DH General Manager and trip leader, Kyle Vosmus, among friends and fellow rafting guides, planned the trip of a lifetime last October. The ball got rolling for preparations a year and a half ahead of their launch date, but little did they know that the government was headed for a shut down. In the stress filled weeks leading up to October 12, 2013, the group was still unsure if they would even be allowed access to the Grand Canyon. Luckily, the evening before they were set to launch the Governor of Arizona opened the gates! I had the opportunity to sit down and hear more about the trip from Kyle and grabbed some pictures from him to share with you all here on our blog.
See ya on the river!
What dates were you did the trip span across? How many total days were you gone?
The trip began on 10/12/13 and ended 11/1/13. We were on the water for 21 days.
Was this just a stretch or did you pass through the entire canyon? What class of rapids were you heading through?
We floated from Lees Ferry through Marble and Grand Canyons, 280 miles total on the Colorado River. There are more than 150 named rapids on the stretch so they do a different class system than the average whitewater section. In the grand the system ranges from 1-10, we went through 2 class 9 rapids on our trip.
How many folks went with you? How did you all know each other? Age range?
We had 18 total people, but with jobs and such we lost 2 folks part of the way through, and gained 2 folks at Phantom Ranch. Our age range was wide from 22-60. Part of the group was made up by myself, my brother, my father, and my fiance… I guess you could call it a family affair.
How did the trip work? Did you rent rafts or bring along your own?
We worked with an outfitter called Moenkopi Riverworks (they’re the best at what they do) and rented 5 boats. We brought along two of our own boats from Jackson. Moenkopi did all the food, and supplied all the best equipment to make the trip awesome. I would highly reccommend them to anyone looking into a Grand Canyon rafting trip.
What were the best rapids in your opinion?
Lava and Crystal are the most popular choices… but Horn and Hance gave us trouble. To me that makes them more memorable.
Did you or anyone get stir crazy out there? What did you do to spice up the days… aside from all of the amazing views.
Nope, the only thing that was crazy was that everyone wanted to go back and do it again immediately after it ended. We did two costume days, one was a super hero theme and the other was anything goes. Some of the costumes were really great, we had Quailman from Doug, Wolverine, Superman, “Granny Canyon”, Stuey from Family Guy, a color warrior, Uncle Si from Duck Dynasty… the list goes on. It was the best idea we had, that day was awesome.
Tell us about camping at the end of the days.
So, each campsite is basically at the mouth of a side canyon on sandy beaches. After your daily chores are finished, there is always time to explore these side/slot canyons. A couple of them got kind of tricky though, with steepness and the rocks not having too much grip on them… and some of the crevasses were pretty narrow. One side canyon we had to swim to so that was pretty cool.
What are these “daily chores” you speak of?
We had 4 groups of 4. One day your group would be responsible for cooking all the meals for that day, the next day you would be responsible for cleanup after all the meals, the next day you were responsible for the bathroom, the next day you were off! It wasn’t bad at all.
How did you all clean your water & what kids of things did you eat?
We had a large industrial water purifier that Moenkopi hooked us up with. We had to purify our water every 4 days or so, so that was part of the chorse. We had everything you eat on a day-to-day basis and more. We ate tacos, burritos, chorizo, fish, the best deli meat I have ever eaten, bacon, eggs, pancakes, bagels… everything you can think of, we literally had awesome food! The outfitter really has perfected the art of food packing in the grand canyon, as well as entertainment. They gave us bocce ball, polish horseshoes, regular horseshoes, volleyball, whiffleball, frisbee – the company was so prepared.
Top 3 best parts of the trip?
1. Being with the best family and friends
2. 21 days of sleeping under the stars
3. The best whitewater in the world
Would you recommend this trip to anyone or a specific type of person? Is experience necessary?
If rafting is your thing, this is the ultimate rafting adventure. Commercial trips take 7-14 days so you don’t have to do a huge 21 day trip like we all did. Experience isn’t necessary for everyone, but you need at least one person who’s knowledgable to help get through the tricky rapids.
I hear your brother made a video of the trip. Where can we find this?
It’s on YouTube under Grand Canyon October 12th 2013.
Getting funky Redwall Cavern
Keith and Kirk getting ready for Bedrock Rapid
Kyle, Kirk, & Keith in Redwall Cavern
Kyle and Fiance, Ronnie-Jean in their costume day attire
Getting ready for the night float on the last day of the trip
Kirk “Old Man River” basking in the beautiful sunlight!