Grand Canyon Raft Trip 2004

Photos from a 19 day private raft trip down the Colorado River through Marble and Grand Canyons April 4-23, 2004. We floated, rowed and tumbled approximately 226 miles  from Lees Ferry (about 7 miles downstream from Glen Canyon Dam) to Diamond Creek on the Hualapai Indian Reservation; the next place down river from Lees Ferry that a vehicle can reach the river. Total elevation drop for the entire trip was 1,780 feet. It was a "do it yourself" trip. No guides or outfitters were used. 

This is said to be the most sought after river trip in the lower 48, and I can see why. Beach Snyder, our leader, was in the queue 13 years to get a private trip permit! The rapids are legendary. Names like Lava Falls, Crystal, Granite, Horn Creek, and Hermit inspire a mix of adrenaline, respect, and sometimes real concern. The waves and holes in some of the rapids are massive. We stopped and scouted all of the larger rapids. Almost every one of them had a least one significant danger spot that often wasn't obvious waiting to gobble us up if we weren't careful. We were fortunate to not flip any rafts or lose any gear or supplies during the trip; however, we did have people ejected from a raft in the rapids 9 times, one of which we captured in one of the Lava Falls photos below.

Nevertheless, just focusing on the rapids would do the Grand Canyon a great injustice. The real beauty of the trip is the canyon itself. The scenery defies description and the side hikes are stunning. It's a very different view of the canyon from that seen from the rim, and I wish the photos did it justice. Pam and I also did this as a 7 day commercial trip in 1996. We highly recommend it and were very happy with Grand Canyon Expeditions as our trip guide for that trip.

A maximum of 16 people were allowed on the trip at any one time. We had 22 different folks; 10 of whom made the entire trip, 6 who hiked out  at Phantom Ranch (mile 88) on April 11th due to time constraints and 6 who hiked in to take their place for the balance of the trip. 

There is no place to replenish supplies other than some ice for sale at Phantom Ranch. We carried in everything we needed for the 19 days, including 60 dozen eggs and other food for 3 meals x 19 days x 16 people. We had great meals compliments of our chef, Bob Irelan. The trip became known as Beach's "Float & Bloat". We checked in with the "outside world" every other day via a rented satellite phone to let family know we were safe and where we were on the river.

Click on any photo to open a gallery of larger images.

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