Twig Adventures

Grand Canyon Thru-Paddle 2024

In 2023, I was lucky to hitch 2 separate raft rides while ‘hiking’ the Hayduke route through the Grand Canyon in the spring and fall. I aqua-blazed for a total of 16 miles, which only left me wanting more, so much more! So this February, I’m joining a private group for 19 days down the river, from Lees Ferry to Diamond Creek, 226 miles.

I grew up next to the Arkansas River in Florence, Colorado, where rafting was a more common scene than even hiking or backpacking. My dad got into the sport in the 1980’s, bought an Aire 2-p “ducky” kayak and started dragging me and Mom along. We did some multi-day private rafting trips on the Colorado, Yampa/Green, and San Juan Rivers when I was a teenager, plus lots of runs down the local Arkansas (but ironically I didn’t raft the famous the Royal Gorge Canyon until 2017, just after I finished my first thru-hike, the Colorado Trail). In effect, these early river adventures were what introduced me to the magic and awe of the outdoors, which later led to my passion for thru-hiking.

As an adult, I did more ocean/river trips in my sea kayak, with some longish paddles through the Everglades (100 miles of the Wilderness Waterway) and 150 miles down the Suwanee River. I even paddled a portion of the Whanganui river as part of Te Araroa, my long-distance hike in New Zealand. As much as I love hiking and backpacking, I’m a river rat and water nymph at heart. I’ve been on the water for a large part of my life, spending many years chasing my aqua-lust as a mate and navigator of ships at sea.

Paddling Te Araroa, combining thru hiking with thru paddling

A Grand Canyon thru paddle is an extraordinary opportunity to bring my adventures full circle, returning to my roots. It’s hands down the Grandest setting a river could run.

I will write daily reports about the trip, but posts will be delayed, since I won’t have cell service for the entire 3 weeks on the river….look for updates mid-late March.

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