Paddling the Grand Canyon - Lees Ferry to Pearce Ferry

BJett

Member
Joined
May 3, 2013
Messages
519
It was February 2010. A friend told me to try for a private GC permit, the more applications the better chance we have...sure why not. Lottery closed the next day, so I filled it out and picked the most popular and hard to get time of year...an April launch. Yeah right...but you never know...
Few weeks later I get an email from the NPS saying "Congratulations, you have won...". It took me a few hours for it to sink in. Seriously? I never win anything, surely this is spam.
Decision time...big commitment once you get a permit. Decided right there to pay the $400 and make it happen, with a full year to get a crew assembled and organize this thing. No easy task, but I had a pretty good idea it would be worth it...and my boss gave me the OK to take a month off work to make this trip of a lifetime. Its on!!
Ended up with 16 people, 6 rafts, 3 kayaks...23 days on the river, 280 miles. The entire Grand Canyon from start to finish. I kayaked all of it, well almost...the last 30 or so miles are not the most exciting, and those big rafts are just so comfy. I ended up ditching my paddle after the 3rd day and decided to try my hand paddles, something different and I figured not many people have hand paddled the entire GC...while wearing an afro wig. I'm not used to big water, I am a southeast creek boater used to hitting rocks and tight technical moves. The Grand is...Grand. Big waves, and while nothing gets above class 3+, maybe 4 at Lava and Granite, its a whole different kind of paddling. We had a consistent 16,000 cfs the entire journey. I learned quickly how to sneak the big drops, and I didn't run Horn, Granite or Lava. Kicking myself after the fact, but its more reason to go back and clean it up.
The highlight of the trip was bringing my mom along. When I told her about my permit, first thing she asked was "can I go?"...well, I don't know, can you? It's gonna be hot, and cold, no showers, 23 days...she smiled and said that sounds amazing. I told her to ask a friend to join us, and make sure you have a steady supply of boxed wine. She, and her friend, styled it. Not one complaint, all smiles every day and they rode through the rapids like seasoned river runners, whooping and hollering like kids. Best experience of my life, no doubt about it.

Some pics...not the best GC shots over all, I used a point and shoot for a lot of it and my Canon Rebel DLSR for some of the side hikes. I'm a riverrat and a desertrat, and I saw this trip as a way to access some of the best hiking in the world. It wasn't about the whitewater, which only makes up maybe 10% of the Canyon. This trip was about exploring the nooks and crannies that make the GC so special.

I paddled at least 225 miles like this...it gave other river trips a good chuckle, and lots of bewildered stares...


Redwall Cavern


Elves Chasm


Deer Creek Falls


Deer Spring


Deer Creek


Across From Deer Creek Camp


Matkatamiba Canyon


Matkatamiba Canyon




Granite Rapid


Fossil Rapid camp


Marble Canyon reflection


Nankoweap


My personal favorite side hike...Tuckup Canyon


Bedrock rapid


Horn Rapid


Lava! That's an 18 footer in there...you are always above Lava...


Ledges Camp


Stressful trip


Primrose


Datura




Havasu Creek


Tuckup Canyon guardian


Travertine Falls


Safety First. Always wear head protection and keep a beer in your PFD for extra flotation


My mom and I. Old dam site below Redwall Cavern.


Lots more pics here...
https://picasaweb.google.com/105768283703063059928/GrandCanyonApril2011#

Featured image for home page:
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Laura

freespirittraveler
Joined
Oct 1, 2012
Messages
957
Hitting "like" on this once just isn't enough! Wonderful trip and gorgeous shots! Is this the most beautiful place or what? Man I can't wait to get out there, 12 weeks and 1 day to go.....
 

BJett

Member
Joined
May 3, 2013
Messages
519
Are you running the river or hiking? I really want to go back and backpack into Tuckup from the top, and then link up a bunch of trails for a week long trip. Have a great trip, I ran out of adjectives on day 4. What a place.
 

Michael

Alien from over the pond...
Joined
Sep 5, 2012
Messages
958
...wonderful report and pictures! :twothumbs:
 

NAYR

Member
Joined
Mar 5, 2013
Messages
38
Well would you look at that? This here must be up at the old Nankoweep Granaries if I'm not mistaken. My annual pilgrimage as a swamper will be coming up here really soon.
image.jpg
 

BJett

Member
Joined
May 3, 2013
Messages
519
If you ever get invited on a GC river trip, drop everything and make it happen. Its not easy for most people to take the time, and it ain't cheap...average cost per person was ~$1100, not including travel to Flagstaff. Canyon REO was our outfitter, they were awesome. Packed the food and 4 of the 6 rafts and sent us on our way...and ran shuttle of course.
I love this site, its allowed me to go back and revisit some of my favorite places and share some of my best memories.
 
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