AZ Rafting through Grand Canyon

Old Feb 1st, 2018, 07:45 PM
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AZ Rafting through Grand Canyon

We, meaning 4 adults, above 55, want to do a rafting trip through the Grand Canyon. I understand there are 15 different companies that offer various trips through the Canyon. After reviewing some of the websites, we have decided we want to do the entire Canyon, on a motorized boat, due to time, so we are looking at approximately 8 days. Has anyone done this trip, and if so, what company did you use, what did you like about the trip, and was there anything you were not fond of?
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Old Feb 1st, 2018, 08:12 PM
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kureiff has!
This is something I've always wanted to do! Enjoy

Last edited by moderator8; Feb 2nd, 2018 at 06:09 AM.
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Old Feb 1st, 2018, 10:32 PM
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Here's my thread on GC rafting from a few years ago.

Grand Canyon Rafting - paddle, oar, or motorized
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Old Feb 2nd, 2018, 07:23 AM
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As I noted in my thread I went with AZ Raft and could not have been happier. This was a 2 week combo oar (4 boats) / paddle (1 boat) trip. The guides did the work on the oar boats, and guests traded off each day to man the paddle boat (if they wanted, and never a shortage of volunteers).

Things I liked about AZ Raft: https://azraft.com
Very professional, experience guides. They care about the GC, & they care about the guests.
Knowledgeable - about the GC, about the natural and human history of the GC, about the constellations we'd see at night, about every mile of the river - what was around each bend, what each rapids would bring us, where to camp, where to explore.
Strict attention go guest safety (on & off water) & hygiene (food, dishes, toilets).
Flexible on-shore options for guests of all abilities, ranging from doing nothing (there was always 1 or 2 crew members who stayed in camp during daily on-shore treks, to more strenuous options)
Great food - never the same thing day to day, and options for various food sensitivities.

What I liked:
The solitude, grandeur, and magesty of being IN the GC (Not on the rim looking into the big hole in the ground)
Teamwork & companionship. I went on this trip alone, as did about 15% of the group. Rest were family or couples.
No wifi, no 4G, 3G, 2G or 1G. period
No news. The only thing I was sure of was that the dam upstream was still intact. besides that, no news period. Mid point of the trip some guests left the group, and others joined. One of the incoming group wanted to share all the happenings of the past week, and we politely but firmly told him to cease & desist.
No radios
The side treks - ranging from scrambling up a side canyon, to 5mi hikes high up on ledges, to exploring various creeks and waterfalls, to visiting ancient ruins.

What I didn't like.
really nothing

What takes getting used to:
The cold water. My trip was in early May. Air temps were in the 80s to 90s & comfortable in the sun. Water temps are high 40s to low 50s. Water will be slightly warmer in late summer but not by much since it flows from the bottom of lake powell.
You pee in the water (everybody, no exceptions, no going on dry land), you bathe in the water, but you really cannot play in the water. The current is swift and strong. The only times I really played in the water was when I floated down through a few rapids - jumped off the boat upstream, and they picked me up in the calm water downstream. I think I'm the only one who did that. If you are sensitive to the cold, then May is not the best time to go. You will get splashed as you go through rapids, and in the shade of the tall canyon walls it's easy to catch a chill even if the air temp is in the 80s

The toilet facilities (solid waste only - see above for liquid waste plan). The crew set up a latrine at each camp site - they have a sealed latrine unit that is used for one day only, then put into the hold of one of the boats. Gotta say I've never had such a great view while sitting. If you don't like camp latrines, then it may be an adjustment.

The fine, red sand getting into every crevice & orifice.
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Old Feb 2nd, 2018, 08:22 AM
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I haven't been on the GC. My parents have gone twice and my little brother leaves for his third trip next week. But they've gotten permits and gone on their own (no outfitter), so I don't have much to add except that it looks like a gorgeous trip with some big whitewater and beautiful hiking!
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Old Feb 13th, 2018, 10:11 AM
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Thank you for your suggestions or well wishes. Currently I am working with River & Oceans, the company that is in contact with all 15 river companies. Fingers crossed!
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Old Oct 28th, 2018, 01:28 PM
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AZ Rafting the Colorado River

