Rafting the Grand Canyon
I've been to four continents, nearly 20 countries, in over 70 years. Six days on the Grand Canyon with Western Rivers was an experience of a lifetime. Ronnie and Jeff Haymond created an expedition that fulfilled all my expectations, and more. Not to mention my fellow travelers!
Food, flora, fauna, geology, history, photography--every aspect of the trip was a treat. Ronnie and Jeff prepped three meals a day of fine meat, fresh veggies and fruits, plus the occasional candy bars and other treats. If we hadn't gotten so much exercise on the rapids, hiking the canyons, and around camp we would have gotten fat!
I came especially interested in the photography (see pix at the photo-share page). I got pictures of stunning landscapes, striking skies (day and night) and battling Big Horn sheep. Some comments, for other photo folks: You'll want a good camera, with long lens capability if you want shots of the critters along the way. But as the Western Rivers photo web page suggests, you will stress your equipment to the max. There is a danger of water damage and, more certainly, problems from the fine sand/dust that is everywhere. I took my backup camera, a Sony RX10 III, and a waterproof Olympus TG5. The Sony (kept most of the time in a Pelican case) came back with the sand all over it and in it; every time I turn a dial I hear grating. It produced GREAT pix of the Big Horns and other animals, close-up details of distant geological features. But I'm glad it's my backup camera, because I'm not sure it survived the trip. The Olympus was terrific for landscape photos that didn't need any kind of close-up, pix around camp, and action shots in the rapids. It held up much better, being thoroughly soaked in the rapids numerous times which seems only to have washed the sand away; it performed perfectly the whole trip.
Once Jeff and Ronnie realized my interest (obsession?) with photography, they were very helpful in keeping an eye out for critters along the way, suggestions of likely perspectives for landscape shots, warnings of upcoming rapids, etc.
I brought a portable battery charger to make sure I had plenty of charge for the hundreds of photos, as well as 126 meg camera cards for each camera. I brought a brush/blower for cleaning dust off the cameras, but it's like trying to soak up the ocean with a sponge.
Do bring rain gear, and figure that even with it you'll be wet much of the time. At 100+ degrees, that's a good thing even though the water temp is more like 50. Sometimes you'll be too warm, sometimes too cold; live with it. Dry footwear and socks at the end of the day are a huge relief to feet which have been wet and gritty all day. But even though this is "camping," it's pretty damned comfortable camping! I think most of us slept under the stars most nights, even if we set up our tents on the just-in-case. You will be exhausted at the end of every day, but you will sleep well!
I"m telling friends and family that this is a must-do experience. Thanks again, Western River Expeditions, Ronnie and Jeff!