Dear Western River,
Now that I am back from our 7 Day Grand Canyon rafting trip and to a place where we call home for now, I want to take the time to thank you for all that you have given me in this journey through the Grand Canyon June 21-27.
First, thank you for all of the practical advice you taught me before and during the trip. For example, having good rain gear can make or break a person. Spend the money and buy something decent. Next, drinking water is a good thing. Even if you are surrounded by water and already drank your gallon for the day, drink more, and then even more! I learned that the human body really is capable of getting used to 50 degree water. Most importantly I learned that it takes seven minutes to get a can of beer to river temperature.
Thank you for taking me out of my comfort zone each and every day. You took me places and gave me the chance to do things that I never thought I would do. You were there to support me, challenge me, and trust that I could accomplish these things.
Thank you for letting me just be me and for allowing me to spend seven days without wondering if I was being judged, criticized, or gossiped about. For giving all of us the chance to enjoy each other simply as people, not for the amount of money we have, the occupations we hold, or mistakes we have made in the past.
Thank you to the guides that took us on this journey. On the first hike when I had to cross that slippery boulder, I looked at the long way down if I slipped and the first thing I said was, “I don’t think I can do this!” Thanks Ronnie for looking me in the eye and saying those four simple words, “I think you can!” You don’t know how much of an impact that made on me for the entire trip. Thanks Gonzo for giving me the courage to walk along that ledge on the hike up to the Patio. You knew I could do it and the reward at the top was so very worth it. I am so glad you gave me that “push”. Thanks RD for being patient with all of my questions about how to run a rapid, why the water moves the way it does, and wondering why you went to the left, right, or through the center of a rapid. Also, thanks for getting us safely through each and every one of them. And Scott, thank you for sharing the power of music. The canyon is so grand and beautiful on its own, but when you mixed it with your music, it’s magnificence increased at least a thousand times more. Thank you all for making me realize it is not worth worrying all the time about what is down the road or river. Sometimes it is best to simply focus on that next step on the trail.
The last night of camp, I was getting a little sad. I didn’t want this to end. I remember I was walking around camp, just stopping here and there chatting with people. I walked up to a fellow rafter, trying not to show that my blisters, dry skin, hips, and back muscles were hurting. I asked him if he was ready to head back home. Together we came to the conclusion that our minds would never be ready to leave, but our bodies were telling us that it is time for this adventure to end for now and let our bodies heal.
I was thinking about when a good time would be to make a return trip. If I was back in my 20s with no commitments and responsibilities, I would have probably asked for a job application on the spot. But instead, I have my mug of sand (yeah, I really did that). I will sprinkle a tiny bit somewhere everyday so I am still connected with the canyon. And when that mug of sand is all gone, it will be time to book another trip.
Karen, thank you so much for sharing your perspective of Grand Canyon Rafting through our guest blog! We loved every word! Good luck with the adjustments back home… we look forward to "filling your cup" (with sand) whenever you’re ready! – Western River