Day #9 - Whitewater Rafting the Upper Section of the Grand Canyon
Rolled out of bed (got maybe 90 minutes of sleep) and got to packing. Was supposed to be down at Lee's Ferry to take off at 9:00 a.m.
Woke the Mrs up, slammed some coffee, and jumped into the van that the marble canyon lodge provided us to get down to Lee's Ferry 3-4 miles away.
Got down there a bit early so we just nibbled on trail bars and drank water in the meantime because apparently the canyon walls magnify heat at the bottom and it can get up to 115-120 degrees. We never felt it get anywhere that hot so no complaints.
We were the only people who did not meet up at Flagstaff for the "orientation" which goes over trivial stuff like what to do if the raft flips, how fast hypothermia sets in when the water is only 43-47 degrees, how to (and not to) pull people back into the boat, packing, what to do if you go overboard and get sucked down the rapids etc...etc...etc...
Guess some people would consider that important information. Me? Naaah!
So finally the rest of the people show up and we start to load things up into the two Canyoneers boats.
So I'm not a huge fan of crowded places or vehicles so I decided to sit back while all the other eager beavers started jumping into the boats. There were 2 boats so the boats should have been split into 12 person boats. Well apparently everyone wanted to be in one boat so once everyone else was loaded up we jumped in the non-crowded boat.
Final tally: 16 in one boat 8 in our boat.
We pretty much just scored a private raft for this 3 day whitewater rafting tour!!!
Best part is the other 6 people in the boat were one family of very nice people from Arizona. 3 adults and 3 kids. All the kids were super nice and well behaved whereas in the other boat there were these obnoxious teenage boys who (to be honest) were just spoiled pricks (we got stuck with them on the last day).
I'm serious on how empty our boat was. We could have all gotten up and had a dance contest with how much space we had! Everyone got to lay out where the other boat was packed like sardines and nobody could move from the seat the got until the boat stopped for meals/night.
Leaving Lee's Ferry: My wife feeling all special being surrounded by manly men.
Anyhoo... Off we go rolling into the Grand Canyon and I can't even begin to explain how happy I am. I'm not a geologist but I do love history, and the stories different places bring when I visit them, and to be honest the thought of being able to touch rocks that were around WAAAAAYYY before the dinosaurs (one rock was 1.5 billion years old!) was blowing my mind.
So off we went....
Canyoneers is one of the longer running tour companies down there and they have the largest (2 hinge) rafts of any tour company in the canyon. Personally I would have loved to be in a R4 raft instead of this huge thing but whatever raft it took to make my wife go on this trip I would take.
They handle all the cooking and navigation of the river but you handle setting up your tents etc...
Great company and knowledgeable guides. Never felt in any danger the entire time and our guide (Brandon) was cool enough to let me ride for 95% of the rapids on the front side pontoon instead of being in the boat.
Like this: (looks crowded on the boat huh?)
At least then it was a bit exciting. These boats are so big that they mow right through most of the rapids. Not like a small R4 boat where you'll be on a ride more like a Six Flags Magic Mountain Ride.
I bought a plastic phone cover that allowed me to protect my cell phone and take pictures/video at the same time. Worked like a charm and never leaked. I would fully endorse the Frieq waterproof cell phone case. I put it through plenty of rapids and not one drop got inside.
There was some fun times to be had on the side pontoons:
Not that being "in" the boat wasn't exciting as well!
to be continued......