Rafting the Grand Canyon
If you have any second thoughts about whether or not you should raft thru the Grand Canyon, let me dispel them now: YES you should. With that out of the way, next questions is how? In short, I can't imagine a better way to go than with Western River Expeditions. Everything about our trip was first rate: the food, the "accommodations", the new friends we met, the skill of the boatmen who took us down the river. Everything!
If you're reading this to get a better idea about what to expect on the trip, I'd like to make a few comments on packing for the trip. 1) Less is definitely more when it comes to packing; e.g. if they say 2 or 3 shirts, take 2. If you're a guy, those high tech fabric shorts you're wearing is a perfect substitute for swim trunks. Flexible clothing (e.g. pants who's legs zip off or long sleeve shirts that can be rolled up to short sleeve length) is far better than 2 separate items. 2) No matter how hot the forecast says it will be, take quick dry long sleeve shirts. That's all I wore when on the river. The sun is so intense, you need SPF Shirt level coverage. 3) A wide brim hat and gloves are mandatory. 4) Even in 90-100 degree weather, top-notch rain gear is nearly a must-have especially in the morning when it's still warming up. When you're in the shadows of the canyon, things cool of quickly after being splashed with 50 degree water. 5) A good quality lotion - e.g. Bag Balm or Udderly Smooth - is a necessity. The dry air in combination with the wet/dry cycle of rafting will severely dehydrate your skin - especially hands/feet. Start applying the stuff BEFORE you notice issues and you'll be happier for it.
Miscellaneous random thoughts: 1) Be sure and bring good hiking shoes that will prevent your foot from sliding around/out of your shoes. Many of my fellow rafters had Keens. My wife made the mistake of taking a pair (Ecco Yucatans) that - while wrapping around her ankle - did not prevent her foot from moving forward. As a result, she was not able to hike as much as she would have liked. Sure footing/footwear on hikes across loose rubble is not a luxury, it's a requirement. 2) Commando or baby wipes were a nice luxury to bring along. 3) Sleeping out under the stars and seeing the Milky Way were two of the unexpected benefits of the trip. 4) Treat the experience like an expedition - not a mundane trip - and you will have the greatest of times. Having said that, also know your limits. If you're afraid of heights or have bad knees, a hike up a 1000 foot hill might not be for you. The guides were great about helping us work through those issues. 5) A pair (or 2) of pants with zip off lower leggings were another "must have". I ended up wearing pants on the raft to help deal with scratches from the rocks and rubbing my calves on the rubber boat while going thru the rapids. 6) Be prepared to make many new friends :)
I hope to repeat this adventure/expedition in the future; either thru the Grand Canyon again, or perhaps Moab.