Tonic for the Soul: Rafting the Grand Canyon’s Colorado River
Have you ever felt the need to get away and truly figure out what’s important in your life?
In September of 2018, I needed to figure out what, and how I was going to live the 2nd 50 years of my life. (Yes, I plan on living to 100!) Because I love the water, I decided to raft the Colorado River through the heart of the Grand Canyon. For 17 days!
I can’t say this strongly enough. “Do whatever you must to experience the Grand Canyon by floating the Colorado River.” There are just not enough words in all languages combined that can describe the beauty of this scar in the earth's crust.
You may ask “Why the Grand Canyon and not an epic river closer to home?”
Grand Canyon National Park is one of Earth’s greatest gifts to all of us. Its size, beauty, geology, and impressive human stories are unsurpassed anywhere in the world. Located in Northwestern Arizona, a few hours drive from Las Vegas, Nevada will get you to the South Rim. A chance to stand on the edge of this enormous, awe-inspiring, chasm in the earth’s crust.
The Grand Canyon is 4 to 18 miles wide and a mile deep. Created by the Colorado River that winds through it for 277 miles. When you stand on the edge, all noise melts away except the sound of your heartbeat.
Being on the rim is incredible. But I wanted to get deep in the canyon.
As I mentioned above, the best way to experience Grand Canyon is by rafting the Colorado River. There are several companies that can help you get started on your adventure and I have included links at the end.
I could rehash everything you have heard, read, or seen about the Grand Canyon and bore you to tears. But I would rather share with you the lessons and inspiration taken from this trip.
Teamwork is critical in rapids. I am a water-child and love the whitewater. For me, the Canyon is all about the river and the 100+ major rapids.
- When riding a rapid, you and everyone on the raft are a single unit working together to survive. So you can enjoy the next stretch of flat water.
- You have to shift your weight to stay stable and maximize your ride. Kind of like life.
- You’ll have to bail out any water that has come into the boat to lighten the load for the guide.
- And on occasion, you’ll have to sit perfectly still and hang on for dear life so that you all make it through the rapid, with the raft bottom-side down.
- If you’re lucky, you’ll get to “ride-the-bull”. This is where you sit on the front of the raft, feet dangling off, holding on the front rope like a bull rider for 8 seconds. Yee Ha!
Turn strangers into friends. Seventeen days is a long time to be on a boat with the same 20 people. You can become great friends or be sick of each other very quickly. Given a choice between the two, which path would you rather take? As we look at our current state of affairs in America. I can share with you, making friends and being respectful is easier and far more rewarding than not. As mom often said, you can catch more flies with honey than you can with vinegar.
Listen to your spirit. I went to the Canyon to lose myself. But found my self instead. I wanted to get as far away as possible from my life, my work, my friends…everything. I found that I got so far away that, spiritually, I ended up circumnavigating my hemisphere and bumping back into myself. And I was better for it.
Always gift privacy to others. It’s a fact! Everyone pees in the Colorado River. No exceptions. There is no way you’re going to climb the 500-foot high wall that is often the shoreline to find a pee spot. So privacy is rare. But our Master Guide gave me wise words that I will apply for the rest of my life.
“Canyon privacy is rare. You can’t always get it, but you can always give it.”
The more I think about this statement, the more I will apply it to other parts of my life. Obviously, it is applied to bathing the river. But it also means not participating in a conversation that does not involve me. Or notes written in someone else’s notebook. Privacy is both a gift and right.
As you would expect I give away stickers. Here is an image of all of our mugs decorated with many of our stickers. Each person was able to identify their specific mug. Mine is the one with the raven, Scott's is the upside-down bear, and Craig had 3 wolves on it. Can you identify those three mugs?
These and many more creature stickers are available in the Creature Collection from our website.
This road warrior’s entry is complete for now. I have over 60 on-river days in the Canyon and loved every minute. If you have a specific question or comment about Grand Canyon National Park or floating the Colorado River. Please leave a comment and I will reply. I’ll make more Grand Canyon entries as time passes.
Thank you and follow your heart.
Follow your Heart in Arizona's Grand Canyon.
Here is a list of companies that can help you get started on your adventure. They offer several options for your Grand Canyon float or rafting trips. You can find more by googling Grand Canyon Raft Trips. These companies offer a variety of choices, including trips 2–21 days in length. And completely motorized to 100% human-powered oar trips.