colorado river / grand canyon, AZ
Grand Canyon Travel Blog› entry 1 of 2 › view all entries
prior to rafting the colorado river, i had visited and hiked around the north and south rims of the grand canyon... the north kaibab trail, and descended once...about 3/4 of the way down the canyon from the south rim (along the bright angel trail).
never did i imagine those experiences being measured so inadequate against the colorado river rafting trip of may, 2008. 23 rafters, 2 rafts, 4 guides, 8 days, hikes and hikes over 225 river miles.
some of it seems so far away now,... but i remember THE PEOPLE, details and smears of color and texture, pattern, and flow... as if i were still sleeping on top of it all... and now they've been made a permanent part of my pillow. rafting in May brought the full moon to our dusk camp,.
each day started with a tall boy of cowboy coffee, some gourmet b'fast by guide workhorses molly, jed, crystal & john,... day bag prep based on anticipated hike agenda, & general camp break-down and boat loading. most days we averaged 10-13 hrs. from wake to camp dock which usually included about 30-35 miles of river rafting, lunch of course, and about 2 small/medium hikes or so.
looking back on day 1 and 2, i recall serious awe time on the water for all early on. cameras were firing away... i think the feeling of complete immersion had begun. off raft we spent a fair amount of time getting ourselves organized as a group... our trip leader held mini "orientations" where responsibilities were identified and ground rules were established.
By day 3 or so, i realized i was going to have to be deliberate in carving out time for sketching everyday for the rest of the trip... we were kept so busy with the rafting and hiking that there wasn't much room for down time. i appreciated that the guides were pushing us to experience as much as possible, but i definitely wanted to make sure to fit in the meditation, sketching...
we didn't see as much in the way of wildlife as i had hoped, but enjoyed close-ups of big horn sheep, falcons, bats, various desert lizards, toads along the slot hikes, turkey vultures, ravens, mule deer, and a nice condor flew over us as we were staged to start our trip. what a gift that was. the flora in the cayon was also surprising. beautiful flowering plants and cactuses... and a peculiar smelling brittlebush which i just had to try and smoke. the mesquite plants were the canyon equivalent to a mangrove,... it seemed to me. i also really enjoyed the sculptural nature of the agave plants which had such a strong gesture and color in the landscape.
...to be continued...