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rafting the Grand canyon.....

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 
rafting the Grand canyon.....

since the snow is gone on the ski hills ... I am going to try to get my adreneline going on the raft.... we leave on the 6th of June.... 6 days 180 miles and many rapids....

any body here done the trip..... if so did you like it ...any tips on packing /clothing etc...
post #2 of 24
It'll very possibly be the trip of a lifetime. It will amaze you.

Private or commercial? Put in and take out? Are you putting in at the top & helicoptering out at Whitmore (as your mileage might suggest)? What is your experience level with this type of trip? Esp knowing how much flexibility you have - if commercial, do you get to decide, or get to nag the guides, or just do what they say? Most commercial trips should give you a bring list that is pretty well honed by experience. Anyway, knowing these things would help in formulating reasonable comments...

One thing that is counter-intuitive. Esp at the top, the water is just frickin freezing. Comes out of the bottom of a very big dam. And the air is likely to be very hot - esp away from the river. Not as hot as July/Aug, but pretty toasty. And sun stuff, can't use too much sun stuff - especially on the tops of your feet if you are wearing sandals...
post #3 of 24
Thread Starter 
We are doing a commercial trip.... Western River Expeditions

Putting in at Lee's Ferry and helecopter out at Whitmore Wash 188 miles down stream.

They did give a packing list (relatively complete) http://www.westernriver.com/trips/gr...s.php#clothing

I was just looking for general tips form somebodies experience.

I have done rafting trips that are day long with many class 4 & 5 rapids. They were paddle trips this is a motor raft... so basically hold on....

I am not sure about the flexibility though on past trips you could give input as to the easy or rougher line through the rapids.

I did the flat water portion a couple years ago from Glen Canyon dam to Lee's ferry and yes the Water was cold.

I am planning to try to catch some rainbow trout in the evening & early mornings .....tips on that would be good too -- if you have any ideas ot share.

I am getting excited...
post #4 of 24
I'll try to come up with some better & more complete thoughts later. A few quick ones though...

Rainbow trout - it is a strange place for them. There are tons of them and they are always hungry. When I kayaked the canyon, it was easier catching rainbows there than at the local U-Fish. The fishing types started out pretty serious - then we figured out how hungry and stupid the fish were. We played with exotic things like corn, strips of paper, etc. Many fish died...

The guide suggestions I referred to were for hikes. The trip is as much or more about what is near the river as the river itself. North Canyon, Matcatameba, Havasu, Unkar, Elves Chasm... The list goes on and on and on. Read the guidebooks and check out pics. Be sure to do butt dams at Matcatameba --- there's a place where you can sit 3-4 abreast jammed tight and the water will pile up on your backs - lift your butts up and you get a 50 yard instant group water slide. This activity is only for the serious and mature...

Take a light sheet to sleep in on top of your sleeping bag on hot nights.

Beware of red ants. Really nasty...

Don't let anyone in your group jump naked out of the cave behind the waterfall in elves chasm - it'd be wrong and you'd be breaking the law...

Bring a few LED headlamps. Good for hands free stuff after dark. Great way to read in the evening.

In addition to Teva/Chaco type sandals for heavy duty use, bring some vanilla flipflops for schlubbing around camp.

Hats with decent size brims. Bring an extra or two.

If you wear contacts, prepare for hell. That red super fine gritty sand gets into everything. You can't imagine... Bring extra lenses and tons and tons of extra saline.

More later if you are interested...
post #5 of 24
Thread Starter 
Your comments about the trout are interesting..... I am hoping that it will be that easy....
how big were the ones that you guys were catching?
how many years ago did you do the trip?

I will e-mail and inquire about the North Canyon, Matcatameba, Havasu, Unkar, Elves Chasm... ...I have a couple of guide books ....one waterproof that I will be bringing.

any hints/tips about the red ants.... are they similar to fire ants?

diving naked into 50 degree water.....hmmm can you say "shrinkage"

got a good headlamp.... have to watch the wieght due to the charter flight form Vegas and the chopper ride out. (they are saying 20 pounds: )

keep the thoughts coming.....


post #6 of 24
I did the trip in July/Aug 91.

Most of the trout we caught were probably 14-18 inches. All were skinny suckers though. We really killed them while hanging out at Red Wall Cavern one lunch time. Eventually the fishing types got bored. It was not elegant dry fly type stuff.

I think the red ants are native fire ants (not the imported super-nasties). Which reminds me - bring your own stash (a few tubes/sticks) of sting-EZ. Trust me on this. You'll appreciate having it handy - and by the end of trip other people will offer you money, goods, "services", etc for some of it.

