"Let's go rafting!!" Top 5 Page for this destination Grand Canyon National Park Travelogue by mtncorg
Grand Canyon National Park Travel Guide: 620 reviews and 1,614 photos
It is possible to float the Grand Canyon on your own. You have to get a permit from the Park authorities an the next permit available might be 10 years away, but you can do it. Most of us are not that lucky. We get to choose from the myriad of rafting and other boating (ie dories and motored craft) companies. Do a 'Grand Canyon boating' search on one of the search engines and you will have many options to choose from.
The company that I chose was Moki Mac. They have a long history on the river and gave me a very memorable two week float down the river. You have three options with the rafting companies, in general. You can do the whole canyon, Lee's Ferry near the Glen Canyon Dam to Lake Mead or Diamond Creek. You can do the first half of the trip to Phantom Ranch - 6 days with a hike up the canyon at the end. You can do the second half, from Phantom Ranch down to the downriver terminus - Diamond Creek or Lake Mead - 9 days with a hike down from the rim at the start. I did the whole thing. We were met at the Las Vegas airport by the Moki Mac folks and were transferred to Boulder City airport where we got on small propellor planes for transfer to Marble Canyon. The plane ride offers some fantastic views, first of the Hoover Dam and Lake Mead, but later of the Canyon itself and the forested regions of the the North Rim. You are going up in altitude rather quickly and many on our plane were susceptible to the altitude/ motion combination. But that is what those little bags are for :+0
We stayed overnight in a small motel and transferred up to Lee's Ferry in the morning to start the journey.
The next few days are spent in the Marble Canyon section. You float the first few miles and the canyon steepens quickly. At 4 miles, you drift under the Navajo Bridge, the last bridge across the Colorado - except for the two small pedestrian/burro suspension bridges around Phantom Ranch - until Hoover Dam, many miles and many days away. The first rapids begin. The water is colder than one might think since it is drawn from the lake depths of Lake Powell, only a few miles upstream. The water is never that warm in the Colorado for the trip's length - which is a good thing in the heat of August, but not always so welcome in the shorter, cooler days of late September.
After camping the first night at North Canyon rapid, comes a remarkable day, first a series of rapids known as the 'Roaring Twenties' - all among ever steepening canyon walls. Here the canyon is not so wide as it becomes farther down where it takes on the name 'Grand', but it is as deep. Our first Anaszi ruins are in the afternoon, just above an area known as Vesey's Paradise. They are about 100 feet above the riverbank.
Next, you come upon Vasey's Paradise, named after a earlier botanist. Springs erupt directly from the canyon walls in dramatic fashion bringing a deluge of greenery to the red canyon walls. Careful of the occasional poison ivy.
Around the corner is a dramatic view of skyscraping canyon walls and the ...
Redwall Cavern resulted from the river undercutting the canyon walls in times of past floods. The river is regulated now by the Glen Canyon dam above, so the undercutting has become a thing of the past. The cave remains.
Somewhere I read that John Wesley Powell - the colorful leader of the party that did the first ran the river -claimed 15000 people could fit into the cave. Maybe.
Our camp for that night was one named after the large nautiloid fossils - 1 meter in length - found just outside of the camp. It was very scenic, one of the prettiest of the entire trip.
Nankoweap lies another day and a half ahead. Here, along the river floor, Anasazi Indians used to grow corn, storing it high above in granaries made out of the canyon walls.
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