A GRAND TRIP -- Margie and John Anderson recently joined a Canyon Ministries' three-day rafting trip through the Grand Canyon. Her report captures overwhelming beauty, camaraderie, and just plain fun -- especially during an all-out water fight on the way. The Andersons give some suggestions for things to take on the trip but emphasize, "Leave your troubles at home."
Moving Upon The Waters - By By Margie Anderson
Havenít you always wanted to raft down the Grand Canyon? Me too! So, when our church made an announcement that Canyon Ministries was offering a three-day rafting trip on the Colorado River, we were all over it. It turned out to be even better than we had anticipated.
The three-day trip is excellent if you arenít quite sure whether you will like rafting. You are actually only on the water on days two and three. But, that doesnít mean you donít have fun on day one.
A bus took us to the Grand Canyon airport, and then we flew over the Canyon (great photo opps!) to the Bar 10 ranch where we spent the day riding horses, shooting clays and riding ATVs. After a huge and delicious dinner, John and I got to sleep in our own private covered wagon.
After an early breakfast, a helicopter took us to the bottom of the Canyon. I canít even describe the feeling of going over the edge of the Grand Canyon from up high. It was breathtaking.
Our river trip started just west of the Lava Rapids. Everyone helped stow the gear on the boats. They give you two waterproof bags ó one big one and one small one. The big one is for your clothes and stuff, and the little one is for things you want to have handy on the boat. You donít need much, let me tell you. They supplied snacks and drinks so all you really have to have handy is a camera.
Canyon Ministriesí Tom Vail is the author of The Grand Canyon, A Different View. Before we even boarded the boats for the first time, he took us for a little side hike and showed us evidence of creation in the strata. Being in the bottom of the canyon is a humbling and exhilarating experience ó and a ton of fun!
There were several little side trips ó sort of mini-hikes along the way. The stops give you time to stretch your legs and see more of the canyon. One of everybodyís favorite stops was Travertine Grotto. The hike to the Grotto is a short uphill trek along and sometimes in a little stream.
At one point, you walk up and over a huge boulder while pulling yourself along with a rope. There are a couple of rope and wood ladders, then youíre there.
After the last ladder, youíre inside a big cave and the stream has formed clear, shallow pools that you get to splash through on your way in. This isnít a dark, scary cave ó itís big and light and not the least bit intimidating. There is a bend that you canít see around, and when you turn the corner, you are suddenly in a big stone room with a cleft in the roof.
From this cleft streams light and a beautiful waterfall. Adults suddenly begin to cavort in the shower like kids, squealing and playing and getting soaked. It is an absolutely gorgeous place. Tom had us playing games in there and we all had a blast.
We saw dozens of bighorn sheep on our short journey down the river. The canyon is indescribably beautiful, and seeing it roll slowly by from a raft is an unforgettable experience. We met so many great people ó I donít think Iíve ever laughed that much in three days. Rapids are thrilling, but there is also a lot to be said for simply leaning back and watching one of the Seven Wonders of the World pass before you.
You might think youíd get bored just floating down a river all day, but youíd be wrong. We jumped off cliffs, hiked, played in the water and even got into several heated water battles on the river. Thank goodness our boat drivers had water canons on board so we were swiftly armed and ultimately victorious.
We even had a church service Sunday morning in the shadows of the cliff walls.
The three-day trip is just enough to whet your appetite for a longer voyage down the river. The Canyon Ministries trip is special because you get to learn more about creation and the Creator while you experience one of the most beautiful places on earth. If this sounds like a little bit of heaven on earth to you, take someone you love and go on a Canyon Ministries rafting trip.
Visit Canyon Ministries at www.canyonministries.com.
Tips For Rafting
1. Get some Cablz for your sunglasses. They keep your glasses from getting lost, but they donít hang all over your neck like some tethers do. www.cablzeyewear.com
2. Get a waterproof camera. Lots of the rafters had those disposable waterproof cameras, but I borrowed my granddaughterís little Fuji waterproof digital. It was super ó I took over 450 photos in the three days and it never let me down. Iíd have had to carry a lot of disposables for that. I had bought one extra battery and a 4GB SD card for it.
3. Get yourself a good Columbia or Cabelas GuideWear shirt. The zipper pockets are ideal for the camera. I put a whistle tether on my camera and hung it around my neck, but I tucked it in my shirt pocket and zipped it closed right up to the tether. It was very easy to get to but didnít get in the way.
4. No matter what brand of clothes you buy, prepare to get wet and stay wet pretty much all day long.
5. Donít over-pack. You really hardly need a thing on the three-day trip. We took two changes of clothes and an extra pair of shoes. We also brought our rain gear, but we never used it because it was fun getting wet.
6. Wear shoes that you can take short hikes in. If you MUST wear flip-flops, stick your tennis shoes in your day bag.
7. Donít forget sunscreen, a hat, and sunglasses. Canyon Ministries will give you a packing list, and donít forget that your bag needs to fit inside the waterproof bag they give you to use.
8. Put a bandana in a small plastic sandwich bag (the zip kind) and keep it in your pocket. It will stay dry that way so youíll be able to wipe off your sunglasses and camera lens. A wet bandana is fairly useless for that.
9. Leave your worries at home.
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