Posted by David Hablewitz
I just returned from my adventure as trip leader, taking 16 people on a rafting expedition down the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon; 21 days, 226 miles. It was an amazing journey that explored the geologic depths of the Earth exposed by The Canyon like a biology student examines the internal organs of a frog through a scalpel cut. Yet this expedition was as much about delving into personal introspection and group dynamics as it was about examining the physiology of the Earth. They always are.
An expedition is defined as a journey undertaken for a specific purpose, often exploratory or scientific in nature. While the intentions of these 16 people may have been purely for recreational purposes, the result was much more for everyone.
A rafting expedition through the Grand Canyon has many facets: the amazing scenery; the hikes through stunning side canyons; the remoteness and what I would call protection, rather than isolation, from the outside world; the simplified lifestyle; the camaraderie of living closely among friends; the quiet time for personal reflection and introspection; and hours of relaxing drifting on calm water with the occasional brief moment of Adrenalin anticipating the next big rapid just to remind you you’re alive. Then there are the elements that aren’t discussed so much: the risks off the river; the hard work; the conflicts; the dry skin; the group dynamics generated from living so closely with and depending on a small group of people for your survival. These are the elements that differentiate a Grand Canyon expedition from a vacation in Hawaii.
Many of my friends have asked me what is it like to go on such an adventure. They want to hear the stories and see lots of photographs. Most people envision such a trip as just a really long vacation spent sightseeing. For some who have actually visited the Grand Canyon and viewed it from the South Rim park, they think it is 21 days of views just like what they saw. The reality is that The Canyon is more like the backdrop for a movie and it is the action that takes place during the trip that makes the adventure. So for the next month I am dedicating this website to a daily account of our expedition to give a more accurate feeling of what it’s like to go on a rafting expedition through the Grand Canyon. Check back daily to get a recounting of the adventure in real time. The adventure begins now…