The Big Ditch: Colorado River Trip Through the Grand Canyon

Many people say that rafting the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon is on their Bucket List and I can see why.  The Grand Canyon is one of the most incredible geological wonders on earth.  Stretching 226 miles across northern Arizona, the Grand Canyon ranges in elevation from 2,400 feet to over 7,000 feet above sea level. In places, it is up to one mile deep and over 18 miles wide, while some of the canyon’s majestic plateaus to the north rise to 9,000 feet above sea level.

We were lucky to join a 19 day private raft trip withe 14 of the most WILD, FUN, and KIND folks out there, mostly friends based out of Chico, CA.  To step up the adventure level, Lilita and I agreed to share captain duties and row one of the six oar rafts down the Colorado River which was flowing between 8,000 and 12,000 cubic feet per second each day.  This was by far the LARGEST whitewater we have navigated and proved to be as big a challenge as we anticipated.  But damn, it was fun!!!  It wouldn’t be a memorable raft trip without some carnage.  Between all our rafts and all the massive rapids we did have a couple captains get bucked off their rafts.  Fortunately, only one raft capsized on the trip at Crystal Rapid so we got some practice with swift water rescue and using flip-lines to right the raft.

The side hikes were stellar!  These hikes from the river led us up crystal clear creeks to discover waterfalls, hidden canyons, and ruins from ancient Anasazi inhabitants.

The camping was luxurious!  We were outfitted by PRO who provided all the rafts, gear, shuttles, and food for the entire 19 days.  All we had to do was show up with our personal gear and beverages of our choosing including 4 kegs of Sierra Nevada and all the spritzers we could drink!  It’s truly amazing how much STUFF one can fit on six 18 foot rafts.

To spice things up we had theme nights which turned into theme days including my favorite, Sparkle Party.  We sparkled the shit out of that canyon.  We had cheers for EVERYTHING including the infamous LET’s GO and the safety conscious JACKET-OFF cheer.  Each raft had it’s personal identity.  We were the Wood Boat or more endearingly called the Shit Boat since we carried everyone’s poop all the way down the canyon.  There was also Sparkle Pony (clothing optional), The Cat, Bear Boat, The Giggle Boat, and Girl Doll Boat.  Together, our 6 boats formed together to make the A-We-Ba.  The A-We-Ba originated from one of our fearless leader’s vision of the group moving down the river as an Amoeba with no central brain directing the group but with 16 equal parts ebbing and flowing down the river.

The vision was embraced and we were one!