Feature series - Part III

‘After being back at my desk for two days getting caught up with my work and all the mundane problems that accompany it, my thoughts drift back to the canyon,’ wrote Jim Zimmerman, of Wisconsin. ‘Life in the canyon was filled with adventure from the time you get up until sleep finally arrives.’ 

A trip down the Grand Canyon offers many experiences. While the whitewater rapids and majestic scenery fulfill Colorado river rafters’ sense of adventure, the side trips and hikes thrill many as well.

The hikes planned along the way give boaters a chance to get their ground legs back! Timed to provide a boating break along the river’s path, the hikes provide physical challenge, historical observation and personal accomplishment. (How to get my 55 year-old body up over a cascade of rocks in a slot canyon? Anyone have a crane?)

Archeology, geology and more recent human history, are just some of what the hikes provide. The guides lead, point out and discuss features of the different sites. Since we went in July, the hikes were hot! While occasionally you’d find much-desired shade along the trails, most of the time your water bottle was your best friend. By the time you got back to the boat, that 50 degree water temperature did not feel like a bad thing!

Several outstanding hikes-

South Canyon - This was the first long hike. The hike was long and scenic, with a small waterfall at the end. We had spent the night on a sandbar nearby.

I skipped the trek this time, saying I needed to write this story. The reality was I cherished being alone in such a quiet setting at a river bend, with the magnificent stone mountains towering above. It provided mental peace. For me, it supported my concept as God as creator of such beautiful places. I’ve never felt as spiritually sated, as the two times I’ve taken the Grand Canyon trip.  

Redwall Cavern - This provided a shaded refuge in the summer heat. The enormous cavern was immense! It provided a cool, early afternoon retreat. (My husband Dennis’ snoring as he napped reverberated off the walls of the cave!) Major John Wesley Powell said he thought the cavern could fit 50,000 people. 

Little Colorado River - What a great time! The gentle, warm, aqua-blue water travels down to the Colorado River. It’s such a surprise and treat to see water that blue! You feel you’ve landed in some ‘other world’ just created for movies...but it’s right there. 

Havasu Creek - The (somewhat treacherous) walk back to the terraced oasis provided a fun respite. ‘I think I found my new special place,’ said Lynette, another river rafter from California, as she sat beneath an aqua blue waterfall.

Deer Creek Falls - This large falls could be accessed quickly from the river. Many hiked to the overlook above the falls, called the patio, to look down on the cascading water below. 

In the whole of my life experiences, I’d be hard put to find anything more important than this trip. If at all possible, everyone should experience rafting through the Grand Canyon at least once in their lifetime.