May 1. 2012
Kathy & Dakota
Charlie: “How’d you like it?’
Rosie: “I never dreamed…”
Charlie: “I don’t blame you for being scared- not one bit.
Nobody with good sense ain’t scared of whitewater.”
Rosie: “I never dreamed that any mere physical experience
could be so stimulating.”
-Humphrey Bogart & Katherine Hepburn in the film, “The
Every few years, Kathy gets an itch to do a big river trip
with friends and family. This tradition goes back years and being that it has
been a few years since she took a big trip (paddling the Baja), she was pretty
excited to plan this year’s excursion, an eight day rafting adventure down the
Colorado River through the incredible Grand Canyon.
Kathy has been planning the trip for months and for this
adventure she was accompanied by her Aunt Kathy, who flew in from Massachusetts
and our friend Dakota, fresh off finishing her senior year at the University of
Florida in Gainesville. The three amigos each flew out to meet in Las Vegas,
where they were picked up and driven five hours to the Marble Canyon Ranch in
Marble Canyon, Arizona which served as the departure point for the river
The company they selected, Moki Mac, provided the 35’ motorized
pontoon rafts capable of holding twelve passengers and two guides. The company provided
all the camping gear and did all the food preparation during the entirety of
the 280 mile journey from Lees Ferry to Lake Mead. Usually the rafts are
completely full and the river can be crowded but Kathy was smart enough to
schedule early enough in the river season, this was one of their first trips,
that there were only two other women passengers along on their raft and their
two guides for a total of seven people. Almost like having a private rafting
and camping adventure to themselves.
It would be hopeless to try and capture the splendor and grandeur
of the Grand Canyon and the Colorado River, which carves its way through one of
the most incredible natural features on the planet. Kathy had never experienced
it and to say it was a fairly magical trip most likely would not do it justice.
The photos here, while wonderful also can not actually capture the
awe-inspiring beauty of the place.
While over four million people visit the Canyon each year,
only a few thousand do so by traveling the river. Permits are limited and
difficult to come by unless you are one of the few licensed outfitters such as
Moki Mac, so the ladies were indeed treated to a rare and special treat.
The guides, Stiner & Mikey did a great job not only
guiding the rafts down the river through some incredible rapids; they also set
up camp with a full camp kitchen and did all the cooking for three meals a day.
This trip wasn’t all about Ramen noodles and baked beans either. The first
night featured Filet Mignon and an amazing salad which just the start of eight
days of amazing food to accompany the adventure.
The two additional passengers Shirley & Susan were two
sisters who meet each year to enjoy this rafting adventure. They were making
their tenth rafting trip down the Colorado together. The lack of additional
people both on the raft, at the campsites and on the river in general was
pretty cool as well. The weather mostly cooperated as well, though there was
one day when it was pretty chilly- overall the weather was about perfect as
The days were broken up nicely. Up early each morning for
breakfast, breaking camp and then loading up and heading down the river. Along
the way they would stop at significant or interesting sites, sometimes taking
breaks to hike up into the Canyon, check out some interesting historical or
natural feature or to eat lunch. At any time all manner of rapids would appear
along the river and the fun of running rapids on the raft would punctuate the
days. It was a pretty amazing adventure.