This trip started out as our "Bucket List" of things to do. My friend of 40 years and I had saved the money and were looking to get away from our hectic "normal" lives of work and caregiving (her 103 year old mother). We started with Vegas and ended with Vegas, but it was what was in between that mattered.
The first few days were exactly what was anticipated, but not realized. We got a small plane to the ranch, slept in Conestoga wagons, shot skeet, and took ATV's to see a sunset over the beautiful landscape, enjoyed good food and gracious hosts. Next day, I was put in the jump seat of a helicopter to view the Grand Canyon and enjoy what I thought would be the scariest part of the trip. Indeed, completely different, not scary, did not make me sick and totally a WOW moment. Then we got on our rafts and off we went. Beautiful scenery and expert guides to take us down the Colorado River. At camp, we got the full story on how to go to the bathroom and what animals to avoid (scorpions and rattlesnakes). Never would have imagined it would take 20 minute conversation to talk about where to go to the bathroom! However, all essential information and handled with humor. All was going well, I was up front on the raft, getting wet during the 100 degree days and loving it. However, alas, the last night was a different story. We saw a storm coming in and was really quite enjoying it, until around 3:30 am. The lightening was high; the thunder absolutely wonderful as it bounced off the canyon and then it started raining. We just stayed in the tent and enjoyed. But then a tap on the tent and a guide telling us we needed to evacuate NOW. He said, put on your life vest, and get your gear and shoes. A Flash Flood had forced us to leave our area and get to the other side of a ravine. Now it is pouring down rain, 4:30 in the am, high adrenaline and my friend has already left to go over to the other side. Found someone’s flip flops (mismatched, but worked), threw our stuff in the dry sack (well mine, could not find my friends, so just tossed her bag across, put on the life vest and was guided out by others from the trip and the guides. Yes, everyone made it across what seemed like a 4 foot wide river going out to the sea. Everyone made it across only lost a $3.99 pair of flip-flops from the thrift store and do we have stories. While in the tent put up by the guides for a few to get out of the rain, the children 11, 12 and 9 were talking about the fact they would be the "most popular" kid in school based on this experience!
I say all this, and I am sure it does not tell how we were all feeling, but I can tell you we had the BEST GUIDES ever. They had just taken a 7-day trip with a group of disabled adults, got us for 4 days, stayed up all night making sure we were safe, cooked us fabulous meals, told us incredible facts about the rocks and then had to drive an extra hour because the jet boat drivers could not make it in due to a road that had washed out. I cannot tell you how wonderful this group of guides were. In particular Ben and Scott from my boat. They learned our names and every chance they had, they called us by name and answered our questions as if they were the first time being asked. What can I say, I can say, this was a trip of a lifetime that I will talk about forever.