Travels with Tucker

Travels with Tucker

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Rafting the Grand Canyon

I have followed Gary Hart for years, admiring his photography and wishing I could justify the cost of taking a photo workshop from him.  When I received an email from Gary last summer about a photo workshop trip rafting the Colorado with him, we jumped on it right away.  Good thing, because it filled up by the next day!  So for months we have been anticipating and planning around a week on the Colorado in May.  We have done river trips before, but this was the Colorado--the granddaddy of all whitewater trips in the country--and a major bucket-list item for both of us.  The fact that it would be photography-oriented was just icing on the cake!

After the long and arduous trains/planes/automobiles journey to the put-in place on the river, we were briefed (the first of many chapters) on packing and life on the rafts.  We were given one last chance to back out as this was a one-way highway with no off ramps for 188 miles!

All in all, we spent six days and five nights on the river in the hands of very experienced and capable guides.  We ran huge rapids with standing waves as high as our boat was long and we all got completely soaked over and over again in the very chilly 50-degree water.  We hiked up side canyons and saw gorgeous waterfalls, ancient Indian ruins, slot canyons, streams with water the blue-green color of a swimming pool and caverns as large as a symphony hall. We had fabulous meals and slept on fine-sand beaches and fought rain, wind, blowing sand.  We cruised past what seemed like hundreds of side canyons and under walls nearly a mile overhead.  We saw rocks over 2 billion years old and we learned to pee in the river (because L.A. needs the water, as our guides told us!).

I have more pictures to post than I can fit in this blog post, so I will be making a few more posts, but here is a sampling of what we experienced on this trip. I will also hopefully post some shots and videos that other people took on the trip, so keep checking back every few days.

Getting ready to launch
We bathed in the river at the end of the day--very chilly but refreshing!
Sunrise light hits the walls of the canyon on our second morning
Redwall Cavern.  John Wesley Powell thought it could hold 50,000 people!
Some rafters doing the river on their own
We had two rafts in our expedition, each holding 14 people.  Here is a shot of our sister boat.
The rock formations in the canyon were a never-ending source of wonder--an all-day IMAX show ;-)
It is hard to convey in pictures the scale of this place

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