The water in elves chasm is warmer than the river. And besides, you don't really hit the water until after flying through the air where everyone can see you

You won't need huge headlamps. On the tiny side the BD ion and Princeton Tec Scout are in the 1 to 2 oz range. Slightly bigger - the Princeton Tec EOS and Aurora are in the +/- 3 oz range. You probably won't need anything bigger than these. Take a few headlamps, plus batteries. Between after-dinner stuff and reading you'll use them a few hours a night. And trust me on this too - if you have a spare to share, by late in the trip when people's flashlights are dying, someone will offer you even more money, goods, or "services" than they will for sting-EZ That is unless the raft co brings extras for folks

The best place to save weight and space is to carry a super-lightweight synthetic sleeping bag and a lightweight thermarest.

Oh yeah - and banadanas - and tinactin type stuff - and for hikes a fanny pack that can hold at least a quart water bottle (inside or clipon).

One other thing worth noting - the big motor rigs really make many of the rapids seem pretty small. It'll probably be the big ones like Hance, Crystal, Lava, etc that get your attention. On the other hand, the scenery and the hikes will be more than worth your while.
post #7 of 24
Don't miss the Thunder River hike. Also, the Little Colorado can be a fun place to go swimming.

The Grand Canyon is a great trip. The hikes are wonderful. And I second Spindrift's comments about headlamps. Take a couple. They're not heavy.

post #8 of 24
Speaking of "sting EZ"........Keep an eye out for scorpions.

Ex-husband (when he was younger, skinnier and smelled better ) did that run in about '85 on a survey trip to map the beaches for the Geologic Survey. Loading up the rafts one morning, he wrapped his arms around a box and got nailed in the forearm. The scorpion (fortunately small) was just hanging out on the side of the box. His arm swelled considerably and got tingly and numb for several days, but fortunately he didn't have to be evacuated.
post #9 of 24
Thread Starter 
having trouble finding the Sting EZ any ideas on who sells that stuff?
post #10 of 24
Check out this page http://www.rei.com/online/store/Sear...t=REI_S EARCH

There's Sting Eze (OK, so I spelled it wrong before...), After Bite, etc. Just see which of the insect bite treatment products sings to you. Then order a couple or three . Most pharmacies, at least around here, also carry these or similar products this time of year.
post #11 of 24
I have not done the Grand Canyon, but I have done 90 miles on the Green in Utah. Similar conditions, very cold water and very hot air. High elevation and unrelenting sun.

I wore an old tuxedo shirt and was glad that I thought of it. The white reflected the sun well and kept me cooler than if I had bared my skin to the sun. I forgot to put sun block on my ears and they were toasted so bad they blistered. Slather it on!

For my camera I bought a military surplus ammo box which is completely air tight. It ended up floating in the bottom of the raft a couple of times, but the camera never got wet. If you do this, crack open the box before you go home. When I returned to sea level the air pressure on the box was so great I almost needed a crowbar to open it.
post #12 of 24
Thread Starter 
I am getting very excited.... we hit the river in 2 weeks ....picke dup an extra headlamp today.... I have the light weight fast drying long & short sleeve shirts.

A good hat... my collapsable pole and reel are ready... 2 pair of sun glasses,,,, good water sneakers (solomon)and on & on...

I feel like santa checking my list

any other tips would be great....


post #13 of 24
I did a 6-8 day trip? (can't remember exactly) Grand Canyon raft trip many years ago with Hatch, the outfitter who used to take the Kennedy family on their river trips. Absolutely loved it. Still ranks as one of my all-time favorite vacations.

1. Be sure to bring the best sunscreen you can find -- and put it on every 2 hours. If you can track down La Roche Posay ANTHELIOS 60+ XL you will be a happy camper. (it's the best sunscreen in the world -- you can get it on eBay or in Europe and South America -- just not in the U.S. yet, except at a few upscale drugstores that hide it under the counter. Kills all the UVA and UVB rays.)

And you'll want a BANDANA to soak in the river and apply to your neck and nose. . . your membranes dry out so much it's painful. That is my biggest phsyical memory. 115 degree days and just suffereing from dry nose.

You must have a hat that TIES onto your head --or bring many hats and be prepared to lose them. And spare set of sunglasses -- with cords to hold them on.

In the a.m., you'll want to wear rain pants, 'cause it's chilly and the water's freezing. By the afternoon you'll be boiling.

