Written by Jack Goldberg and Sebastian Chacon
Fresh off the heels of the Paria Canyon, HMI gap STrek-1 can indeed confirm that the Grand Canyon is as grand as everyone says it is. Rafting as a team was a good shake up compared to our usual backpacking. On this expedition we were joined by three amazing river guides, West, Asia, and Stevie, all current students or alumni of Prescott college. They introduced us to the logic behind shooting a rapid and the acronym W.O.R.M.S (water, obstacles, route, maneuvers, safety). We carried that acronym through the historically tricky ”killer fang” rapid, where you have to dodge through waves and maneuver out of the way of the “killer fang” rock at the very end. We cleared most of the whitewater for the whole trip on the first day, so from there on, it was quite literally smooth sailing. The rest of the trip was filled with relaxing river days staring up into the endless abyss of prehistoric rock surrounding us, “This is some of the oldest rock in the world” -West.
Our three river guides had rich information of the canyon’s history. From the indigenous groups who inhabited the land for millennia to the ecology of a pre-dam Colorado River, they had no shortage of knowledge. We learned the Hualapai have access to and regularly use the river for commercial and personal use as we saw many travel on their own rafts. While the canyon is beautiful, what took the experience to another level was hearing the story behind it.