Before working at Arizona Raft Adventures, I honestly didn’t know much about rafting. I quickly learned that this trip is on many peoples’ bucket lists. However, since it’s such a big adventure, it’s also out of many peoples’ comfort zones. I went on my first river trip in July of 2011, on an eight day Motor Adventure. I was a true first time rafter as I had never done a single raft trip before.
First Time Rafter Jitters
I was excited, I was nervous, I was unsure of what to pack, unsure of where to purchase my items; in a nutshell, I felt a lot of the emotions and uncertainty that any other first time rafter would feel. But, mostly I was excited! I was eager to get on the river so that I could accurately answer the questions. The questions that I answer on the phones everyday here in the office. Most importantly, I could barely contain my excitement to have the opportunity to see the Grand Canyon from the bottom. I love the Grand Canyon at the South Rim and marvel at its beauty from above. From the bottom, I could look up instead of standing at the top looking down.
Immersing Into the Experience
I had no idea how impactful this trip would be and how much it would change me. I grew up in a not-so-outdoorsy family, so we rarely went camping, rarely hiked and rarely truly experienced nature. On this motor trip, I was in nature, totally and completely, for 7 nights and 8 days. It was wonderful!
The first couple of nights were a little unnerving for me as I listened to the sounds of nature. My imagination ran wild with what the sounds could be coming from. I realized on the third night, that most of the sounds were coming from the tent flaps shifting in the wind, or tree branches rubbing against my tent or little rain drops on my tent. Obviously, the problem was that I was sleeping in a tent!
So for the remaining 5 nights, I slept out under the stars, without a tent. Best decision I had made on the trip yet. Although I’ve lived in cities and towns with very little light pollution, I had never seen the sky as beautiful as it was every single night I slept outside. You could see everything: the Milky Way, constellations and my favorite of all, shooting stars of various, amazing sizes. Although I was exhausted in the evening from the adventure-filled days, I couldn’t help myself from watching the night sky framed in by the silhouette of the Canyon walls.
One Lucky Girl
As a first time rafter on the Colorado River, I am extremely gracious that the Colorado is my first rafting experience. I mean, does it possibly get any better?! Rafting through Grand Canyon, one of the natural wonders of the world, and exploring it from the inside is an unforgettable experience; having the opportunity to hike into the side canyons, swim in the beautiful, milky blue waters of the Little Colorado River and Havasu Creek, explore the archaeological ruins of ancient inhabitants and my favorite, sleeping under the stars. My first time rafting was truly an amazing experience that I am so lucky to experience year after year.
I’m also fortunate to be able to share not only my first time experience with all of our guests, but also the experiences from the trips that I have been on since. I am privileged to book reservations for our guests. Everyday, I get to explain to them how extraordinary this adventures is, help calm the nerves for guests with hesitations and answer questions for other first time rafters like myself. Hopefully my encouragement helps first time rafters take the plunge and raft the Grand Canyon!
Written by Megan Collier, Reservations Manager at Arizona Raft Adventures. Feature photo by Ralph Hopkins.