Rafting down Colorado river

In the past, I have visited Grand Canyon twice.  Once I was there by myself, and another time I took my parents and my uncle, Mr. RS Tiwari when they were visiting me in the US.  Both times I went to the southern rim and on both time I didn't go down to the canyon itself.  Each time however, I was filled with wonderment at this amazing architecture of nature and wondered to myself, how cool it would be to travel down the Colorado river on a raft.

And so, I put it on my bucket list.  I promised myself, I will raft down Grand Canyon in this lifetime.

Amazingly, that day now seems near!!

Last year, I sent a note out to my close friends asking them if any one would like to join me on my dream trip.  I received one response - enquiring just how difficult the trip might be, but beyond that, nothing.  Clearly, rafting down Grand Canyon is not every body's cup of tea.

But one can't be deterred by lack of enthusiasm of others!!  This bucket list is mine, and so I should take the ownership of it and get going!  So, after thinking about it some more, I finally decided I wanted to go this summer, even if it has to be alone.

This summer!  Not a great plan, if you think about it.  Grand Canyon is a fragile ecosystem and the rafting trips on Colorado River are strictly controlled by National Park Services.  There are only so many outfitters, who are allowed only so many seats, on so only many rafts, which creates a limited supply of rafting seats, and consequently, a huge demand.  Rafting trips typically fill up a year in advance, and I knew that.  This is why I started to think about this in 2016 and sent a note to my friends last summer.

But going this summer?  I seriously doubted I would be able to find a spot, but figured it doesn't hurt to ask.

So I called around a few outfitters, and lo and behold, I found one who could accommodate me!  It turns out, if you are looking for just one or two seats, and are flexible with dates, most outfitters are able to accommodate you.  You see, most bookings are done so far in advance that invariably some folks are unable to make the trip and cancel their reservation.  These seats are then made available to anyone interested in a last minute reservation.  What is even more sweet, if the number of open seats end up being large enough, outfitters will often offer you a discount!

My search turned up just one such opportunity.

Canyoneers, one of the oldest Grand Canyon rafting companies,  not only had a seat open for me during the week I wished to travel (mid July), they also offered a 25% discount to boot!  Typical 2017 cost for the motorized rafting trip with them is ~$2645, but Cannoneers are offering the open slots for a discounted price of $1983.75, a cool savings of ~$700 which should pay for some of the other costs!  Sometimes it pays to be indecisive!

There are two ways to go down the Colorado river on an organized rafting trip.  One is on a motorized craft (like the one above), and the second is on a raft that is rowed by the guide.  The advantage of the row craft is that it is slow - you can take in the scenery slowly and really enjoy the trip.  Row crafts are smaller and so one can really "feel" the rapids as you go down in a smaller craft. Disadvantage, in seven or eight days, one only covers the upper canyon or the lower canyon.  The motorized craft, on the other hand, is fast allowing one to travel down the entire canyon in seven or eight days.

I wanted to travel down the entire canyon, and not having two weeks available,  I chose the motorized craft.  But the other reason is, I think a large craft like this might be stable enough to offer some great photography opportunities.  I am very interested in capturing this beautiful journey with my Nikon D300S.

Note to anyone reading this, Canyoneers have a few more open slots on the day I am taking the trip and are offering the same discount.  So if you want to join me, click the link and give them a call.  Or write in the comments section below, and I will tell you all about how to go about taking advantage of this opportunity.

Lots to plan, from buying the right gear to booking the hotel room to booking the flights.

If you are interested in knowing how my planning is progressing, feel free to subscribe (look at the top of the blog).  I will be posting regularly on my planning as it takes place.

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