Rafting the Grand Canyon Pt 1

As most of you know, Justin and I went on an amazing rafting trip down the Colorado River last month.  It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience that was unlike any other outdoor adventure I've ever been on.  We spent 21 days on the river, with 14 other people, sleeping out under the big sky and spending our days on the water.  To spend that long in a place so separate from regular life is to lose complete track of normal routines/schedules/to-do lists, etc....not to mention a serious detox from technology.  I felt like my relationship to the world and my own body were so different by the end of this trip, in a truly empowering and beautiful way.

The trip was challenging and I usually felt pushed out of my comfort zone at least once a day-whether it was running big rapids, learning to read water and row the boats, or canyoneering in one of the many side canyons.  It was also intense to spend so much time out in the elements, with the wind, sun, water and sand as constant companions.  Cracked and bleeding hands and feet were a common occurrence.  And yet, all of that hardship was so worth it, and I felt strong, capable and confident by the end of the trip.

We hiked up amazing, lush side canyons with cascading waterfalls, ran huge, slightly terrifying rapids, swam in the river almost daily, and camped in some stunningly beautiful campsites, under bright stars or with the moon rising over the canyon walls.  The desert is so beautiful in this austere, dramatic way that's really different from the exuberant, bursting green-ness of the Northwest.  We saw tons of wildflowers and cactus flowers, colorful lizards, big horned sheep, and condors, along with a rattlesnake and a few scorpions (yikes!)

The group was a fantastic and eclectic crew, and by the end of the 3 weeks they felt like family.  There was a lot of laughter, some costumes, cocktails, and silly antics.  We played music, danced, and created our own entertainment. It was an important reminder that it doesn't take much to have fun:)

This trip reminded me that spending time outside makes me extremely happy.  I want to sleep outside, run more rivers, and backpack into the mountains with friends.  Nothing feels better than waking up and going to sleep under the open sky. 

Enjoy the photos!  And cheers to getting out there!

P.S. there were too many photos to reasonably fit into one post, so keep an eye out for a second installment soon!