The Grand Canyon is located in the Colorado Plateau in the State of Arizona. A major part of the Canyon is located in the Grand Canyon National Park. The canyon was formed approximately over a period of 6 million years. It runs 277 miles and has a depth of one mile in certain areas. The entire area is known for the beautiful landscapes. This area is divided into two major parts namely, the North Rim and the South Rim. There is a variation in temperature at the two Rims; the North Rim is cooler than the South Rim. Due to the low temperatures, the North Rim is not open throughout the year.
The Canyon is visited by 4 to 5 million tourists each year. It offers a variety of activities like rafting, kayaking, sight-seeing, boating, and hiking. Due to the long waiting list, it is difficult to kayak in solitude. The waiting list has grown to about 25 years, hence recently, the waiting list was done away with and a lottery system was started. The chances for a newbie getting a chance to kayak have therefore increased comparatively. A tourist has to choose five dates, which are suitable for him to undertake the expedition. In the lottery, if luck favors, the tourist gets a chance to kayak the Grand Canyon. People who did not get a chance in the last 5 years are given higher priority. There are many tour operators who arrange tours as per the requirements.
The Real Deal
It is said, the best way to know the Grand Canyon is through kayaking the entire stretch of 277 miles. With all the other options like hiking, riding a mule, etc., it is not possible to have a look at the myriad flora and fauna of this valley. It takes approximately 18-21 days to kayak the entire stretch. People normally visit in a group of 7 to 8. You will encounter rapids like Class IV-V, Lava Crystal, and Granite Rapids. If the tourists are short on time, they can choose to start the expedition from the Phantom Ranch. This expedition will take on an average 7 days. To reach the Phantom Ranch, there are two trails namely, Kaibab and Bright Angel Trail. Though Kaibab trail is shorter, people avoid it as it does not have water. Instead, they prefer the Bright Angel trail that has a stream of water running through it. The expeditions are attempted in the summer, when rains have subsided and temperatures are bearable.
When there is a rapid, the guide pulls the boat to the side of the river. After having assessed the rapid, the journey continues further. Often, after traveling for 3-4 hours, the expedition halts for lunch or to camp for the night. Most parts of the river are silent and calm, but there are some rapids in the river. Generally, the rapids are heard before seen. The sound starts as a rumble, only to attain decibels of high magnitude. Even though the Colorado river doesn't have too many rocks, it has certain monstrous rapids. There are water pools, hot water springs, and streams cutting small canyons, which you will enjoy as you ride over them. There are caves in the canyon that are inhabited by various tribes.
This expedition enables you to stay under the sky, watch the sunset and stars, and actually be one with nature. It's pure unadulterated nature at its best. Your luggage, food, and water can be conveniently stored in the boats, and you can enjoy the tour without worrying about them. To be able to enjoy this experience to the fullest, make sure that you sharpen your kayaking skills before starting this expedition.