The Grand Canyon. The Big Ditch. The Hopi called it Ongtupqa. The Spanish called it the Gran Cañón. But to rivers runners around the world we reach for words that do not adequately describe this place. The name itself gives feelings that the first person to name it such settled on “The Grand Canyon” for lack of a more descriptive and evocative name.
Everyone you speak to that has spent time in The Canyon speaks of its beauty and wonder. John Wesley Powell – the western man credited with exploring the Grand Canyon - said;
“The elements that unite to make the Grand Canyon the most sublime spectacle in nature are multifarious and exceedingly diverse”.
Well, maybe not everyone who cast their eyes upon the Colorado as it passes through the Grand Canyon is as convinced. Joseph Ives who came before Powell in search of mineral wealth stated;
“It [the Grand Canyon] looks like the Gates of Hell. The region ... is, of course, altogether valueless. Ours has been the first and will undoubtedly be the last, party of whites to visit the locality. It seems intended by nature that the Colorado River along the greater portion of its lonely and majestic way, shall be forever unvisited and undisturbed.
I’ll cut Lt. Ives some slack and chalk it up to him being a Man of His Time. Little did Ives know that 157 years later, The National Park system would be granting river permits to allow recreational rafters and kayakers to float the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon. To river runners around the world it is a coveted permit to win in their lottery system and gain access to the riches of the Grand Canyon. Opening your e-mail to discover that you have been granted a permit is akin to Charlie finding the Golden Ticket in his Wonka Bar.
Luckily for us a river trip these days is better organized and equipped than John Wesley Powell (who ran the river with one hand after losing the other in the Civil War at the battle of Shiloh). Today we have PVC rafts with aluminum frames, dry bags, propane burning stoves, coolers with ice, and cold beer; rather than spoiled bacon and maggot filled flour. Even though we have arrived at the pinnacle of river running technology, we still have to be prepared on the river for the inevitable repairs that need to be made. Broken equipment could include but are not limited to; broken oars, ripped rafts, fractured frames, punctured PFD’s, defective chairs, breached dry suits, shredded sandals, busted buckles, and faulty stoves.
As I prepare for my own trip through the walls of The Grand, I will be keeping you up to date on the tools, materials, and other DIY items that I will be bringing on the river. These items will insure that when my trip gets to the take out all our gear is still in one piece and any hiccups that we encounter will be easily dealt with.
Stay tuned to the SEA-LECT Designs blog for updates and if you have any questions, comments or additions send them my way and I’ll include what I can! Info@sealectdesigns.com.
See you on the River.