Where to start is what really comes to mind when considering starting this blog post off about the Demshitz does the Grand Canyon Trip. I could start with the months of prep leading up to the adventure but that might bore you to death. Also I could start with the amazing trip out to Flagstaff AZ but in typical poorly written fashion I am going to throw you into the heat of the moment with me. January 15th was a big day on the trip, not only was I staring down at Lava Falls, the largest rapid on the Grand Canyon, but it is also Ty and my birthday. Having chosen to take a look see first unlike some of the rowdier chargers on the trip that ran it blind I was immediately confronted with the mass chaos and beauty that is Lava Falls. Set inside the beauty of the Grand Canyon I watched the boys rally and mostly style the sheet out of it. Ty knocked out the birthday stout with a good line, Graham made it look like a cake walk, Clay hammered her home and Manger knocked it out of the park as well. Coach gave the line advice real quick telling me just to be in the boil line and try to line up on the last hole/wave. I was nervous as could be but so stoked to be in that moment! Took my nervous piss, put on the skirt and splashed some water on my face. Moments later high fives were thrown up and well wishes given as group two charged the line. After a chaotic mixture of waves, cross currents and holes the magic had happened and an awesome line was had. Down at the bottom ecstatic as could be and basking in the moment of what I had just done I grabbed the eddy and headed out of my boat to take it all in and watch more of the crew.
Its amazing how hard it is to plan perfectly for 14 days of living out of a kayak. When it comes down to what you need for that amount of time to survive its kinda tough to plan perfectly. Luckily I planned out enough food, water was in no short supply, I had the proper amount of clothing but found my shelter to be lacking over time as condensation became an issue with the frigid temperatures we received. We were actually in the Grand Canyon during the coldest day recorded at the rim which I am guessing also means it was the coldest day in the Canyon as well. It was amazing how much sway frozen gear, cold weather and frozen water filters can have on morale. Gladly my IR layers and dry suit kept me happy during the days and I could use them to stay warm at night as well. Having a good sleeping pad and bag on the Canyon is also key for 14 days worth of river time! I had a nice plush pad so I was able to sleep well even when it was chilly and man was it pretty to sleep under the stars! Waking up to see Orion's Belt and the Dipper was a pretty nice way to spend my late night rolling sessions. In all seriousness though as my first overnighter it was definitely an eye opening and fun experience.
The hiking in the Canyon was amazing from the slot canyons to the wide open spaces the possibilities are endless. It would be hard to pick out a favorite hike but I do have two that stand out really well to me which are the Elves Chasm and Deer Creek. Elves is this amazing little waterfall that you can climb behind and jump out through the veil. Deer creek has a hundredish foot waterfall flowing into the main flow of the Colorado and has a crazy slot canyon when you hike up to the rim which some of us did a little bit of exploring in. We tried to get to the lip of the big drop but had to stop at the lip of the thrityish foot drop near the top of it as we lacked proper climbing equipment. They are both must hits if you ever find yourself on the Colorado River! However there are so many beautiful places that I would recommend trying to hit them all up!
Throughout the Colorado river also lies so many awesome rapids! Personally big water is not my favorite thing but that might have to do with the lack of it in the SE and my lack of time spent on it. The rapids on the Colorado contain some amazing waves and stout holes that can get quite hefty in size. I personally didn't try to flip to much on the trip as it was pretty chilly with a daytime high once of 20 at the rim. Whirlpools and boils were also abound to mess with you at a moments notice and would take some of us off course or spin us round but it was nothing the Fusions and paddlers couldn't handle. It was funny scouting some of the major stuff how small features would look from shore but how big they actually were once you got into the mix of things. Massive wave boofs and some long boat surf sessions were had thanks to the dynamics of the river! With the Fusions we also had drop down skegs which helped through rapids and flat water sections. To my surprise a fully loaded boat with the skeg down was actually not hard to roll at all! With the watertight stern compartment we also had the ability to store more gear a bit more safely thanks to the Fusions design. Gonna be a bit weird paddling without a skeg here soon! All 280 miles and 14 days were easily one of the best times I have ever had kayaking between the super fun crew, great whitewater, amazing scenery, cold temps, new experiences and personal growth!
The video from the experience: