GCS 2014 River Trip

LCI is excited to be co-hosting the Grand Canyon Semester for Fall 2014 with NAU’s Honors Program and Grand Canyon National Park. The GCS students are kindly providing blog updates of their activities this fall so that we can live vicariously through their experiences– hooray!

By Kelli and Zia

Over the past two weeks GCS had the privilege of rafting down the Colorado River. In a bit of a punny sense, the Canyon was absolutely “gorge”eous (we get a little bit carried away with geology puns sometimes).

Boats at Phantom Ranch

Boats at Phantom Ranch

The group was split into two groups, an upper river trip and a lower river trip. Both groups, however, had the opportunity to watch the Grand Canyon in action. That is to say, both groups had the opportunity to witness a rock fall in the Canyon.

In addition to spending the days floating on the water, each group had the opportunity to explore side canyons and unique features of the Grand Canyon, such as the confluence of the Little Colorado River and the Colorado River and Havasu. Both tributaries stream pastel blue water into the emerald green waters of the Colorado River.

On the last day of the river trip, the lower group got to experience something that even seasoned river runners never get to see: a high flow experiment from the dam. For just that one day the second river trip experienceed the Colorado River in as close to her natural state as she gets.

waterfallBoth halves the trip experienced magical and inspiring moments. Although it is difficult to pick a favorite, some of the most memorable moments are as follows:

“The Gorge was magical, feeling all around me walls older than I can even fathom. I felt more a part of this world in those moments than I have ever before.” – Natalie

“Blue schist. Period.” – Tiffany

“My favorite part was probably getting to explore Deer Creek. I was looking forward to it for the entire trip but it ended up being so much more incredible than I could have hoped for.” – Maddie

“My favorite part was learning from the river guides because they are very intellectual and are amazing people who are super kind.” – Kelli

Blacktail canyon

Blacktail canyon

“National Canyon [a side canyon off the the main river stem] was a really incredible experience. It really put into scale how small humans are in comparison to the Canyon.” – Z

“My favorite part of the river trip was being able to go through the Canyon layer by layer and see how it formed.” – Robin Li

“Right before Lava, when everything was still, even the birds and the wind. Never again will I be more present.”     – Renee

“One of my favorite parts of the trip was just getting to exist in such a unique place, living without worrying.”           – Emily

“I would have to say traveling through time though all of the different rock layers. It was cool to go back in time all the way to the schist in the boat and the back up to the Kaibab limestone on the hike.” – Jayleen

“My favorite part was looking at Horn Creek rapid head on and being absolutely terrified.” – Anna

Maddie at Deer Creek

Maddie at Deer Creek

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