One year honeymoon around the world...17th April 2007 to 9th March 2008! Yes we're home!!

Sunday, 12 August 2007

Grand Canyon River Rafting

We got back yesterday from an amazing week rafting down the Colorado River from Lees Ferry (just south of Lake Powell & the Glen Canyon Dam) through the Grand Canyon to Lake Mead (just north of Hoover Dam) - 280 miles on a motorised raft.

Friday night....(3rd August)
We went to an orientation meeting and received our brown dry bags and our ammo cans. These were to be our luggage for the next 8 days. The dry bags had been described as the size of large supermarket brown paper bags so I was expecting something small and was anxious I wouldn't fit all of my belongings into it... but of course this is America; it was plenty big enough and I filled just over half of it. In the end we took too many clothes... all will be revealed.
Ammo cans are silver aluminium boxes, 99% waterproof and we had access to them throughout the day - looked a bit like an old fashioned lunch box I'd imagine my grandpa taking to work on the trains.

Up at 4am the bus left at 5am to take us to Lees Ferry - journey took 5.5 hours.
There were 25 in our group and we boarded two rafts, with 2 guides on each.

From my journal....
"It's 6 o'clock Saturday afternoon and we're sitting at our campsite in Marble Canyon. Feel like we're on shipwrecked or something: very basic campsite as in we pick a spot for our tarpaulin and throw sleeping bags on top. We're next to a BIG rock to dry off our clothes and keep our bags out of the sand (actually an impossible task)
Rapids great fun! Absolutely soaked! Everything is strapped down and we understand why now! My bum came off the boat and the breeze nearly whipped my hat off..."

I hadn't really considered much about this trip; it's really difficult to research everything we do when we have something new to explore and experience every day! Ben had picked out this trip, though we have talked about rafting through the Grand Canyon since we visited 3 years ago so it was always on our to-do list. Anyways, what I mean is I hadn't considered how many rapids there would be - it was wild! And great fun! Nor had I considered the lack of washing facilities...

Unfortunately for us there had been rain further up Little Colorado river so the water looked like chocolate milk. And our campsites were wherever the guides decided to stop that day - nothing remotely developed - everything in the Canyon is kept natural.

So in keeping with the "natural" and "Leave No Trace" philosophy we had to pee and wash in the main river. I did try to wash every evening using soap but you can't rinse too well in cold chocolate milk (yes the water was also pretty chilly!)

Also we had a Groover. A Groover is a metal box with... you guessed it... a toilet seat! It was set up at camp each afternoon. We had one of these between 25 people...non flushing, just a metal box, and we got a new, clean one, every 2 days.... no more need to be said on this topic me thinks :-)

"Chilling out in the Grand Canyon. We stopped for camp early today, 2pm, and I sunbathed and snoozed whilst Ben went hiking with others. Lovely little beach. Water is even murkier than before now we've passed the entry of Little Colorado River. A tad warmer though and surprisingly with some MGM body wash I get most of the sand off, or so I think, won't know the truth until back in Vegas on Saturday and get a proper shower. Looking forward to dinner in Vegas; whilst the food here is good I would like to eat at a table and wash up my plate in clear water.
Rapids stronger today, I sat at back so I didn't get too wet. Ben got drenched at the front. One rapid the boat turned 180 and went backwards!"

"BIG rapid day! Started off in the front of the raft and it was rapid after rapid after rapid. Pretty tiring. Moved to the back for the biggest one - Hermit. Wicked fun. Watched the front of the boat rise and fall about four times before we were anihilated by waves. We lost a seat cushion and a water bottle that wasn't tied down (collected them further down river).
Stopped off for a short walk to a waterfall dropping into a big pool of clear water (YEAH clean water!) Went swimming and swam through to back of waterfall and let it pummel my back.
Another stop and this waterfall we could climb up behind and jump off. Bit scary as you had to jump forward to clear the rocks.

"Had good night's sleep. Went about an hour on the boat this morning before stopping for a 5 hour hike. It's amazing the clear water and waterfalls hiding in the canyons.

Good hike/scramble but it's ever so hot - no cloud today or yesterday - got bit of a headache now and shattered. When we got back down we lay down in a clearwater stream. Expect I'll sleep well again tonight!

We built a make-shift canopy using rainsheet from the tent to shade us from the sun - we looked cool :-)"

"Another fun day. Slept well and am shattered again. Our camp was close to the kitchen yesterday so we were up chatting until 9pm (late night!) Tonight we're a bit further away.

Went to Deer Creek Canyon - I love the rocks in horizontal formations. Had swim in waterfalls and pools. Saw big cactus plant with pink fruits and got a photo this time.

Sat at front for all of rapids today - another hot day - almost no clouds - the blueist sky I think I ever saw.

Washed again in the chocolate milk water - surprised how clean I feel - must be the MGM Grand body wash :-) "

"Actually missing my rucksack! :-) Looking forward to wearing more than 2 tops, bikini and shorts. Spent most of day on boat - had quite a distance to make up. We stopped at Pumpkin Springs and jumped off high rocks into the river - with our life jackets on and we zoomed back up to the surface.

Sat in front for all the rapids today."

washing up...
last call

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