“Our days were fairly busy,” Ben Cooley reports. “We traveled about 15-25 miles each day. We would get up with the sun and cook breakfast and then pack up our boats with all the gear. Most days we departed our campsite around 8 or 9 in the morning. The time on the water was spent rowing through slow-moving water, scouting rapids and maneuvering our boats through the whitewater.
“Some days we would stop along the river and hike up canyons or visit waterfalls. We would find a campsite around 4 or 5 in the afternoon and spend the rest of the evening cooking and eating dinner, nursing dry skin and blisters, swimming, playing cards, throwing frisbee, playing beach croquet and reading.”
Hortemiller points out, “Most of us had been whitewater rafting, but only myself and Catlett had guiding experience .... We relied on our guidebooks to know what river mile we were at and what large rapid or side canyon/hike was approaching.
“We would stop to scout the major rapids so we could see what we were about to descend into and talk about any technical maneuvers we needed to make with the boat so we wouldn’t flip. We only had one boat flip the whole trip, and we realized flipping over a boat with over 800 pounds of gear isn’t easy.”
Vonderheide adds, “We had completely mobile kitchen and bathroom systems on our boats. It wasn’t great, but it worked .... (In the evenings), since cell phones didn’t work, and we didn’t bring any electronic devices besides flashlights, we had plenty of time to get to know each other.
“Every night, we would sleep less than 50 yards from the Colorado River. Some of us slept in tents and a few had hammocks, but most of the time we slept under the stars, which was pretty awesome. Most of our campsites were very sandy, but sometimes we slept on flat rocks that almost looked like massive shelves.”