Rafting the Grand Canyon: Q&A

Eight days rafting through the Grand Canyon, sleeping under the stars, and being boggled by nature

Leaving Lee’s Ferry
This is not a stock photo. I took this photo. With my crappy phone. Utterly incredible.

As I will one day get around to blogging about, the spring of 2019 was a difficult, intense, exhausting several months. I was building up to the snakefight that was my comprehensive exam and proposal defense, taking classes, winding down a four-year fellowship, and trying to plan fieldwork that would never actually happen.

In the midst of it all, I had the opportunity to spend eight days rafting the Grand Canyon. I defy any geologist, nature lover, or poet to voluntarily say no to a rafting trip down the Grand Canyon, regardless of how much else you have on your plate. So obviously, I went.

To begin with, I’ll answer several questions you may have.

  1. You talk a lot about being a broke grad student. Where’d you get Grand Canyon rafting money?
    Excellent question. The trip was part of a class, so my fellowship paid for the ‘field trip fee’. Yes, I am very fortunate. I will say, however, that the department had funds to cover undergrad trip fees and heavily offset trip fees for graduate students without a cushy fellowship.
  2. This was for a class?!
    Yup, uh-huh. Geology means field trips and field trips are fun. Sometimes you go to pretty normal (but cool), local places. Sometimes you get to do super neat things like raft the Grand Canyon or hike Miocene coral reefs in Spain.
  3. Man, you must have to rich to be a geology student…
    Eh. I mean, it would definitely help. But trips are usually kept as cheap as possible so that students can attend. Sometimes departments can help offset costs, which also helps. Those without much capital or without a financial safety net definitely have a harder time, not going to pretend otherwise. Especially when it comes to equipment and clothing/gear. The good thing is that you can usually borrow equipment/gear from people not on the trip. Pretty sure one of the undergrads on this Grand Canyon trip borrowed all their rain and field gear from a friend.
  4. Wait, you camped all those days? Like, on the raft?
    Yeah, you camp. But not on the raft. There are campsites, and we went with a company so it was really comfortable and honestly one of the least stressful field trips of my life. The meals were great, we slept under the stars, and there was a little portable toilet thing so you didn’t have to dig a hole (which you’re not allowed to do in the Grand Canyon).
  5. Omg, how was it??
    Freakin a m a z i n g.
This photo literally makes me want to weep.

This is just a little teaser post, look for a mostly photos post tomorrow!


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