By: Chaney Dalton and Zach Arroyo
We drove from our quirky campground (which included huge plastic dinosaurs, and mannequins in booths) to the Colorado River within the Grand Canyon. We met our river guides, Dave, Marcus, and Krista, from Prescott College at the put-in. From there we embarked on the journey of a lifetime. We traveled five minutes down a small set of riffles to our first campsite. We were still within sight of the put-in. We spun the raft in circles an impressive number of times for the short distance we traveled. It’s important to note that Ethan stood out as the worst paddler of the group–he is proud of this title! Upon our arrival to our first campsite, it immediately began raining it is also believed that the rain was Ethan’s fault. (Disclaimer: we do not really believe this but the long inside joke that got us to this point is honestly hard to explain in writing. You just…..had to be there!). At this point we were cold, wet, and a bit sad but we still had a nice “circle” — a meeting where we shared personal stories in response to a prompt, which included our river guides.
We woke, packed up, ate breakfast, and were ready to take on the river. The water level increased 8,000 cubic feet per second overnight because of a controlled release of water from Lake Powell. We paddled (still in circles) through a few rapids and managed not to flip the boat or lose any passengers. The increased flow washed out most of the larger rapids by submerging the features that created more technical boating. On this day, Zach was dared to push one of our instructors, Sam or Brittany, into the water from the raft. Unfortunately, despite his valiant effort, Zach ultimately ended up in the water. He made a big “meat-stake.” Speaking of meat-stakes (mistake), we continued to spin in circles past the stopping point for a day hike we were supposed to do. Fortunately, we did not miss the stop for our campsite. We had a nice dinner and slept well.
Day 3 (Big Kahuna)
Day 3 was a doozy. We had 33 long river miles and 10 almost competent paddlers and Ethan ❤️. We were #blessed with tailwinds all day making our predicted 9-11 hour voyage a mere 7 hours. We played a lot of word games until we ran out of words we knew. We set a personal record for the number of donuts/minute. We were already tired and cranky and pulled into potentially the worst campsite of all time. It was named Cow Pie campsite and lived up to its name. But on the bright side, our group got to eat 8 boxes of pasta that night that only had a little bit of sand in it. This however was not true of our slumber tubes aka sleeping bags.
We awoke the next morning more sand than human, with sand in places that shouldn’t be mentioned here. Overnight we couldn’t discern whether we were being pelted by rain or sand. We were crusty but nonetheless composed ourselves and packed up camp for the last time. We paddled with a record low number of donuts/minute and arrived on time at our take-out. From there we took a short hike to view the biggest rapid we’d seen by far, Pierce Ferry Rapid. We were beyond incapable of rafting it but it was pretty to look at. We departed the take-out and began our 7 hour journey feeling grateful for our guides and proud of Ethan for progressing from terrible at paddling to just really bad.