I’m Jessica. I’m new to the Hatch River Expeditions team, and I just completed my first ever trip white water rafting in the Grand Canyon. Now, I find myself in the unique position of being able to tell you not only what a trip can be like, but what it’s like traveling 188 miles down the Colorado River as the most famous canyon in the world rises up and changes around you for the very first time. Over the next few weeks, I’ll tell you exactly what my trip was like, rapid by rapid.



This far down the canyon, granite seems to have gotten the better of schist, as there is much more pinkish brown than greyish black around us. We pass the bridge that connects Bright Angel trail on the south side of the canyon to the North Kaibab Trail across the river. Our eyes are drawn to its black beams that stand in stark contrast to the brown river and the brown walls, so that even after we’ve passed, many of us are looking back.

Lower Grand Canyon - Hatch River TripOur group has developed a bit of a camaraderie at this point in the trip. Some among us were old high school friends who are delighted at the reunion, but many of their wives and their children who are along hadn’t met each other before, and I, the last minute add on, know no one. Still, today when we splash through rapids, I get drenched and then teased by the others in our group. We have all learned to watch out for each other and are now learning how to have fun with each other, too.

Today’s big adventure is Elves Chasm, but first we have to navigate some of the Colorado’s tougher rapids. Rachel calls them more "technical" rapids and JP calls them, "stupid" as opposed to "silly." We learn that this means higher stakes. A mistake in a "stupid" rapid is dangerous or boat damaging, whereas one in a "silly" rapid just leaves you bouncing around a little. The stupidest rapid of the day is Crystal, which is not only technically difficult to run, but not especially exciting for passengers. The less bouncing around and air time we get on this rapid, the better. Everyone is pulled in off the side tubes, and for a rare moment in the trip, everyone on our boat is listening and following directions to a T. We all seem to understand the stakes as the river drops off on the horizon where the rapid begins. Crystal turns out to be smooth sailing, along with the rest of "the gems"—Agate, Sapphire, Turquoise, Ruby. We cruise through them all with something almost akin to grace.

We tie off on the rocky shore and hike up to a small, trickling waterfall. We swim beneath it one by one and climb up to an opening perfect for jumping from. Thousands of people must have jumped from this spot, and every one of us wants to try it, too. There are few days left on our adventure, and we’re all trying to make the most of them.


Did you take your first Grand Canyon rafting trip with Hatch? How about your latest? Your best? Tell us about it.

Email your stories from the river to info@hatchriverexpeditions.com, and you could appear on our blog. Include your name as you’d like it to appear if selected and type "Stories from the River" in your subject header. Optional: If you’d like to include an original photo with your piece, send that as well and tell us whom to credit. Only photos for which you own the rights may be submitted for inclusion with your entry.

Rapid by Rapid: A Hatch staffer’s first experience with white water rafting in the Grand Canyon (Part 4 – Crystal) was last modified: August 24th, 2015 by Jessica Clark

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