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I have just returned from a three-week trip in Asia, starting from Bangkok and continuing with a comprehensive tour through Bhutan, the land of the ‘Thunder Dragon’. I went with a study group from Stanford University so this excursion was like taking a multi-discipline condensed course in two week’s time! More about that next week…..first we have to finish the saga of the trip down the Grand Canyon.

Last Post from the Grand Canyon

Early morning view of Diamond Peak, on the last few miles out of the Grand Canyon.

Our string of bad weather unfortunately continued. Our mornings would start out promising, with sunshine and clear skies; by lunchtime, we would be checking out the sky, trying to predict when the rains would start. When it rained, it POURED! I regularly sat next to Irv, one of our guides, who I knew would toss me a tarp from his supply box which I used to wrap around me. In short, the rain made things pretty miserable. We had to forgo a number of side hikes up the canyon because of the danger of flash flooding.

By late afternoon when we stopped to set up camp, it was usually dry again. It is amazing how the water dries up in the dry heat of a desert climate. After about an hour, it seemed that the ground was dry. After the camp was set up for the evening and all of us were gathered in a circle enjoying a cocktail or two, the rain seemed like a distant memory.

One evening we played an interesting parlor game introduced by Victoria. Each of us had to tell something about ourselves that the others probably didn’t know. Victoria started the game and set a standard that none of us could compare to by announcing that she had once gone out with Robert Redford! That caught the attention of people who were not even sitting in the circle! But wait….hasn’t he been married for years and years? I think there is more to that story than came out. I made claim to being an amazing small animal trapper and told stories of capturing guinea pigs who had escaped in my basement, scaring wild squirrels out of the house with my cat, and rescuing trapped skunks from window wells. Irv surprised us all by sharing with us that he was a competitive sky diver who had won a number of international competitions.

On our last evening of camping out, we had a dance party on the beach. We were beyond our wet days and enjoying the driest end of the canyon so everyone was feeling very happy and some of us were counting the minutes until we were on our way to hotel rooms in Las Vegas. After dinner, we rigged up a tiny stereo with some portable equipment supplied by one of the guides, and we got together some music between a number of us who had brought I-pods. We danced under the starts to both new and old music, which made a fun end to seven days’ excursion down the Colorado River. All of us survived intact, with stories to tell and experiences to share.

Our arrival in Las Vegas, surrounded by bags of dirty clothes!

I personally will never go down the Grand Canyon again — too much camping for me — but most of our group had a wonderful time and could probably be encouraged to take a longer trip. I appreciated it for the historical value however, and greatly enjoyed hearing the stories about all the river runners who traveled the Colorado River before us.

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