The Grand, The Big Ditch, The Canyon... whatever it's called... it's one of the best multi-day trips, anywhere... and will remain one of the most daring (and supremely fun) things many of us ever do. Before the dam went in, heck, ever before the Forest Service was thought of... people were making their way down the slow pace of the Colorado River as it passes through its own Grand Canyon. During the spring the Colorado used to get to 100,000cfs and even once in 1983. There is so much history about this area I couldn't begin to share all of the beauty and lore. And I understand why there is so much and why it calls to so many from so far away... it is truly a magical wonderland.
|"You know you're a Canyon guide when" ... love these guys|
A long time Canyon guide and great friend, Kyle Kovalik used to tell me, "Brett, it's the best raft-supported hiking trip you'll ever do," I think he's right. 21 days with 16 unique, capable individuals in one of the most spectacular canyons on earth, what could possibly go wrong? Nada.
The desert is an endless horizon. Except for the eastern Cascades, here in WA, I'd never been to a real desert. My friend Logan offered to drive both of us there. And though his car only had two seats, kayak racks, and a speedo with lots of numbers... we made it. Watching land formations and mountain ranges change is a treat in itself. Along with a small box of tasty treats from his dad's bakery in Leavenworth made it a great drive!
|early morning Zion|
The first night we slept outside Boise, I think? Poached some cold ground in a trailer park next to the highway. 19 degrees woke us up pretty early along with a chill blowing through my zero degree bag. Grabbed a quick breakfast and got back on the road. Drove through 2 major snow storms, but by the time we got to Lee's Ferry it was about sunset and 73. Nice and dry the desert was and every star in the sky was out. Possibilities seemed to have no limits. Creating our own adventures is what life is all about.
|Amanda had a smile on her face pretty much the entire trip|
Rig day!! Everyone who flew in, drove to the put in at Lee's Ferry with all of the gear. We rigged for half the day and finished with sunburns and beer. Thanks to our outfitter for making it a seamless transition. Renting the whole kit and driving away at the end is really the way to go, especially when driving from the PNW.
|Laura enjoying billions of years of nature|
We finally pushed off mid-afternoon, floated about 60 yards and parked on a small little wet piece of ground where we would officially launch in the morning, after our safety meeting with the ranger. The ranger was funny... sometimes. Let him be the funny one, it'll go quicker.
|day 4: Redwall Cavern|
What's to follow is a mini-epic photo bombing of the most amazing desert-scape many have ever experienced. It's always a good time in the Canyon, but who you're with is really what makes it the best. Can't thank you all enough!!!
|Jon, Kyle, EJ, and Al|
|just the beginning|
|nice to have medics in the middle of nowhere|
|We went on hikes every day of the trip!|
|Karen Quinn enjoying the desert|
|Laura taking a second look|
|Mike finds a little shade, it's hot in March|
|it's mindblowing just how vast the desert really is|
|lunch at Redwall Cavern|
|Totten, Almquist and Albright|
|Tanman, Totten and Wesley Powell jam out in the Redwall|
|pics don't even touch it|
|bring fun things|
|not a bad spot for a kitchen|
|21 days full of good times|
|spring is nice in the Canyon|
|Jon and Amanda check out the Graineries|
|Kyle, abnormally silent|
|some of these spots... you just need to be here|
|another stunning slot canyon hike|
|There is sooo much going on right here|
|THIS... takes a LONG time|
|the Grand just keeps on givin !|
|Jason Schroeder about to get it on with Horn Rapid|
|Fun Runnin 'iss here crick|
|so much awesome|
|r to l: Al, Mike and Kyle in the captain's chairs|
|did I mention ALL of the indescribable beauty?|
|Tanner and Chris strain the gunk out of the rinse water|
|Laura, Karen and Wes|
|The last fresh water spring|
|lots to do|
|Tanner's first time in a kayak|
|another bend in the river|
|another spectacular side hike|
|same great folks|
|the Canyon is amazing|
|Laura rows EJ and Kate|
The Canyon is so good we can't get all the photos in to just one post! Stay tuned, y'all...