Sunday, September 21, 2014

(video) Rowing a raft down the Grand Canyon

I worked my way through college at during my early career as a white water raft guide; and 30 years later I'm still loving the water and the trips.  One of my favorite trips is rowing a raft down the grand canyon, which is a pretty big trip.

You didn't know I was gone?   about three weeks; took my first vacation in 4 years to do this trip.
redwall from bruce king on Vimeo.

Redwall cavern is a huge cavity that the river has carved into the side of the canyon that one of the early explorers estimated could hold 50,000 people.  It's a favorite river stop for boaters and is only reachable by raft.

below redwall 1 from bruce king on Vimeo.

There's hundreds of rapids on the colorado, some big, and some small.  but most of the trip is relatively calm water through some of the best scenery and geology on this planet.  The footage above was taken a few hundred yards downstream of redwall cavern.

granite from bruce king on Vimeo.

There are rapids, however.  The footage above is a run through granite rapid, one of the bigger ones on the canyon.  I think it loses something from the wide-angle lense though -- this is a big rapid that flips many boats.  Notice that there's a horizon line that prevents you from seeing downstream; this is a feature of many large grand canyon rapids.

lava falls from bruce king on Vimeo.

The footage above is a run of the largest rapid on the river, and the one that causes many rafters chills and nightmares.  Lava falls was well-behaved the day I ran it, but I've flipped rafts in this rapid many times, and I always take it seriously.

hermit from bruce king on Vimeo.

Hermit rapid is one of my favorites.  A big wavetrain, good clean fun.

 If you'd like to do a trip like this you'll need to get a permit from the national park service; they open permit applications for the month of february only, and its $25 to apply.  The permits are issued on a lottery basis, and you may wait years, or get one right away.

This particular trip was internet-based.  I've been down a number of times and was invited by the trip leader (Thank you, Tim!) and had a good time with the characters that were his friends and other folks he found.  Our group was 11 people on 5 rafts.

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