Friday, November 13, 2009

Grand Canyon
A deluxe multi day paddling adventure

The Grand Canyon. Photo by Me

Quite simply put the Grand Canyon is awesome, it's awesome for many different reasons. The stunning environment sets it off, blue sky, red rock walls and green water and the complete isolation from the outside World, it is just you, your friends and 17days of multi day deluxe!

17days of food and beer all loaded up on the cargo rafts at Lees Ferry. Photo by Me

We organised our expedition with help from Canyon Explorations, superb guides, excellent cooking and an incredible knowledge of the environment, the funny stories were the icing on the cake. Yes they really did cook several yummy cakes and ice them, in the middle of the Grand Canyon!

Looking downstream from Lees Ferry. Photo by Me

Several people have since asked me to report my experience and give a few pointers for those who are intending to make the journey through the Grand Canyon by open canoe. First up what boat to take, I choose the SpanishFly. It is a small white water canoe and was ideal for hammering through the big rapids and not too slow on the flats. I know several friends who have chosen bigger canoes, Spark or Vertige etc. for their adventures. The GC runs at about 300cumecs or 10,000CFS, as long as you are prepared for and comfortable paddling your chosen canoe in big water then you will be fine, the pool drop nature of the GC makes picking up the pieces after an over enthusiastic line easy!

Me running through a big hole in House Rock rapid, I was glad I had the SpanishFly for this line!
Photo by Ralph Rhein

A friend asked me some questions last week, here are my answers, he is going in January;

Cruising the Canyon, it is stunning. Photo by Lilli

1. How many days were you in the Canyon? I think we are supposed to be in for 22 days, probably due to the shorter days.
17days it was super, how far are you going down? We got out at diamond canyon.

It looks lovely and warm, the water isn't take warm clothes to paddle in. Photo by Ralph Rhein

2. What sort of warm clothes did you take and how many of them? Is there a limit to what can be taken on the raft? Washing/ shaving stuff, what to take? How big a tent did you take? Down or synthetic sleeping bag?
I took 2sets of thermals, a thermal core top, down jacket, hat and socks, oh yeah and boardies. We had about 50litres clothes space, 50L sleeping stuff and a tent separate. There is a surprising amount of space on rafts, its just extra kilos. Washing stuff yes, shaving no, but I don't like shaving much so any excuse! The tent we had was supplied by the outfitter, it was 2person sleeping size tent, no porch. Synthetic s'bag and a warm one, it was sometimes cold at night for us, for you it will be colder.

US immigration is a pain in the arse, they have got a lot of nice places to defend though! Photo Lilli

3. Any info on US immigration, I've never been to the US (I've sorted my ESTA)? Did you use the address of the outfitter as your address in the US? Who did you fly with? Any problems with kayaks/ canoes? I'm flying with US Airways.
Outfitter address was fine, they just wanted an address. We flew Condor pre-booked boats, no drama. They forgot to charge us on the way out and it cost $30 on the way back.

Tim the Tarantula and Sam the snake. Photos by Me

4. You saw rattle snakes and tarantulas... Were they scary? ;-)
No! The spider was funny but I am not scared of spiders. I am scared of snakes but the camera made me brave, it was ok. I think most animals are lazier when it is cold, snakes for sure, so for you no problem.

I don't have any moisturising photos, but this is very pretty! Photo by Me

5. Moisturiser... Apparently its very dry and your hand's and face will fall off if you aren't careful. Did you notice this?
Yes its very dry! Sand everywhere! Take moisturiser, I am a lazy moisturiser and survived without my face falling off, my hands would have benefited from more moisturising though.

6. Who was your outfitter?
We went with Canyon Explorations they were superb, we all had a great time. I would go again tomorrow!

Me rowing whilst my airbag repair was drying. Photo by Lilli

7. How much boating kit did you take? Is 1 set enough?
1 set was fine except that I didn't take any spare airbags for my canoe, 1 got a hole and luckily we had some aqua seal. All the sand makes the GC an abrasive environment for kit, take a little repair kit, we needed aqua seal and tape for repairs.

Party time at Tequila beach. Photo by remote Me

8. Anything else I should know or take with me? Anything you wish you'd taken?
If you get your Assassin drysuit before you go, take it and wear it and be a smug warm man in a dry suit, take some zip oil too, to stop the zippers getting sandy and sticky. Everybody I asked this question to before I went said "take more beer" I agree take more beer! And tequila. I took 2crates of beer, so did most of my companions. It was all drunk, and we could have drunk more. The secret is to pack at a bottle of spirits for every night, that solves most parties! I took an airbrush cleaning thing for my camera, brushing and blowing is much better at cleaning sand from a camera than a cleaning cloth because sand scratches.

We all do. Photo by Me

A massive big up to everybody that helped to make this trip an experience of a lifetime(until the next one!); from CanX, Swiss, Cam, Mike, Dave, Josh, Jamie, Sarah and from Kanuschule Versam, Mak, Ciccio, Kasi, Claudia, Franc, Kathi, Ralph, Bruno and Lilli.
Any more questions feel free to drop me a mail,
Paddle hard and love life,


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