Davis Driver Jr- trip leader / organizer
Davis Driver Sr – papa bear / trip chef
Cooper Swift – outdoorsman, first time raft guide
Wes Andrews – UVA 3rd year
Andrew Shaw – UVA 3rd year
Andrew Johnson – tentmate, 3rd year law student
Wray – professional raft guide from Noah’s Ark, CO
Jeremy – professional raft guide from Noah’s Ark, CO
People we met (2)
The Gong-Guy – solo rafting the canyon with a gong strapped to the back of his boat
The crazy asian – hiking down the edge of the canyon in a foot of snow with slip-on vans
Day Zero: Charlottesville to Richmond to Atlanta to Phoenix
Day One: Scottsdale to Ceiba Co. in Flagstaff to Lee’s Ferry, AZ near UT border
Day Two: First day on Colorado River, Lee’s Ferry to Soap Creek (Marble Canyon)
Day Three: Ravine Hike, Soap Creek to Roaring Twenties Campsite (boats beached on sand)
Day Four: Through the Roaring Twenties to Redwall Cavern – missed campsite – boating til dark, camped past Nautiloid
Day Five: Only one rapid, Anasazi Bridge, 2 mile ravine sidehike, Float-zilla, Nankoweep Valley, Shaw bloody nose
Day Six: Layover day in Nankoweep, bible study, jog, bathe in river, hike to Anasazi Pueblo Granaries, campfire stories
Day Seven: River again, trail mix victory, Little Colorado River (LCR), exit Marble Canyon, enter Inner Gorge, near flip on Class 2
Day Eight: Layover day in Rattlesnake, 5 mile spillway hike to Tabernacle, bouldering, rockslides, reading “Return from Tomorrow”
Day Nine: Rattlesnake to Zoraster, heavy “gnar” in Nevill’s, Hance, Sockdolager, Grapevine and Zoraster rapids, met Gong-guy
Day Ten: Ferry across to Phantom Ranch, 5,000 foot ascent out of the canyon in a foot of snow, drive to phoenix, red eye flight to Richmond
(First Day on River by noon, entering Marble Canyon, dry suits, oar boats)
(Jeremy at the Anasazi Pueblo Granaries)
- Bathroom trips in the middle of the night in the middle of the desert in the middle of 15 degrees. Cold.
- Not seeing the sunlight for hours because you are too far down in the narrows of the canyon for sunlight to reach. Cold.
- Turning over the inflatable kayak in a class four rapid. Cold.
- Watching Shaw get sucked out of his kayak and spun through the spin cycle of a hydraulic. He’s under for 45 seconds while his kayak drifts away. Then we see him and his helmet emerge 15 feet downstream of the hole. He has a bloody nose and is laughing like an idiot. We can’t help but laugh. Cold.
- Merging all three rafts together to form the float-zilla. Miller high lifes. Cold.
- Taking a river bath in the sunlight of Nankoweep valley. 45 degree water. Cold.
(Nankoweep Valley, our day six layover)
- Swimming down the Little Colorado River rapids in our inflated dry suits. Warm actually.
- Flipping Andrew out of the boat when I t-bone a huge hydraulic wave not even on the map. Told it was safe but our raft went near vertical. I was steering. Oops.
- Exploring Red Wall Cavern (can hold 5000 people).
- Oatmeal Patrol at 6 am.
- Watching Cooper pop the oar out of joint just as we are entering a class seven. We spin backwards while he’s trying to fix it. He has his eyes on the oar, trying to lock it back in place, while all Wes and I can see is a monster reflecting wave that could have tossed a minivan around inside of it. We miss it to the left, somehow.
- Dinners of steak, lasagna, burritos, fajitas, jambalaya, and other heavy starch camp foods.
- Seeing the milky way every night.
- Meeting Chris the gong guy.
- Hiking out of the canyon, 5000 ft up Bright Angel Trail, in a foot of snow for the last 1500 ft.
- Just like people say about warfare, I realized on the trip that intelligence, cunning and wisdom will always prevail over brute strength, brawn and power. If you study and use your mind before you go into battle, you can conquer anything, even some of the biggest rapids on earth.
- Imperatives. I am not very good at giving people commands because naturally I would rather connect to somebody and have them accept me than to appear arrogant and tell them what to do. But when people become familiar enough around each other that they don’t take it personal, telling the truth or giving orders for someone’s own safety is sometimes needed. Examples: Wray telling me to get down out of the Indian ruin I didn’t know I was standing in.
- Singing your faith. Wray sang spiritual songs every day of the trip, and it challenged me to unleash my faith to a level he unleashes his.
- Story telling. You have to carve out the space and make your self-expression known before the platform to tell a good story really becomes yours. To tell a good story, you need something given back from your audience first.
- People’s brains usually dwell in two types of modes, and I often find myself switching back and forth: Action Mode vs. Reflection Mode. This is something akin to extroversion vs. introspection, but since I have spent a large majority of my life over-analyzing and reflecting but not always acting, packing up boats everyday and hitting massive water was great practice getting out of my mind. I also need to express myself to others on a daily basis to stay healthy.
- People need community. Without a team, we cannot reach our full potential of strength. “One man is no man.”
- Technology. Being away from computers, phones and tvs, you can get down to the meat of life: personalities, values, goals, who we are.
- Brotherhood. We are awkward with others when we first meet them because there is judgment and we are not known. We need to be known – and God helps me know others and expose myself to be known – and when we are known and accepted, brotherhood occurs. Hiking out 5000 feet with four men who are unlike me and from all different parts of the country, we were brothers that day. We knew each other, our preferences, our speed, our abilities, our humor, and we hiked out together. We lived it. And when we drove to Phoenix through the rock lands of Arizona in a foot of snow that last night, we rocked to classic rock harder than I can ever remember rocking.
- Goodbyes are terrible, but I am better at them than I used to be. Life is a long list of goodbyes.