My parents called me in June with a plan to float the Grand Canyon. Did I want to join?
Of course! That is certainly the ultimate national park adventure, is it not? When are you thinking? Next year?
Nope. Next month.
What can only be described as a miracle, there were seats available on a trip in July. People wait for years for this opportunity and in 24 hours I was looking at a packing list for a week of rafting. It took another 24 hours for it to sink in that I had just signed up for my worst nightmare: camping (the poop in a bucket and sleep under the stars type) on sand (I hate the beach) with a bunch of strangers (there is a reason I travel solo).
I also knew how very important this was to my mother. I suggested that we take a tour of all the gorgeous historical lodges of the parks where there would be flush toilets and fine dining but this was her choice. So I buckled my life jacket and prepared to be soaked.
Clearly Hollywood producers are not the outdoorsy types that have discovered the Grand Canyon because otherwise we would have a reality show about 32 strangers that decide to spend a week floating down a river, shitting in the same bucket and attempting to get along under primitive conditions. The material would be rich and endless.
First, you would have to contemplate the type of people that would choose this sort of adventure in the first place. Athletic, nature lovers? As it turns out, not really. From a well-known blue grass singer to a house cleaner and from families to singles, it spanned a remarkable range of backgrounds, ages and reasons for taking on the challenge. They were not exactly the people I would choose to have should a true emergency occur and be forced to depend on their capabilities. Fortunately we had four grungy, bearded, alcoholic guides who I developed complete faith in to get us through.
Days were spent alternating between shivering from the cold water and baking in the heat. There was no happy medium. A shower consisted of a dunk in the dirty water. Sand was ubiquitous: in your clothes, between your sheets, flavoring every bite.
But for 6 days we rode a roller coaster Disney could never match. In between, there was 24/7 viewing of the most stunning scenery I have ever encountered. It is so hard to grasp what Grand means until you have experienced it at that level. I am beyond privileged to have the opportunity to see the Grand Canyon in such an intimate way.
After a shower and with ice in my beverage, I contemplated the trip. We laughed and ate and let the world spin on without us for a week. It was awesome. I am so glad I did it. I am so glad it is over.