Going Boating to Go Hiking

“We considered it more of a hiking trip,” said the mysterious raft guide.

“We looked at the river as an obstacle to going hiking.”

“Wait,” I said. “Did you just say hiking?”

I was on a long-distance voice call with a veteran Grand Canyon guide who spent his off-seasons on an island in Southeast Asia. We’d connected through social media after I read an article about his trip down the entire John Wesley Powell route, roughly 1,000 miles on the Green and Colorado Rivers.

The previous February, I’d won a winter Grand Canyon permit. Now I was in the early stages of planning my own explorations along the entire Powell route. So far, I’d only glimpsed the route from land. My watery visions included serenely floating through scenic canyons, endlessly paddling flatwater, and white-knuckle-navigation through massive rapids.

But now this mysterious lifer, maybe 25 years older than me, was claiming the river-trip-of-a-lifetime was actually all about the hiking?

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