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. I aqua-blazed for a total of 16 miles in the spring and fall, which only left me wanting more, so much more! So in February 2024, I joined a private group for 19 days down the river, from Lees Ferry to Diamond Creek, 226 miles.

My first couple miles rafting the Grand Canyon as a hitch-hiker. Hayduke, May 2023.

A bit of background: I grew up next to the Arkansas River in Florence, Colorado, where rafting was a more common scene than even backpacking. My dad got into the sport in the 1980’s, bought an Aire 2-p “ducky” kayak and started dragging me and my mom along. We did some multi-day private rafting trips (Colorado, Yampa/Green, and San Juan) when I was a teenager, plus lots of runs down the local Arkansas (but ironically I didn’t go down the infamous the Royal Gorge Canyon until 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 in the first place.

As an adult, I did more river trips on my own, with some longish paddles through the Everglades (100 miles of the Wilderness Waterway) and 150 miles down the Suwanee River in my sea kayak. 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 love being on the water and spent many years coming to terms with my aqua-lust as a mate and navigator of ships at sea.

Paddling Te Araroa

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

Listed below are all my posts from this trip:

Grand Canyon Thru-Paddle 2024
GC Prep and Day 0
GC Day 1: A Wakeup
GC Day 2: The Roaring 20s
GC Day 3: Easy Ride to Nankoweap
GC Day 4: LCR Perfection
GC Day 5: Big Water
GC Day 6: Phantom Ranch Reset
GC Days 7 & 8: Big Splashes and 1st Layover Day
GC Day 9: Elves Chasm
GC Days 10 & 11: Tapeats and Deer Creek
GC Day 12: Matkat Dislocation
GC Days 13 & 14: Havasu and Wind Layover
GC Day 15: Lava
GC Days 16 & 17: Parashant
GC Day 18: Rain Day
GC Day 19: A Wakeup to Diamond Creek, Summary & Post-Trip