best time to go because all the motorized boats are off the river and it is quiet.
Each morning the trip leader, who had worked as a park ranger for years, would gather us round the morning breakfast fire…his maps spread out so he could explain the geological formations we would see that day. Every few days we would take a hike up a side canyon to view Indian ruins or swim in ice cold streams…or just canyoneer the narrow gorges.
During the day, while on the river, if anyone had to go potty it was just projected over the side of the boat…or bare asses hung over the boat in the case of the females. “The solution to pollution is dilution” the trip leader advised us!
Interestingly, some of the most memorable moments were when the boats were tied together and we just floated lazily down stretches of the river that were not filled with white-knuckling number 5 rapids…listening to Irish fiddle tunes and gazing up at the configurations of the canyon walls.
In the evenings the trip leaders would set up the “honey buckets” (everything that goes onto the river comes back out except for the pee) and cook dinner while we selected a site and put up our tents. Then out came the musical instruments, the beer and interesting conversations with people like the young Chinese guy who had been in Tianamen Square when China brutally put down the student demonstrations. The students were so sure that change was imminent, he said, and when it didn’t happen he was so disappointed he just left China and his educator parents behind. He is now a banker in San Francisco.
One night it was warm so we all slept out under the stars on the beach. However about 1am it started to rain and a strong wind came up. We all jumped up to put up our tents but Bob and I weren’t careful to throw something heavy into the tent to hold it down and the wind took it as we were trying to pound in the stakes. There went the tent rolling miles a minute toward the river! I ran after it…not catching it until it was half way across the river…Bob watching it all from the beach!
A trip of a lifetime with unforgotten river companions!