Whitewater Rafting the Colorado River

From one adventure to another we continue!  We have been on the go non-stop for over a month now, and our lack of posting regularly clearly shows that.  We finally got caught up on our national park visit posts (we’ve visited 58 of the 59 now!) but then once again we were away from Internet service for ten days, so suddenly we were behind again!  The activities of this post took place September 23 – October 1 — we’re now only a week behind, so that’s not so bad; it’s been a lot worse….

Rafting the Colorado River

Fred, Claire, Kyle and I getting ready for a day of paddling and whitewater rapids running on the Colorado River
Fred, Claire, Kyle and I getting ready for a day of paddling and whitewater rapids running on the Colorado River

Our most recent trip was conceived sometime around 1977 when Fred and a Navy buddy did a two-day rafting trip on the New River in West Virginia.  Fred absolutely loved that experience and ever since then he has wanted to run the Colorado River.  So the time had come to do it, and well over a year ago he made reservations with Outdoors Unlimited, choosing this company and this time of year very carefully as he had some criteria for his trip: 1) he wanted to do it in a wooden dory like John Wesley Powell and the brave river runners of old (that’s my old school guy, Fred!); 2) he didn’t want any power boats around messing up the quiet beauty of the river trip; 3) he wanted us to be active participants and have the experience of paddling; 4) he didn’t want it to be too hot and sunny as we’re sun avoiders anymore.

Experiencing the Colorado up close and personal by paddling it — 150 miles in total — from the South Rim of the Grand Canyon to the Pearce Ferry takeout in Lake Mead

So running the Colorado in a wooden dory was out because, with the dory trips, we wouldn’t actually do the rowing; a river guide does it and we would just be along for the ride.  But he did find OU offers paddling trips (or you can ride along on a baggage boat; we chose to paddle), and we learned that fall can be the best time of the year to be on the river.  So it went — he reserved four spots with the idea to surprise daughter Claire and son-in-law Kyle by giving them the somewhat (very!) unorthodox gift of nature as their wedding gift.  After all, nature and national parks has been the theme of our lives for the past several years and Fred wanted to share what has been so important to us with them.

Fred & I in Blacktail Canyon
Fred and I hiking back into Blacktail Canyon4

Enough about the background and on to the trip itself. The nine day/eight night adventure was truly indescribable!

We traveled 190 miles on the river — 150 miles of paddling over eight days, then 40 miles in a speedboat on the final day to get out of the canyon. We hiked 16 miles — the first 8.5 miles got us down into the Grand Canyon to commence rafting, then we took several shorter hikes into many side canyons off the GC in the days that followed. We ate delicious food — kudos to our Outdoors Unlimited crew for always turning out scrumptious food including filet mignon one night!

We enjoyed the wonderful camaraderie with our fellow travelers — we were 21 guests and 7 OU boatmen/crew — our very own little expedition! We spent seven heavenly nights sleeping out under the stars (and one in a tent due to rain) — talk about feeling small and humbled!

I could go on and on, but I’ll let the photos do the talking.

If you click on a photo, you can see a larger version of it. You can also use the arrows at the bottom (click on the photo if they disappear on you) to scroll through all the photos in the photo series. To close the series, click on the ‘X’ in the top right corner.

This trip was truly one of the grandest things we have done in our Out There travels.  If anyone is remotely considering taking this trip we have two words for you: DO IT!!!!