Steve, A friend and associate of Betsy’s, was on the waiting list for 15 years before his Grand Canyon permit came up recently. By then many of his original rafting buddies had other priorities and were no longer boating – which was good news for us as we were invited along. We had kayaked it years before but we hadn’t been kayaking a heck of a lot in the past 5 years, so could we really do it again?
We signed up and then jumped back on the South Fork American river this past winter to get back into boating shape. Then in early May we loaded up the plane and Betsy, Ney-J and Mikey (a Tuolumne River guide and friend of Belyn’s) flew out to Flagstaff to meet up with the rest of the group. Betsy and I would kayak and act as safety boaters, while everyone else would be on rafts.
Most others drove to the canyon, and while we were nearing our overflight of the canyon on the way on our three hour flight to Flagstaff we texted Steve’s family of four that was driving. They were passing through Bakersfield with another 8 or 9 hours to go and they texted back, “Can you see our four middle fingers from there?”.
However you can’t fit kayaks in my plane. Fortunately there is a healthy industry of rental, shuttle and food services for rafters and kayakers, so it was easy to find kayaks to rent for the 16 day trip.
It was an awesome trip, and it turns out (after a wobbly first day in the rental kayaks) that we could kayak the Grand again. I have included more photos than usual for this trip because it is hard to capture all the canyon has to offer in just a few.