River Life On A Grand Canyon Expedition

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It might not be immediately apparent what it’s like to actually LIVE on the river, away from any kind of civilization for 21 days. One fellow, who was trying to be helpful as I researched how I was going to have enough battery power for my A7RII camera for that long, suggested solar power as a way to keep the batteries juiced up. The reality is, one mile deep in a river gorge in February lends little sunlight for solar generated energy. And river life demands constant attention, keeping one busy enough that I needed a solution that would require minimal attention. The EasyAcc Classic 15000mAh fit the bill on that one.

So what keeps one busy in the daily grind (ha ha!) of river life? The obvious, and most time consuming is rowing the river itself (hey, SOMEbody’s got to do it!).

Heading Down River

Probably the next most ‘consuming’ task is cooking, eating and cleaning up. Dutch ovens are a favorite way to cook. Notice the fire pad under the fire pan, meant to keep the beaches clean of ash.

And what-a-dinner it was!

High tech coolers keep ice longer than ever, and we never suffered for lack of amazing food.

ooo-la-la, organic grass fed lamb shishka-bob!

There’s always a mat laid  down in the kitchen to catch micro trash, a major problem with 29,ooo people doing the river life thing in the Grand each year.  In fact, a lot of how we do things on the river has to do with mitigating the effects of that.  Like how to sh*#t on the river? That’s an issue for a lot of folks. NO bathrooms, not even a pit toilet. It’s BYOB: Bring Your Own Bathroom. It’s pretty crude, usually a large ammo can lined with heavy duty plastic and laced with some chemical cocktail designed to break down waste, and a toilet seat on top. With 10 people using the same can…..well, you certainly need more than one for 21 days! So to make it a more palatable experience,  you gotta add in some fun. This one won the trip’s award for the most scenic spot.

View from on high

And you gotta wash your hands! Theres a little foot pumper that pumps water from one bucket over your hands into another bucket.

And speaking of cleaning up, it’s a 3 bucket dish wash system. One for SUPER hot soapy water, hot rinse, then cold bleach water to finish, and the dishes go in a hanging mesh bag to dry. River Life Sanitization at its very best.

Wishie-Washie ’em up Captain!

And bathing? How do you feel about cold water? The Grand Canyon’s water comes out from the bottom of the dam, meaning temps hover in the low 40’s. It’s a quick dunk to get wet, then soap up on the beach, then another quick dunk for a rinse. Then it’s ice cream headache time! No nakie photos available to show you that, but here’s one smart fella who knew to do a simple rinse in a side canyon’s warmer water. No soap allowed in that sensitive biome however.

Grand Canyon style shower

Then there’s setting up with all the packing and unpacking of the boats at each camp. That’ll make you or break you. Better be strong to start or you’ll end up with an aching back and pulled muscles all over. 

There’s a lot of gear

Most important though, is the R&R. It’s what we’re here for, right? Check out my blog on the hiking Grand Canyon Day Hikes From the River. But there are lots of other ways to enjoy River Life:

Yuk it up at a Wig Night Party

Hang Out

Read by the River

Do Some Yoga on the Patio

Chill out on the Flat Water

That’s a lot of images, but pictures say more than words, don’t you think?

River Life is Grand whatever river you’re on. But we were especially blessed on this trip with this amazing Canyon, perfect weather, and wonderful friends. I hope to do it again. And I hope you enjoyed this series of photo essays on this most magical of adventures. I’d love to hear from you in the comments below, and a ‘share’ is always helpful. Thanks, and see you soon for some Spiritography action in the next blog series, Chasing Spring.

 

 


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