I've rafted in the Grand Canyon now 4 times. Twice for work with O.A.R.S., once on a private trip in which I hiked in to Phantom Ranch with a friend and met up with friends from Jackson, WY that had already been on the water for 7 days — and then this spring, which is the only time I started from the beginning (Lee's Ferry) and floated the entire thing. 21 days. 21 days of no phones, computers, beds, flushing toilets or responsibility. It was glorious. The only main responsibility you do have is keeping yourself and your immediate rafting family healthy. There is no way out of the canyon if you get hurt other than a helicopter, and that's no fun...well, other than the fact that you'd get a ride in a helicopter.
This trip basically started in Tahoe as a really good friend who is a longtime Tahoe local pulled the permit after waiting for 14 years and put together an amazing group of people. We all caravaned out from there, with a few stops along the way.
If you've never floated the Grand Canyon, just make sure you bring lots of beer, fun, funny, musically inclined friends who can tell a good story and plenty of lotion for your progressively deteriorating feet, hands and skin. You don't really need much else; a good sun hat, chacos, one pair of pants / shorts and a couple shirts, because the rest of your clothes will be buried in the bottom of a dry bag cuz' their not your favorites. Oh and a good bag or two of costumes come in handy. And glo-sticks. Really. Watching what happens when you toss out a bunch of glo-sticks you a group of 1/2 drunk 40-70 year olds in costumes was amazing and hysterical. Great lesson learned. Get rid of all the technology and we're all a bunch of kids at heart; sober or not.
Even though I now been on between 30-40 multi-day river trips, I have not really rowed boats much because I usually busy shooting photos. This trip, I got to row plenty of days and some bigger water, which was so much fun and a bit scary at times. Of course now I need a boat so I can launch my own trips. River trips really are one of the best was ever to see a place.
I'm good for now. I don't need to float the Grand Canyon for at least another year. Maybe two. But I will be doing another trip that I put together. Probably within a few years and the next time I'm going to have to row my own boat. It just has to be done.
Doug, thank you for an amazing trip with such a fun and inspiring group of people.
Below you'll find a few of my favorite photos from our 2014 Grand Canyon raft trip. At the end you'll find a larger selection of images from the trip in a gallery.
If you'd like to see some of the better photos from all my Grand Canyon trips, you can visit my portfolio site here:
or my Grand Canyon stock photo selection here: