We get lots of first-time campers on our Grand Canyon river trips. The good news is, while it is wilderness camping, we provide all the gear you need and our guides are exceptionally good at helping nervous newbies acclimate to a foreign environment! The guides will show you how to set up the tents we provide, and they’ll give you pointers on things like going to the bathroom and getting the most out of your once-in-a-lifetime Colorado River trip.
Here is a little preview of what you can expect down in the Canyon:
1. No running water. Well, we shouldn’t say no running water — that Colorado River is running pretty hard! But there are no sinks and no showers and our toilets don’t flush. But! We DO have hand-wash stations set up every day for lunch and every evening in camp. It’s nothing fancy — it’s a couple of buckets, a hose and a foot pump! — but it works. So you’ll always be able to wash your hands in camp. If you want to wash your hair or use soap to bathe, you’ll have to do that in the river. What about things like brushing your teeth? You might hear our guides say, “the solution to pollution is dilution.” What does that mean? It means all liquid waste (including urine) needs to make it into the river, which is the best way to flush out our waste. So, you’ll want to spit your toothpaste into the river, dump your leftover coffee into the river, and certainly make sure your pee ends up in the river. Don’t worry just yet about the “how” of all these things, because our guides will explain it all to you once you’re down there on the river.
2. No electricity. That means no blow-dryers, no nightlights (unless you count the moon), no running down your Kindle every night and charging it up again the next morning! You’ll need to get your flashlight handy before the sun sets for the night, and you’ll want to keep it nearby, in case you need to get up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom.
3. No picnic benches, no outhouses, no developed campsites. A “campsite” in Grand Canyon is really nothing more than a sandy spit of beach, and they are all available on a first come, first served basis — so we never know in advance which campsite you’ll be staying at each night. We’ll provide camp chairs for you, and we’ll set up a toilet system, but beyond that … you’ll be drying your clothes by stretching them across a hot rock or a big bush and you’ll be learning how to “multi-purpose” your gear. For example, did you know your provided coffee mug makes an excellent shampoo rinse system? It’s an even better cocktail glass! Your sarong is a towel, a shade cover, a clothes-changing station, and a great way to cool yourself down, once you dip it in the river!
If you have questions about any of this stuff, feel free to give us a call here in the office. All of us have been on multiple river trips and can help you get dialed in to this new experience. Your guides will be your best source of information down on the river; there’s no reason to be shy about any of your questions — we’ve heard it all before 😉