My best adventure was when I spent my 40th birthday on an 11-day Grand Canyon whitewater rafting trip with OARS Rafting. Permits for these trips are extremely limited and trips fill up more than a year in advance.
In addition to exhilarating whitewater rapids each day, we also enjoyed beautiful hikes, delicious food, scenic campsites and some of the darkest night skies you can imagine, filled with shooting stars!
Each morning began with a coffee call, followed by breakfast. Most people think of oatmeal as the standard camping breakfast, but not on an OARS trip! We had a hearty, delicious breakfast every day! While the guides took down camp each morning, we packed up our own belongings and, on many days, held a yoga session to work out the kinks from sleeping on the ground overnight. We would float through rapids for a couple of hours, then stop for lunch or a hike. Many of the hikes included waterfalls and streams, some rock scrambling and swimming holes. On more relaxing days, we would bring a sack lunch and just lounge about, soaking in the scenery for hours. The end of the day comes as we pull into a campsite and begin the process of setting up camp. While the guides prepare dinner, we enjoy cocktails and lawn games.
Mid-way through the trip, we reached Phantom Ranch, which is an area with cabins, campgrounds and a canteen, reached only by mule, hiking or rafting. If you can’t take the full 2 week river trip, you can start or end at Phantom Ranch, but it will require a 7-mile hike to reach the boat! Most of our group departed, and new campers joined us at Phantom Ranch for the rest of the trip.
After 11 days, it was time to say goodbye, but we still had more adventures waiting! First, we had a quick helicopter trip from the canyon floor to a ranch on the rim. From the ranch, we then had a small charter plane that took us to Vegas. I love small planes, and the scenery from the air was stunning!
Have you had an amazing adventure in the Grand Canyon? Let me know about it in the comments.