You’d think I’d learn not to judge certain adventure trips out there. But I did. I previously poo-pooed the idea of a motorized rafting trip through the Grand Canyon – thought it was whimpy, that paddling was the only way to go. Probably because of my need to do everything the hard way.
I was SO WRONG on all fronts.
First off, I have to say I am one of the luckiest people on earth. I got the phone call of a lifetime on a Thursday night from one of my most generous friends. “Do you want to go rafting on the Grand Canyon? Two people (of 20) on the trip cancelled, we have two spots. If you can get to Flagstaff on Saturday, the trip is paid for. It’s an 8 day trip.”
It took me a few minutes to process the conversation and then was on it!! Everything fell into place with work and next thing I knew, I was in Flagstaff on Saturday attending an orientation with Arizona Raft Adventures!
The trip was amazing. We had 2 motorized boats – one was considered the “adventure” boat and the other carried all our food, tables, chairs, etc. Each boat can hold 12 to 14 people. When I say motorized, I mean no paddling required – truly motors on the boats. Each boat had two guides – who were pretty spectacular in and of themselves. Calm, cool and collected, which brought so much to our experience. They gave us a long leash to have fun – and what a BLAST we had!
We covered the entire river (200+ miles) in 8 days. Our days were spent screaming (with happiness and just a smidge of terror) through the rapids, hiking to waterfalls and silent canyons, enjoying adult beverages on the boat, making new, life-long friends, sleeping under the stars, admiring the big-horn sheep seemingly around every corner, and soaking in the beauty of the canyon. What is not to love about that?
A few things to note about this trip:
- You DO get to enjoy the adventure of the rapids on this trip!
- You should book it at least a year in advance.
- It’s perfect for a large group of friends. In fact, I highly recommend doing it the way my friends did it, by inviting all of your most fun, laid back friends who would enjoy an adventure of a life-time.
- It’s good for all ages – you can be at the front of the boat, in the center of the action, or, you can kick back and laugh at all your friends getting wet at the front.
- The guides were really good about fine-tuning hikes to meet all types of physical capabilities. No-one missed out on anything.
- You will sleep on pads with Azra sleeping bags – we did not sleep in tents, but they are available. The stars were amazing.
- If you like your adult bevvies, find those who don’t and leverage their burlap sack for additional libations.
- We DID have amazing food – steaks, porkchops, spaghetti, pancakes, eggs to order, huevos rancheros, salmon, chocolate cake, lemon pound cake, etc….we did not skimp on the groceries.
I highly recommend this trip if you are worried about not being able to paddle Grand Canyon or if you are short on time. I would love to do it again!
The last day of the trip was truly emotional. We all cried for one reason or another – sad to say goodbye to each other, some let go of personal strife, some recognized they were pushed beyond their comfort zones and they survived. It’s been 3 weeks and I’m pretty sure we are all still basking in the glow of Grand Canyon and will for a long, long time.
Our mantra for the trip was, “Stop searching, it’s all around you” ~ by a young boy. Words to live by. I bought bracelets for all the girls on the trip who wear them to this day.
I can see why people fall in love and contemplate significant life changes in Grand Canyon. It’s a magical place indeed.