ANOTHER boring trip to a museum? Ugh, no thanks! You’d think that by now your parents would take the hint that you want to do something fun, exciting, active, and adrenaline-pumping on your family vacation. Well then, you’ll thank them when they book an eight-day rafting trip on the Colorado River IN the Grand Canyon with Grand Canyon Expeditions (GCEX).
Grand Canyon Expeditions’ trips are non-stop, edge-of-your-seat (er, raft?) action! Initially, the raft is pretty extreme in itself, as you have to get used to the rapids on the winding Colorado River. As you may know, rapids are categorized depending on drops, wave crest heights, rock abundance, etc. Since it is a long river that varies from mile to mile, the Colorado contains rapids all along the scale. Don’t worry though, the rafts all have two sections: the front section and the middle section. This means that the daredevils can have front row seats for all the extreme action, while the less courageous can take a calmer, drier ride in the middle section on the scarier rapids. My recommendation: if you feel like getting soaked after being in the dry, arid Grand Canyon air for a few hours, sit in the front!!! If it’s raining and windy, I recommend staying warmer and slightly dryer in the middle.
NOT Your Usual Hikes
However, the action doesn’t stop when you step off the raft. The fun keeps going with swimming under waterfalls, floating down mini-rapids, and, most often, hiking. But know this: these aren’t your usual ‘wandering through the forest’ strolls. Some of these hikes are mostly vertical, climbing over rocks, up boulders, through brush, and along rock ledges. (DON’T LOOK DOWN!) Don’t worry though, it’s all worth it when you gaze out over the river, see the Grand Canyon from a midway point, and view one of nature’s most beautiful and astounding creations.
Natural Water Parks
One of the more relaxed, but still fun, activities on a GCEX rafting trip is definitely playing, splashing, and swimming under a few of the many waterfalls in the Grand Canyon. Like a water park, these waterfalls make for a super-fun way to get soaked and cool off after a long day in the sun. The pools that the waterfalls empty into are also great for swimming and floating in, not to mention water-pistol fights.
Speaking of water parks, probably the most fun feature of a GCEX rafting trip is “nature’s waterslide”: the Little Colorado River! The intrigue begins with a strange suggestion from the guides: bring your life jacket (which is worn at all times on the raft) on the “hike” with you. Suddenly, as you’re climbing over some rocks, you see the murky, brownish-green water of the Colorado River abruptly turn to azure Caribbean blue. As the path you’re walking on begins to dip into the water, you feel that it is pleasantly warm compared to the cold Colorado River. When you reach your destination, the guides begin to instruct you to do something rather odd: wear your life jacket as if it were a diaper, upside-down with your legs through the arm-holes.
And then you try it: you jump in to the Little Colorado River just before a small rapid and float over the rapid, water splashing in your face in a rather pleasant manner as you’re swept down this gorgeous tributary. Eventually you slow down and are floating in a small pool. You swim to the edge of the river (which is slightly difficult to do because your bottom is always floating a little higher than the rest of your body), climb out, and race back to the start of the rapid.
While sometimes the Little Colorado River is a typical brownish river hue, we were lucky enough to catch it in its spectacular azure blue stage!
If you’re looking for some more minor rock climbing, this location also has some flatter rocks higher up. You can climb up these on your own if you want to take a break from so much action. Don’t worry though; climbing the rocks and ledges to get up there is thrill enough.
One thing, though, is for sure: you will never be bored in the Grand Canyon during a GCEX Colorado River rafting trip!