Colorado River - Lees Ferry to Diamond Creek - June 5, 2009

Four hundred and sixty four days after being notified by the Grand Canyon River Permit office of drawing a launch date, our group of 15 spend the afternoon of June 4th rigging for the 16-day, 226-mile rafting adventure. No unexpected crisis surface during rigging and we soon moved 50 yards downstream to the private boaters campground.

Despite the lack of amenities, we all manage to find spots to throw a bedroll. At dusk we work our way to the highway for the Marble Canyon Lodge shuttle and the traditional last supper. How we will do in the upcoming rapids are in the thoughts of more than one boater that night.

We rented four 18-foot Sotar rafts and most of the communal gear from ProRiver and overall we were very satisfied with the shuttle service and gear rental. Trip cost and overall logistics were huge compared to most trips, but then a private trip through the Grand Canyon is not your typical paddle. Rough numbers being $15,000 for gear/food/shuttles/Hualapai fees and $1600 for the NPS permits. The National Park Service is the river manager.

Weather proved exceptionally cool and pleasant for June with only opening day being tough to do with 35 mph headwinds. There were several close calls in the rapids but I had the only flip in Horn. It was a daunting and physically challenging trip, but it is impossible to pass this one up. The lack of hiking/recreational time probably being the biggest disappointment for everyone. In some ways, what I will remember from this trip was how hard it was. Always setting / breaking camp, loading boats, slicing onions. Much more so than I ever expected. And so little time to solo hike a small canyon and look around. Sixteen days too few to do this trip, but I could have managed time better. Losing a day to headwinds right off the start did not help the issue.

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Trip report image
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