We all know how much fun camping is. But how about camping for a week on the banks of the Colorado River surrounded by amazing Grand Canyon scenery with some seriously awesome people? Dude, count me in!
Of course, camp life usually follows a bit of a routine. Don’t worry, it’s a fun one. As you get off the raft after a day of river rafting on the Colorado River, everyone generally runs around the new campsite in search of their “tent spot”. Once everyone has dropped their backpacks and rain gear where they plan to squat for the night, it’s time to form a duffel line. Huh? A duffel line is when everyone gets into a line with every other person facing each other in order to expedite handing all the gear, sleeping bags, tents, etc. off the boat. Once everything is off the rafts, everyone sorts through the piles to find their designated gear bag, sleeping bag, and tent.
While the guides are setting up the kitchen and cooking dinner, everybody generally does their own thing. Most of the time, though, your camp routine would generally go like this:
- Set up your tents (that is, unless you’re sleeping under the stars. But even if you’re not, you’ll probably still want a place to change and put your stuff that’s sheltered in case it rains.) Set up your sleeping bags.
- Bathe in the river (It’s not as gross as it sounds . . . just do it quickly to avoid hypothermia! Ha ha, kidding, but it IS cold!)
- Hang out with friends
- Talk to the guides
My favorite thing to do during that time happened to be playing cards with my newly met friends. We taught each other a lot of new card games too, which was fun.
The next part everyone loves: DINNER. Don’t be fooled with the term “camp food” either, everything the guides cook is AMAZING! From burritos to Asian night to salads to mashed potatoes to chicken, everything is great!
After dinner everyone washes their dishes and eats dessert, then there’s more time that’s completely up to you. You can read by flashlight, hang out and talk to your camp friends. One night one of the adults French braided a lot of the girls’ hair for free.
Other nights those my age played “Canyon bocce ball.” This was SO MUCH FUN! It is like regular bocce ball but it more challenging since the beach areas we played it on are narrow and inclined. However, that made it more competitive and fun for my new friends and me.
Some nights were special since periodically the guides will tell a “bedtime story.” Sometimes it’s a story about the Grand Canyon that the guides have experienced themselves, or a story from a book about the Grand Canyon, or an entry from the journal of John Wesley Powell who was a pioneer of the Colorado River.
After a good night’s sleep (I highly recommend sleeping under the stars at least one of the nights — the stars are simply breathtaking), and a memorable wake up call of “HOT COFFEEEEEEEEEEE! YEEEEEHAWWWW!,” the routine begins again. Once you pack up your sleeping bag, get changed, pack up your tent and other miscellaneous gear, it’s down to breakfast. With a huge array of deeeeeeeeelicious breakfast foods, your tummy is likely to be happy for the start of the day.
After everyone has brought their gear down to the boats, it’s time to form another duffel line, but this time in the opposite direction. Once everyone’s stuff is on the rafts, the guides load on the groover, everyone gets on, and it’s the start of another daily adventure exploring the Colorado River and the Grand Canyon.
Now, I know what you’re thinking, what the heck is a groover, right? Heh, well, the groover is the lovely nickname given to the lavatory . . . if you can call it that. Not to get into too much detail, but be warned: your options for Number 1 are the river or a bucket and your options for Number 2 are a metal box attached to a toilet seat called a groover. Delightful, right? Trust me, you’ll get used to it because there are so many other cool things to focus on during this beautiful, unforgettable adventure!
Altogether, camp life is really a blast, even though some parts may sound a little tedious. Trust me, the friends you’ll make and the great times you’ll have are well worth EVERY SINGLE MINUTE!