Grand Canyon Rafting Reading?
Replies: 15 - Last Post: Aug 18, 2013 8:16 AM Last Post By: carracar
Jul 5, 2013 8:11 AM
Jul 5, 2013 9:03 AM
Might hold you over until you can go.
Jul 5, 2013 11:20 AM
3Do a search on Maj. John Wesley Powell. He led the first expedition of white men down the Colorado River and through the Grand Canyon. It Began at Green River City WY and ended at Grand Wash AZ. It is one of History's greatest scientific expeditions. He covered almost a thousand miles through what was largely a blank spot on the maps of the day. Anything he wrote or was written about him and his expeditions is good background for your adventure.
Do a search on the Kolb brothers.
Do a search on Georgie White. She invented modern Grand Canyon River Rafting.
Do a search on Glen and Bessie Hyde. They were two honeymooners who vanished in the Grand Canyon in 1928. Their boat and all of their belongings were found in tact in the canyon weeks later. The disappearance remains a complete mystery.
Do a search on the history of the Grand Canyon and the people who have lived in and around it for centuries.
There are dozens if not hundreds of Youtube videos taken on raft trips. Some of them are very good and very professional looking. In my opinion, the definitive Grand Canyon movie has yet to be made. It is just too difficult to make movies there. If you plan to do any photography there, or if you don't, don't take anything that you are not fully prepared to lose or ruin. The Colorado River takes what it wants and breaks much that it doesn't want. The rafting outfitter will tell you this. It isn't a joke. I settled for a half dozen of the cheapest, WalMart, throw-away, waterproof cameras that I could find. The pictures from the surviving cameras were fine.
PM me if you have specific questions. I've done three raft trips through the Grand Canyon and I want to do another.
Jul 5, 2013 12:08 PM
Jul 5, 2013 2:15 PM
5We are now ready to start on our way down the Great Unknown. Our boats. . . are chafing each other, as they are tossed by the fretful river. We have but a month’s rations remaining. The flour has been resifted through the mosquito-net sieve; the spoiled bacon has been dried. . . the sugar has all melted and gone on its way down the river. We are three quarters of a mile in the depths of the earth, and the great river shrinks into insignificance, as it dashes its angry waves agains the walls and cliffs, that rise to the world above; they are but puny ripples, and we are but pigmies, running up and down the sands, or lost among the boulders. We have an unknown distance yet to run; an unknown river yet to explore. What falls there are, we know not; what rocks beset the channel, we know not; what walls rise over the river, we know not.
Major John Wesley Powell, from Exploration
What happened to the three men who deserted at Separation Creek is as much of a mystery as what happened to the Hydes. I have heard four believable but completely conflicting stories over the years. There isn't a shred of evidence to support any of them. The memorial at Separation Creek asserts the "killed by Indians" version.
Between the Hydes, the Kolbs, and Powell's MIAs, there is enough material for proper ghost strories after supper. Fire regulations usually prohibit the requisite campfires so you'll probably hear the stories in the dark..
Jul 5, 2013 5:58 PM
6True, the killed by indians theory is the most prevalant theory, but there isn't hard evidence. And, Powell only had one arm (lost one in the Civil War), yet he climbed out of the canyon at one point to make observations to locate where they were.
Powell's is one of the great stories from the grand age of exploration - up there with Livingston and Stanley in Africa or Admudson in Antarctica.
Jul 5, 2013 6:15 PM
Jul 6, 2013 11:14 AM
Jul 6, 2013 12:40 PM
Allow me to suggest a better mindset. Nothing on a Grand Canyon raft tour should be "uncomfortable."
First, I can't say enough positive things about the guides. They prefer to be called "boatmen."
Where else can you sleep on the ground under the stars and on top of your sleeping bag in your underwear if that?
Where else do you get three meals a day fixed on the spot in the middle of a wilderness? I'm talking about mimosa and eggs cooked to order for breakfast and cold beer and steak cooked to order for dinner. Little or nothing is freeze-dried. Most of it is fresh or frozen. You are expected to supply your own alcohol. Dessert can be anything from a cake baked on the spot to cherries jubilee to ice cream. The "secret ingredient" is the fine-as-flour sand that will permeate everything by the end of the trip. You'll notice that your food "lacks something" after the trip.
