Team GKC (Ciara, Colm and Dermot) departed for Grand Canyon in mid-May expecting nice warm weather … but woke up one morning to snow on the rim, which was unexpected and very unusual for the time of year. Some cold and wet days were encountered, meaning a shorty cag being worn over a summer cag on some occasions for warmth. Most days were still lovely and sunny, however.
The nine Yanks turned out to be a great group – Colm had all singing Green and Red of Mayo by end of the trip! You do tend to meet very nice folks on these river trips.
As well as our three kayaks the fleet consisted of one dory (imagine taking a currach down the biggest whitewater you can imagine) plus one cataraft and four rafts. We had 19 days on the river with great paddling, great hikes and good times. More river adventures were had on this trip than past ones – a raft flipped in Crystal and a rafter was ejected in Bedrock (the raft eventually came out right side up 15-20 minutes later to much relief all around, with just two broken oars to show for all the excitement).
All three kayakers paddled all rapids with no swims – so very successful on the paddling front.
After 19 days and 280 miles, it was – unfortunately – time to return to the real world. The toilets and crowds in the fast-food joint en route back to Flagstaff were a shock to the system.
The whitewater is only a part of a trip like this – being in a beautiful, remote part of the world, disconnected from everything for over two weeks, is great. The US National Park Service runs the permit lottery every February. If you’re not in, you can’t win … and if you do win, we can help … in return for places on the permit of course!