by Saige Purser
Ever since I became a whitewater rafting guide, I’ve wanted to raft the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon. This feat usually does not come easy for a private boater. You must apply for a permit or have someone invite you to join their trip. It also requires about a month off work.
This year I was lucky to be asked to join a trip, and WPHW supported me through this opportunity! This was a 25-day trip with 16 people: putting on at Lee’s Ferry and taking out at the Diamond Creek, 225 miles downstream. There was a lot to do in preparation for the trip including buying gear, finding ways to transport it to Arizona, and preparing mentally for the unknown.
It’s hard to put into words what the experience meant to me. It is, for most, a once in a lifetime opportunity. Being disconnected from everything outside of our group was amazing– there was no scrolling Instagram, no news updates, and no emails!
My favorite part of the trip was feeling the connection to the place and seeing the Indigenous Representation of the Dine, Hopi, Havasupai, Hualapai, Paiute, Zuni, Yavapai-Apache, whose territory we were in during the trip. There were pottery shards, petroglyphs, pictographs, granaries, and remains of housing structures. It was beautiful to see. Also, I had fry bread on the first night on the river!
I had an incredible experience; the hiking was breathtaking, and the rapids were huge! We had one raft flip at the mile marker 209 rapid. Everyone was safe and it was pretty epic! Having never rowed a raft before, it was fun to experience it on the Colorado River. I look forward to more amazing opportunities, and hopefully, I can go back to do it again!
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