It was not a pretty picture when I came home from our week long adventure to the Grand Canyon. My husband planned this trip as one of his lifelong dreams to hike down the Grand Canyon and boat out on the Colorado River. I thought it would be fun but didn’t really grasp the details of the trip until the morning of the hike. We took an overnight train to Flagstaff, Arizona where we were picked up by a shuttle to take us the rest of the 3 hours it took to get to the South Rim of the Canyon. We stayed a night at the lovely El Tovar Hotel situated in the Park. So far so good. It starts to get a little uncomfortable when the next morning at 5 am we meet our outfitter, who is providing the guide along the hike and river guides for the boat that will be our transportation out of the Canyon on the River. That’s when I learned that the hike was actually going to be 9 1/2 miles not the 6 1/2 miles I had thought it would be and we would not have any showers for the 5 days we would be rafting down the River and no bathing in the River because it is extremely cold water and we can’t use any soap of any kind that would pollute the River. The hike was pretty arduous, mostly downhill with many rocks and boulders that had to be climbed down and the last two miles, my husband and I ran out of water. We were allowed to go at our own pace and we took advantage of that by taking many breaks along the way. The scenery was breathtaking however, even though we had taken Mules down the Canyon a couple of years ago and we followed the same trail, hikng allowed us a much different perspective of the magnificent landscape before us.
By the time we finally reached the Phantom Ranch at the bottom, we were exhausted and could only collapse in our beds in our bunk house that we shared with 9 others in our group. A shower and a ranch style dinner in the evening revived our spirits and then we all fell fast asleep for an early morning 6:00 am wake-up yell for breakfast. Getting out of bed was painful. I have never been so sore in all of my life. Everyone complained of sore calf muscles and there was a lot of moans and groan. After breakfast, we packed up our duffles and walked down to the boat launch where we met our river guides and hopped on our motorized boat.
We were on the boat for 5 days and 4 nights, spending about 6 or 7 hours a day going through rapids, hiking, getting to know everyone in our group and admiring the beautiful Canyon.
We stopped at sandy beaches for a filling lunch prepared by our Guides and at night we were responsible for setting up our tents and were served a sumptuous dinner and each morning a substantial breakfast. Our wakeup call came every morning at 5:30 am because we had to be on the River by 7:00 to get our 60-70 miles in and get to the good camping spots before any of the other boats.
The reason it was not a pretty picture when we came home was because neither of us had showered for 5 days, my nails were all chipped and my hair was a mess. The clothes we had on were the least dirty but not exactly clean and both my Husband & I had gained a few pounds because of the three large meals and two snacks we ate every day while on the River. But it was an incredible trip and evidently only 25,000 people a year see the Grand Canyon while traveling down the Colorado River.