A magical Ride Rafting Down the Colorado River
By Dixie Brunner
Picture yourself floating lazily down the river with sheer canyon walls towering thousands of feet overhead, reflecting in the crystal clear water you glide upon. Peace and tranquility envelope you with each winding turn of the river, putting more distance between you and the hectic lives you left behind. And then ... you hear the roar! You look ahead at a wall of roiling water, so huge you cannot see beyond. It seems impossible the raft on which you’re riding can make it through the turbulent water ahead ... now this is magically unspoiled! Grand Canyon Expeditions has been providing once-in-a-lifetime experiences for worldwide visitors for over 40 years. The eight, nine, 14 or 16 day river adventures are all-inclusive, with all meals, bedding and adventure provided. They even pick up your hotel tab in Las Vegas the night before and after your trip. “A Canyon trip offers serenity and excitement,” explains Marty Mathis, owner of the company. “It’s getting back to nature, starlit nights, history. The Canyon is a magical life-changing experience.” The trip takes you on an unforgettable 280-mile journey down the Colorado River, negotiating nearly 200 heart-pounding rapids. The adventure, which begins at Lees Ferry, AZ and ends at Pearce Ferry, AZ on Lake Mead, carries riders on comfortable 37 foot S-Rig rafts. The rafts can forge through the Colorado River’s most formidable rapids, many of which early explorers were forced to portage. Professional guides provide informed ongoing commentary on the Canyon’s history, geology, archeology, and plant and animal life. “The boatmen are so friendly and knowledgeable about the history and geology of the river and its rock walls,” said Wisconsin cheesemaker and recent rafter Hans Lehner. “You can tell it’s not just a job to them, they really love what they are doing.” After the heart-pounding thrill of riding the rapids, relaxing time can be spent playing in the waterfalls of tributary streams, hiking in brightly-hued side canyons, or just sitting under a shade tree and watching the river rush by. While many take the Grand Canyon trip for excitement, and some to renew family and friendship ties, there are no strangers by the end of the trip! You spend 24 hours a day for over a week with people from all over the world. You share great food, hair-raising adventure, and the most incredible scenery together. For many, the experience creates a lifelong bond of friendship that can never be replaced. “I still think about the river trip back home,” said Jimmy Zimmerman, an entrepreneur from Wisconsin. “It has left lasting memories that I will cherish forever!” People are often moved to tears by the Grand Canyon’s remarkable beauty. A trip down the Colorado River offers many a sense of renewed spirituality. Besides offering the standard eight-day trips, GCE also offers special interest trips, expeditions for those with particular interests in history, geology, photography, ecology and archeology. On these trips, passengers are accompanied by experts who share special knowledge in these areas. New this year is a nine-day hiking trip, with an extra day for more strenuous treks. For more information on the Grand Canyon rafting trips, call Grand Canyon Expeditions 1-800-544-2691, or visit their website at http://www.gcex.com.