My husband and I ended up doing a motorized rafting trip in September, 2018. We booked through Rivers & Oceans, who were excellent in answering all our questions, but our guided trip was with the Hatch River Company. I couldn't have been more pleased with the experience. I had never camped before so I was apprehensive about the notion of camping and all the personal experience that would involve. The weather was great in early September, but water was always cold, because it is dam released. We chose a motorized raft because we could see the parts of the canyon we wanted to see, in about 7 days. I wasn't sure if I could camp for the first time, longer than that. The group averaged in age from 53 - 74 young, so we had many things in common, since we fell into this age group. The guides were very knowledgeable about Marble Canyon, Grand Canyon, and National Canyon. Our trip began at Lee's Landing in Marble Canyon. We did get wet every day, and some days were cooler than others because of the number of rapids, and the shade in the canyon, so I was very happy that Hatch provided such a detailed packing list, that we adhered to. There were side hikes every day, if you wanted to engage, which we did, and the experience was wonderful. Whether it was floating on the raft, holding on through rapids, hiking to or jumping off a waterfall, or hiking through a slot canyon, every view and experience was intriguing. We saw wildlife, like bighorn sheep every day. Camp life was easier than I anticipated because our guides were so helpful explaining what to do for convenience, plus they cooked all the meals, including dinner appetizers, which were excellent. I actually think I gained 3 pounds even with activities. The comradery with our group made the trip much more memorable. We talked and played games in the evenings to get to know each other. The one recommendation I would give is to take something for bee stings because I did get bit by a fireant and it felt equal to a wasp sting. My toes swelled up, but I soaked them in the cold river and someone had a benadryl tablet that helped, so by morning, most of the effects were gone. We also experienced some biting flies one night, but our bug repellent took care of that. Bathing/washing up in the river was cold, so we only did that every other day, and used biodegradable wet wipes on other days. I, like many, had concerns about the bathroom facilities. My advice would be to see exactly where the groovers/comodes are set before it gets dark, so you have an idea of the terrain of the path to reach them. All liquids are expressed in the river, so keep that in mind when setting up your campsite, if you tend to get up in the middle of the night. We never did sleep in the a tent, but we did set one up for privacy when changing. My biggest problem was sleeping at night. I had never realized how many stars we were missing when looking at the night sky and I couldn't stop starring at the Milky Way. What a nice problem to have! Would recommend this trip to anyone, any age.
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Old Oct 28th, 2018, 01:52 PM
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I haven't been on the raft trip, but would really love to one day. As to the night time bathroom jaunts that some of us take, one poster here said she brought a gallon ziplock bag and kept it in her tent for her pee, then dumped it in the morning so she didn't have to stumble to the river in the dark and get her jammies wet. That sounds like something I would really want.
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Old Oct 29th, 2018, 04:34 AM
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Glad you enjoyed the trip - I know I did and would love to again.

One of the knocks that motorized trips seem to get is the noise of the motor - what was your take on that? Obviously the trip on a motorized raft takes half the time of a paddle/oar/float trip which is a plus for those that can't do a full 2+ week trip.
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Old Oct 29th, 2018, 01:37 PM
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River trips are amazing. Everyone should do it at least once in their lifetime.

It is true that once you get home and close the bathroom door, you will be missing the view!
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Old Nov 30th, 2018, 10:05 PM
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In response to the motor noise, it doesn't stand out to me so it must not have been overwhelming or that loud. I liked sitting in the front of the boat to take pictures. I know they said to grip both hands in some of the rapids, but I just held on tight and video taped many of the big ones. One day we sat in the bathtub, very front, and that was exciting, other days we rode the side tubes, and one or two times we sat in the back, called the tea room, near the motor, and noise does not stand out to me so it couldn't have been that loud. It was such an experience, and my husband and I have traveled throughout the U.S., but this was in our top 3.
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Old Jan 25th, 2019, 10:28 AM
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I have friends that guide for a few of the companies mentioned earlier in this post and can attest to:

- AZRA (mentioned above as AZ Raft) does a really good job and they have great guides.
- Rivers and Oceans is a booking agent for other companies. They are experts on the Grand Canyon and can help you plan the right trip for you.

Have fun!
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