Monday, May 28, 2012
The Richest People on Earth: River Trip Day 1
I woke early at sunrise on May 20th, chugged a quick cup of coffee, toasted some bread, threw some last minute items in my back pack and headed out the door toward River Operations. Less than a week ago I had no idea that I would be taking this journey. It is one that most visitors wait years to get permtis for and will often pay loads of money to experience. I greeted 18 other trip participants as we set our duffles down so that they could be picked up by the mules and be hauled down to the bottom of Grand Canyon. Some individuals were park staff that I was familar with, both coworkers and aquaintances. About half were new faces that would eventually become the faces of people I know to be friends. After a quick briefing we traveled to the Bright Angel Trailhead to begin the 9.5 mile hike to Phantom Ranch. The next day we would leave the trail crew bunkhouse and load rafts to begin a 4 day adventure on the Colorado River. The anticipation was what made this hike so much different that any other decent into the canyon. Chatter of potential hikes, visions, and rapids were flowing like water. The All-Employee River Trip had begun! Many have asked me,"How is it that you get to raft the Colorado River and get paid to do it?" This is a special opportunity that has been provided for the past 3 years. Each year permanent employees can submit an application to be incuded in the annual river trip. On the river, the experiences you gain are set apart from any other. Its is a chance to see remote areas of the park that we are helping to protect. Employees on board can learn from one another and gain an insight on just what it takes to run the park and preserve the mission. Approx. 40 employees run the river each year on this trip. 20 on the upper half and 20 on the lower half. I was heading for the lower half.