After such a beautiful spring, the month of May is when temps finally hit 100 degrees, a day that Phoenix welcomed about as much as they did the Lakers last month. Fortunately, Josh and I have been blessed with some great escapes.
First was our rafting trip. Josh had helped a friend organize this four-day trip and was invited along to be a boat captain, rowing and steering an oar boat down the 50 mile stretch of the Colorado we traveled.
The Colorado actually runs for about 275 river miles through the Grand Canyon. Groups are able to do such a short trip by launching the boats from Diamond Creek. This is an intermittently running Colorado tributary that flows through a side canyon down which a road has been built allowing access to the river. It provides the only vehicular access between Lee’s Ferry, to the east which is considered the start of the Canyon and Lake Mead, where the Canyon ends in the west.
We were both blessed to have a such an upbeat and fun-loving group to enjoy the time with. Because of the personal connection, these groups are much less “random” then those in the Community College classes.
As many times as Josh has done this trip, he never gets tired of the night sky bursting with stars and falling asleep on the boat, rocked to sleep by the waves. (sleeping on the boat is reserved for the boat captains, the rest of the group camps on the beach in tents)
While Josh had some responsibility, I was able to just tag along and enjoy the ride. This was my third Diamond Down trip which was made special by paddling an inflatable kayak through a couple of the rapids. This was a big deal for me as I actually have some pretty strong anxiety about getting tossed into that cold, churning water. While “going swimming” is a possibility when on a boat of any size, it feels much more real in a kayak, alone and only a few inches away from the water. But as I expected – I had a blast. It’s a little like a roller coaster ride…except you can’t just let loose and throw your arms in the air, you actually have to stay composed enough to keep paddling.
The week after we returned we left to celebrate Josh’s birthday in Zion National Park. This was the first trip to Zion for both of us and we were definitely taken with the towering sandstone formations, like a hybrid of Yosemite and Sedona. We spent our time exploring the park’s famous slot canyons or canyoneering, a sport that involves traveling through a slot canyon by a variety of means including hiking, downclimbing, swimming or rappelling. In more remote areas it can be a pretty committing and adventurous activity, but we found these well-traveled canyons to be straightforward and fun, not to mention beautiful. For more detailed description of the sport, here are some trip reports others have written about the canyons we visited.
Since many of the classic canyons were closed due to high water, we’re definitely looking forward to a return. We send a shout out to the Zion backcountry ranger team, a very pleasant and professional crew. Not only were they full of wisdom, they were able to dispense it without sounding condescending or letting on that it was actually the 100th time that day they’d had answered that question.