Each evening we would fall asleep blanketed by a billion stars and soothed by the rushing river waters. Safely tucked in our sleeping bags, my husband and I and our ten year old grandson, Rich, slept peacefully until the smell of coffee and breakfast cooking filled the air.We quickly dressed, rolled up our gear, and headed for the chow line. Out toilet was a seat over a big bucket. Our teeth were scrubbed out in the open, being sure we used the “clean” water. Everything we brought into our sleeping space was carried back onto our boat – human and food waste, scraps of paper – everything. No one would know anyone else had been there. It was a part of keeping the Grand Canyon pristine and beautiful – so everyone could enjoy its majesty for years to come.
We’d head out between the rocky walls of this magenta colored geological wonder, our guide sharing historical adventures and scientific facts. Then we’d come upon a swirling area that looked like chocolate pudding. We had to get down in the bottom of the boat as we dove directly into the middle of the rapids! Down, down, down we’d go and then bounce up again. It was thrilling and we wanted to shout, “ Do it again!” “Do it again!”
In the past many have wanted to build dams and fill the canyon with water. An ad in the New York Times asked “Would we fill the Sistine Chapel with water?” The dam building was denied. Today we must be vigilant as others are seeking to mine various areas and/or reduce the size of this great National Park. We owe it to our children’s children to protect and cherish this thriving river and it’s exquisite shoreline!