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Bonds and Tokens of Bravery Shared in Grand Canyon Rafting

One of our Grand Canyon Rafting 6-day guests wrote us with this very interesting story to tell about a neighbor’s gift to her upon her return home. It was a broken wooden oar. The gift came from Clare, a woman now in her 90’s. Touched by the gesture, she asked to learned more about the meaning of it.

Clare’s life travels had taken her to Mt. Everest base camp, living a month with a head hunter tribe, and down the Colorado River through Grand Canyon in small wooden boats in the earliest days of commercial river running. She wanted to run Lava Falls with her guide, which may have been a rare request as most guests may have been asked to walk around Lava Falls in those early years when techniques, and the type of equipment used made things riskier.

The small wooden boat flipped and she became trapped in the hollow space under the upset
boat. They found her there unconscious with a bump on the head, initially fearing the worst. The oar that had broken in the flip was awarded to her for her rare bravery. She’d held on to it all this time, finally gifting it to perhaps the only other person she’d met who had braved the same rapids she had so many years before.

Everyone who has experienced Grand Canyon rafting knows that there is much more to it than the rapids or pretty scenery. There is a soul stirring available to those willing to open themselves to it, that makes it hard to share with those who do not know the same adventure. Although the experience of running Lava Falls is less rare today, the bond that bravery and adventure can form is strong enough to span the decades between at least two adventurous women of the Colorado River. Congratulations to both of you for your broken token of bravery.

Kam Wixom

Kam began guiding in the Grand Canyon in 1991, met & guided with his wife in 2000, and is the proud daddy of 5 kids. He now works as the Marketing Director for Western River Expeditions.

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