A Western Rivers Expedition IS the BEST Way to Experience the Beauty and Geological Wonders of the Grand Canyon!!
This trip was on our family bucket list and also a celebration of my husband's retirement after 25 years in the Coast Guard. It exceeded our expectations in every way. From beginning to end, from the ranch to the river, it was positively amazing.
We are from Rhode Island and have rafted the Kennebec River in Maine but were looking to experience the Wild West and the Grand Canyon. We were not disappointed!!
Pre-trip, we were particularly appreciative of a series of e-mails from Western River Expeditions that broke down the information we needed to know and allowed us to digest the pieces rather than losing the details in one long e-mail. The packing list was excellent and we followed it down to the clothespins. We felt fully prepared and there wasn't anything that we wished we had with us. I think it important to note that a rain jacket is a must. We did have a little rain one night but more importantly, the Colorado River water is cold! I was surprised by this and glad to put my jacket on in the afternoon just to keep the combination of chilly 50 degree water and a strong canyon breeze off my shoulders.
The trip began in Las Vegas where the accommodations were just off the strip, had a great pool, was family friendly and allowed us to experience as much or as little of Vegas as we wanted. We planned an additional day at the start of our trip to visit the Hoover Dam. The next stop on the trip was the Bar Ten Ranch. Eighty miles from the nearest bit of civilization, it was the perfect transition from the hustle and bustle of Vegas to the serenity and minimalist lifestyle needed on the river. We explored the ranch via horseback, shot some skeet, and enjoyed the warm hospitality, entertainment, and excellent home style cooking of the cowboys. From the ranch, we were transported via helicopter right to the banks of the river. From there we boarded our J-rig for our first day on the river and began to get acquainted with our fellow rafters. Camping in the Grand Canyon meant that everything we needed was housed on our raft. The fire lines to unload the raft and the excitement of staking a claim along the river to set up camp was something my boys looked forward to each night.
Our trip leader was Lat, and our river guides were Kurt, Grace and Nick. They worked as a team and made sure we needed for nothing. On the river, Gracie and Kurt made sure we experienced the full thrill of the rapids while ensuring our safety. Gracie's knowledge of the Grand Canyon and it's geological history was amazing. Kurt's humorous storytelling in between rapids made us laugh and was entertaining for the kids and adults alike. Off the river, they surely worked harder than when on the river. From breakfast to dinner, appetizers to dessert, our meals were fresh, gourmet, and prepared on site. We never went away hungry!! Our son has a peanut allergy and they made the appropriate accommodations for him which was greatly appreciated!! I was in awe of how they pulled off such delicious meals with limited kitchen accommodations on the river.
By the end of the trip, it was hard to say goodbye not only to our guides, but also to the new friends we had connected with from all over the country.The family time on the trip was priceless with our 11 and 14 year old sons. We can't thank our guides enough for being a part of and giving us the wonderful gift of treasured memories.
We will be back to experience the 7 day trip! A heartfelt thank you to Western River Expeditions, Lat, Grace, Kurt, Nick, Brandon, Mark and our fellow rafters!! xo
Betsy - RI
Arizona - Grand Canyon Rafting & Ranch 4 Day