Grand Canyon - Prologue

In 2003 I climbed Mt. Whitney with Andrew and Kristina. On the way down we discussed what our next adventures would be. I had planned to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania Africa in 2004. Andrew talked about rafting the Grand Canyon. We decided to look into doing that trip together in 2005. 

So in the fall of 2004 we were still up for the trip. We wanted a paddle trip. I checked out the various companies and decided on Canyon Explorations/Expeditions based in Flagstaff Arizona. I chose them for a number of reasons. I liked that the were a small company that did a number of paddle trips. Their web site explained the trip in detail. I also liked the fact that they provided transportation at both ends of the trip. Other outfitters provided transpiration on only one leg of the trip.  We decided to go on the May upper canyon trip. We hoped to beat the heat of  July and August. Mostly I wanted cool nights for sleeping.

We called up in November  to book our trip.  The office staff was great. I called several times with questions. They made sure I understood the hike out was a non-trivial. The information  they send also stresses that you need to be in very good shape for the hike out.

In March I found good prices on airline tickets. America West is the only airline at RDU airport that had a direct flight to Phoenix.  I wanted this to minimize the chance of lost luggage.

Somewhere about the same time I received Canyon Explorations "Float Notes". This is a very detailed booklet that provides all the information you need to prepare for the trip. There are detailed equipment lists, directions, packing instructions, etc. 

Listed below is a list of equipment I brought with me and associated comments.

Shorts, 4 pair, quick drying. Used all of them on the trip

Shirts, 3, synthetic only. Just say no to cotton. Used all of them

Hat, 3, nylon Sahara style ball cap, cotton ball cap, and fleece hat.  Used the two ball caps. Too hot for the fleece.

Rain gear - bought the cheap stuff sold by guide service. Use the pants for about 1 hour. A must have in case of rain.

Paddle jacket - bought from CanX. Used about 1 hour. The water is cold and in May there can still be cold gray days when you want it. Two weeks prior to our trip they had snow and cold temps.

Long underwear - brought 2 lightweight sets of Patagonia Capaline. Used one top for about 1 hour.

Fleece jacket - brought my Patagonia R2 (heavy weight) and my Campmor micro-fleece. Used the R2 for my pillow. Wore the micro-fleece one morning at camp.

Teva Terra-Fi  sandals - wore them everyday on the river and on hikes. They broke on the 3rd day of the trip for me. Two other people on the trip had the same sandals and they also broke. Get Chaco's or Keen sandals. That's what the guides wear.

Lowa Renegade boots - light weight hiking boots. Wore on hike out and part of one side hike. 

3 pairs SmartWool hiking socks - wore on one side hike and the hike out. 

Seal skin dry socks -  well these really did not keep your feet dry. More like wet suit booties. I wore most days on the raft with my sandals. Mostly wore them because I was concerned with my feet getting sunburned.

Cotton long sleeve t-shirt - never used

Nylon trekking pants - never used

Arc'Teryx Khamsin 62 - used on hike out

2 Nalgene water bottles - used every day

Princeton Tec Aurora  - used on a night hike and every night to read and journal

Carabiner - used to hook water bottles to raft. used every day

2 pair sunglasses - $5.00 Wal-mart specials

pack towel - used twice for bathing.

Camera and 35 mm film

paddle gloves - used several days to prevent blisters

Sunscreen, lip balm, liquid soap, toothbrush and paste, journal, pen, and a bunch of other stuff I can't remember.