Day 25: Countdown to Grand Canyon/Colorado River Rafting

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25 days until we put in at Lee’s Ferry and enter Marble Canyon. Our outfitter is Canyoneers, operating out of Flagstaff, Arizona. We will be floating oar powered boats through the upper Grand, approximately 87 miles from Lee’s Ferry to Pipe Springs, near Phantom Ranch. 6 Days on the river, and the we hike out the South Rim.

One of the reasons we chose this group is because of the historical emphasis of the trip. There will be no motor powered support boat, so we won’t have to listen to outboards, just the pure sounds of the river and canyon and the slapping of waves on the bow and the creak of oars in the locks. Along with the rafts, the group will be using the “Sandra,” one of the original Nevills Expedition cataract boats. Built in 1947, the Sandra was the last of the big water cataract boats to be built by Norm Nevills. In 2000, Norm’s grandson, Greg Reiff, began having the Sandra fully restored. She is currently the only fully restored, river worthy, cataract boat originally built and run by Norm Nevills.

01583   Grand Canyon Nat Park: Historic River Photo

NORMAN NEVILLS’ 5TH COLORADO RIVER EXPEDITION. AT BRIGHT ANGEL CREEK DURING STOPOVER ON JULY 18-21, 1947. PHOTOGRAPHER J.M. EDEN. CIRCA 1947. NPS COPYRIGHT.

Here is a link to Canyoneers explaining the history of Norm Nevills and his boats:

The Canyoneers Story — From Nevills to Nowadays

Nevills was a commercial boater, running trips mainly on the San Juan River (he took his wife down the San Juan for their honeymoon, in a boat he built out of his mother’s horse trough). In addition, he took 7 trips down the canyon between 1938 and 1949, including a 43 day, 666 mile trip escorting two botanists from the University of Michigan to catalogue the flora of the canyon from Green River to Lake Mead. They were the first two women to successfully float the Grand Canyon.

nevills boat

Along the trip we will be visiting scenic areas and taking some short side hikes each day. We expect temperatures to range from 100 – 115 degeed Farenheit (they were running 110 last week).

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