Where else will you have a 360-degree "view" of the Grand Canyon from your bathroom? Where else can you bathe in a river without worrying about what may float by save for other raft tours? Some bathers don't worry about other raft tours. They'll probably never see each other again in any case
No one will criticize your table manners. There's no "table" so it is easy. The canyon provides endless possibilities for seating arrangements.
You will make new friends. Everyone trades E-mail addresses during the trip. You will be amazed at how informal everyone is by the end of the trip.
You have two weeks where no one will worry about what is "fashionable." Select all clothing strictly for functionality and comfort. It will all, pretty much, look the same by the end of the trip in any case. I strongly recommend that you follow the outfitter's recommendations on clothing. The wrong clothing can lead directly to a miserable experience.
You have two weeks of complete freedom from all of the electronic gadjets that have invaded our lives. I never needed so much as a flashlight. If you have normal vision, you don't need one. Take one for emergencies but you may never take it out of your day-bag. The only other electronic device that is justifiable is a camera. Leave everything else that involves batteries and electricity at the hotel. All you will do is break it.
Do these things and you should have a great time with no "discomfort."
Jul 6, 2013 1:06 PM
Jul 9, 2013 12:07 AM
11I guess I'm late to the party here, but obviously I couldn't pass this one up.
First off - congratulations on the the excellent choice! There's nothing like a Canyon rafting trip, and among canyon rafting trips, nothing compares to a full two-week rowing trip (IMHO, of course). A fascinating thing I noticed with the guided trips I've been on and interacted with (I've also been on a private, i.e. non-guided, trip and several science research trips) - everyone feels that the trip they're doing is exactly the right one. The folks on the oar trips wonder how anyone can stand those giant motor boats...the folks on the motor boats think the oar-powered inflatables and dories look dangerous and uncomfortable...the folks on 6-day trips think two weeks would be way way too much...those on the two week trips can't imagine why you'd want to rush. Obviously there is some psychology at play - everyone wants to feel like the made the right choice. but I think the more significant take-away is that so long as you're up for the fairly minor "roughing it" elements, there's pretty much no way to have anything other than a fabulous experience.
You've received a lot of great reading suggestions, but I'll chime in with a few specific suggestions.
I love Powell's Exploration, but I found I didn't really appreciate it until I'd marked the pages that correspond to the various landmarks and distinctive features of the canyon, and re-read them when coming upon these localities. Your guides will likely recite passages at semi-regular intervals. The "diary" aspect is of course a fabrication, with the book being completed years after the fact based on brief field notes, conflating the events two separate expeditions while attributing it all to the crew of the first one, and certainly sanitizing some of Powell's, shall we say, less admirable qualities as an expedition leader. Nonetheless, it is a delightful companion and Powell's prose evokes a sense of the place as powerfully as anything written since.
Wallace Stegner's 1953 classic Beyond the Hundredth Meridian is a fine text on Powell's life and legacy, but borders on hagiography. More recent biographies paint a more nuanced picture of the man.
The definitive text on Glenn and Bessie Hyde is Brad Dimock's Sunk Without a Sound. Great read.
A Story that Stands Like a Dam is a wonderful introduction to the most contentious issue facing river users for the past several decades - the construction and operation of Glen Canyon Dam. Very significant parts of the your daily life while on the river within Grand Canyon are directly impacted by the existence of the dam and how it is operated, the story of it's construction is fascinating, and necessary for understanding the passionate feelings people continue to have about it. A pulpy counterpoint to this book might be Edward Abbey's Monkey Wrench Gang, a goofball classic of new-west popular fiction. Abbey's more reflective series of non-fiction essays Down the River should be required reading.
Jul 13, 2013 10:36 AM
Aug 17, 2013 5:06 PM
Aug 17, 2013 11:01 PM
14Welcome to Thorn Tree.
A raft trip through the Grand Canyon is a fabulous experience that you will not forget..
Sixteen companies operate raft tours through Grand Canyon National Park. They are members of GCROA. I would not hesitate to book a trip with any of them. I've rafted the canyon with three of them and they were great. Pick the one who can best meet your budget, schedule, and type of trip desired. Personally, I find that the lower the ratio of tourists to guides, the better the experience. That would be an "oar raft" trip, or, if money isn't a problem, a "dory" trip. Dories are how Major Powell did the trip.
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