Most people brought really secure waterproof containers for their cameras -- still several got too wet and broke. (the cameras, not the people).

I highly recommend keeping a journal (buy a waterproof one). You are so bombarded with sensations and feelings you'll regret not taking notes. I kept a diary, which has provided deeper, more long-lasting and fun memories than the photos.

We also brought along John Wesley Powell's journal and would compare his descriptions of Mile 1, 2, 3, etc. to ours. Thrilling.

There's nothing like lying on your air mattress at night, watching shooting stars above your head as you drift off to sleep.
You will love this . . .
post #14 of 24

You'll absolutely love it. It's an incredible experience.

Spindrift (and family) have done a lot of this, so take all his advice you can get. pheft's suggestion about the ammo can for camera's is a very good one. I took my digital along and it survived the trip very well (photos to follow).

Tons of sunscreen - more than you think you could possibly need. Extra sunglasses and hats. Hats that cover your ears are good too. Gloves even make sense from a sun standpoint (if you're a flyfisherman, those very lightweight open-finger fishing gloves would be perfect). If you're taking a digital camera, take as many extra batteries as you can, mine ran out by Phantom Ranch.

As far as fishing is concerned, Spindrift is right. The fish are very cooperative as long as the water is clear. I think anything would work pretty well. I used hopper imitations with midges as a dropper and the fish were hitting both. I caught one after another from the Lee's Ferry put-in to where the Paria River enters. When we did the trip (early Ocotber), the Paria was running full blast and turned the Colorado into a reddish-brown soup. I tried many times after that but didn't catch another fish in the Colorado after that.

If you'll be doing much hiking (which is HUGELY recommended), take along some good hiking shoes. Drink lots of water during the day.

Here are a few photos to get you excited:

I'll post a few more this evening.

post #15 of 24
More photos of things you'll see:

I want to go back. :

Have a great time.

post #16 of 24
Thread Starter 
thanks ....nice pics....

it is going to be hard to focus the next 13 days while at work...

found the sting-eze at Wally World.....

this 20pound packing limit ....is the only thing that makes it tricky...

still open for any other tips or suggestions....
post #17 of 24
I picked up a cancelled private permit for June 9th, after being on the wait list for 10 years and had another 10 to go before my name would of worked it's way to the top. I can understand your excitement. I'm over whelmed with the planning (organizing 20 people for 18 days, 3 hiking out at phantom and 3 hiking.) I think we are about ready to go, this will be my second trip, but the only time I'll ever get to take my wife and 2 boys 14 & 16. Remember to be nice to the poor privates and they always offer them ice.

Nice photos Bob P. remember me from the Virtual Fly Shop, we've spoke on the phone a time or two.

post #18 of 24
Thread Starter 
The trip was the BEST one I have ever done.... absolutely incredible

We spent 6 days on the river.... the food the people the scenery the RAPIDS the 5 nights of camping (even without the pop up) were magnificent

Once I wade thru the 370 photos I took I will post a link to my webshots.

We slept out under the stars nearly every night.... and you could see the milky way and so many stars it was hard to close your eyes...

We hiked most days to incredible swimming holes in the side canyons

This was an incredible trip .....

THanks for the adivce....
post #19 of 24
Originally Posted by mikebike
The trip was the BEST one I have ever done.... absolutely incredible

We spent 6 days on the river.... the food the people the scenery the RAPIDS the 5 nights of camping (even without the pop up) were magnificent

Once I wade thru the 370 photos I took I will post a link to my webshots.

We slept out under the stars nearly every night.... and you could see the milky way and so many stars it was hard to close your eyes...

We hiked most days to incredible swimming holes in the side canyons

This was an incredible trip .....

THanks for the adivce....
I'm jealous. Looking forward to the pics. I've been there twice and have only seen it from the top. Still nice, but I felt a strong need to go down and explore it. I left both times and felt like I was missing something. And looking at Bob's pics I'm reassured that I did miss a lot.
post #20 of 24
Thread Starter 
Here is a LInk to the Rafting Photos



post #21 of 24
I just got home last night from my 18 day private trip. We had a GRAND time, I'll post some pix when I get some time and figure out how to get a image on the post. Any help out there??
post #22 of 24
Wow, Awesome pics!
post #23 of 24
post #24 of 24
Thread Starter 
Rick glad your trip went well ....your pic link does not work ....I get the messege: "Forbidden"

Webshots is free....at Webshots.com

did you have a few days of clear water .... it turned reddish brown our last night so most of the time it was clear.....

did you have any luck fishing???

it is an awesome place
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