Bob Zache, a longtime Arizona resident, went on his first Grand Canyon whitewater rafting trip in May 2011. The 75-year-old adventurer kept a journal of his 10-day oar-powered trip through the heart of the Grand Canyon. He and Grand Canyon Whitewater would like to share this story with you, from the days before his launch all the way through to the sorrowful goodbyes at journey’s end.
Here’s the first installment in this series, A River Rat’s Tale, written by Bob.
“I had no expectations when I signed on for a 10-day rafting trip down the Colorado River, it was just something I had wanted to do for many years. I had seen photos and movies of it, heard stories about it, read all about it, had walked across the Colorado on the Kaibab Trail and Bright Angel Trail bridges many times, rafted the San Juan River in New Mexico once on an overnight trip when the kids were little and a day trip down the upper Salt River near where we live, but I didn’t really know what to expect on this trip.
Three friends managed to squeeze in with me at the last minute, 10 days before the trip started and we spent a lot of time on the phone planning what to pack, how much beer and wine to bring and going over the list Grand Canyon Whitewater had sent us. Finally, we were ready, or so we thought.
Bob Corley and Frosty from Globe, Ariz. and Mary Lou from Apache Junction, 80 miles west of Globe, in the Valley near Phoenix, met at my house at 9 a.m. Tuesday, May 24, and we were on our way within the hour, carpooling in my 12-passenger van. It was a 7-hour drive north through Payson, Flagstaff and Cameron to Marble Canyon, 296 miles through mostly very scenic country. We had a beer – Frosty and I did – and walked up to the old Navajo Bridge across the Colorado River at Marble Canyon for our first good look at the river.
Later, after settling into our motel rooms, we gathered for wine on the porch and talked of the coming trip. When Frosty saw a mouse run under the door of the room next to Mary Lou’s she just laughed — a little mouse doesn’t bother an old Nebraska farm girl like her. We had dinner at the Marble Canyon Lodge restaurant and wondered how many of the other people in the dining room were going to be with us tomorrow on the rafts.”
Keep following the blog for Bob’s next adventure: Day One on the River!