Words Really Do Fall Short
Words really do fall short. But I'll do my humble best.
Let me begin by saying that the other reviews do not exaggerate where the guides are concerned. The guides make the trip. Although you will remain largely ignorant of the intricacies involved in steering a J-rig, you will nevertheless develop a great respect for the guides' ability to steer these boats. Their knowledge of the Grand Canyon geology and lore is astounding. They are gourmet cooks. They get up before 5:00 AM to get coffee started and don't go to bed until after 9:00 PM. That's a long day, and they work their asses off. Yet for all that, they are the friendliest, kindest and most patient bunch you can imagine. By the end of the trip, they felt like old friends. Our guides specifically were (in no particular order) Steve, Lindsey, Shad and RD.
This was my first exposure to the Grand Canyon, and to see it from the river before having any other impression was a great gift.
Many people will content themselves with a view from the Canyon rim. Unlike the river-goers below them, they will look down on the canyon, seeing only one side of it at a time. It's true scale will escape them. The roar of the Colorado will be distant -- if they can hear it at all.
But for you, on the river, the Grand Canyon's sheer walls will loom so far above you as to block the rim from view much of the time. You become an ant in a surreal landscape. You will travel not only downriver, but through eons as the canyon walls rise higher around you revealing ever more ancient strata of rock. The roar of the Colorado River will fill your ears. You'll see the Canyon at all times of day and night, in many different kinds of weather. You'll make stops along they way to explore side canyons and see things the rim tourists don't even dream of.
And of course, there are the rapids. Take the most exhilarating amusement park ride you've ever been on, and expunge it from your memory. It is a sad, paltry thing next to the glee of Hance, Hermit, Granite, Crystal, Lava Falls and the many other rapids along the way. If you are concerned about the rapids - don't be. If you can follow the simple instructions of the guides, you will remain on the boat.
If you want to see the Grand Canyon -- I mean really SEE it -- then this is the way to go.