Activity note: Hotel check-in available from 3:00 p.m.
Afternoon: Program Registration: 4:30 - 4:45 p.m. After you have your room assignment, come over to the Road Scholar table in the hotel meeting room to register with the program staff and get your welcome packet containing your name-tag, up-to-date schedule that reflects any last-minute changes, other important information, and to learn when and where the Orientation session will take place. If you arrive late, please ask for your packet when you check in. Orientation: Part 1. 4:45 - 5:15 p.m. The Group Leader will greet everyone and lead introductions. We will review the up-to-date program schedule and any changes, discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer questions. This is a rewarding river adventure in a primitive/wilderness setting. Come prepared for a hands-on experience where participants pitch in with camp set up and clean up throughout the program. Unless noted otherwise, field trips will be conducted by our Group Leader, a seasoned and experienced naturalist, who will also function as our Study Leader. Transportation will be provided primarily by passenger vans unless specified otherwise. Be prepared for repeatedly getting on/off the raft, helping to carry gear to set up camp, and camping on sandy beaches. Some beach areas may be small and camping spots will be relatively close together. Camp will be exposed to the elements. We will hope for and frequently enjoy balmy days but be prepared for shifts in the weather including cold fronts and wind. Program activities, schedules, personnel, and indicated distances or times may change due to local circumstances/conditions. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding.
Dinner: After walking to a nearby restaurant, we’ll enjoy plated meals with appetizers, soups, an extensive salad bar with more than 50 fresh items including seasonal and specialty salads, just picked vegetables, fresh fruits, and desserts plus soft drinks, coffee, tea, water.
Evening: Following dinner we will regroup to meet our raft leader and review the particulars of our river adventure. Each person will receive one large and one small dry bag to pack their things into. Space is ample in these bags as sleeping bags and pads are packed separate. We’ll also discuss packing suggestions and what to expect on the river. Luggage you do not bring on the river can be stored safely at the hotel until we return. For questions, contact the Program Provider (Northern Arizona University) at (928) 523-2359; or RoadScholarprograms@nau.edu.
Activity note: Driving about 90 miles one way to Grand Canyon, approximately 1.5 hours. Hiking about 1-2 miles, approximately 2-3 hours with stops; well-maintained packed dirt trails. Elevation 6,800 feet; elevation change of about 150 feet.
Breakfast: Continental style at the hotel with choices such as waffles, hard boiled eggs, fresh fruits, pastries, bagels, cereals, muffins, juices, milk, coffee, tea, water.
Morning: We’ll board our vans and travel to Grand Canyon National Park for a hike with our Group Leader. From the South Rim, we’ll enjoy sweeping canyon views from various vantage points and begin to gain a perspective of the canyon's immense size. We’ll also catch glimpses of the Colorado River that will be our home for the next three days. Our Group Leader will share and interpret the park's natural and historic features throughout the day as we walk.
Lunch: Sack lunch to include sandwich, fruit, chips, and a cookie.
Afternoon: Continue exploring rim viewpoints, the historical Grand Canyon Village, and other points of interest. Highlights of the village include the Kolb Brothers Photography Studio and the buildings of Santa Fe Railroad designer Mary Jane Colter including the Bright Angel Lodge, Lookout Studio and the Hopi House. At the east end of the village, we’ll visit the 100 year old El Tovar Hotel, one of the great hotels in the National Park System. From the village boardwalk, we’ll be able to see the North Rim and various spires and buttes rising from the canyon floor. We’ll also have time to explore rim trails and admire canyon vistas.
Dinner: At a local Greek restaurant with a variety of entrée choices, we’ll have plated meals with coffee, tea, water included; other beverages available for purchase.
Evening: At leisure. Be sure to pack up your river gear and rest up for our early transfer in the morning for our rafting campout.
Activity note: Driving about 140 miles, approximately 3 hours. Walking about 1 mile, approximately 1 hour while we explore the shores of the river on sandy, rocky terrain that requires some agility. Be prepared for repeatedly getting on/off the raft and helping to carry gear to set up camp. Class 3 rapids. Rafting up to 10 miles throughout the day. Camping on sandy beaches.
Breakfast: Hotel buffet.
Morning: After checking out of the hotel, we’ll travel along parts of historic Route 66 and the Hualapai Indian Reservation to our launch point down the only road to the bottom of the Grand Canyon, the Diamond Creek Road, which is a thrilling experience itself. As we descend into the canyon, the red rock walls will seem to rise and soon engulf us. The final 20 miles of our drive today are over a dirt road, sometimes bumpy. Upon arrival, we’ll board our rafts at the Diamond Creek beach and start our journey down lower Granite Gorge, the final 56 miles of the Grand Canyon and John Wesley Powell's "Great Unknown." Commentary will be provided en route by raft leaders and our Road Scholar Group Leader. Rafts are 16 and 18 foot "Oar Frame" pontoon style rafts with an attached metal frame. The boatman pilots and powers the raft using 2 oars situated in the oar frame. Passengers sit on top of the rubber pontoons or on top of gear boxes. There are strong nylon straps (webbing) to hold onto in the rapids. Depending on weather and the groups interest, the raft company may also bring one "paddle raft" so participants can be involved with the navigation of the boat and a few inflatable kayaks to enjoy on the flat portion of the river (no rapids). Final determination on the array of boats will be announced during our orientation meeting with the guides on night one. Camping will be under the stars with tents, pads and sleeping bags as requested.
Lunch: On a beach along the river, we’ll stop for a meal of cold cuts, other assorted goodies and beverages.
Afternoon: We’ll load our personal gear, have a safety orientation, then be off to face our first rapids and experience thrilling Class 3 size white water (the Colorado River uses a 1-10 rapid rating scale making these Class 3 rapids into 6 -7's locally). Expect splashing and hold on! Our first stop will be at Travertine Grotto for a hike while our knowledgeable Group Leader expands on the fascinating story of Grand Canyon's geology and natural history en route to our campsite. I you prefer not to join in the hike, you may wish to relax or explore the area on your own before we continue traveling down the Colorado River. Upon arrival at our campsite, we’ll help the crew unload the communal cooking equipment, food, and personal gear from the boats. We’ll each find our own space to set up. Tents will always be available, but under clear skies most participants opt not to set up a tent and, instead, sleep under the stars. Be prepared for camping on sandy beaches. Some beach areas may be small and camping spots will be relatively close together. Camp will be exposed to the elements. We will hope for and frequently enjoy balmy days but be prepared for shifts in the weather including cold fronts and wind. Once camp is set up, the crew will prepare a meal. CAMP TOILET: A group toilet system will be set up at camp each evening, with a thorough orientation to the system and hygiene. During the day, female and male areas will be identified along the shoreline and bushes with a discussion of correct protocol.
Dinner: In the beautiful riverside setting, we’ll have freshly prepared buffet meals every night. You are welcome to help the crew in prep and clean up.
Evening: At leisure. Settle in for the evening and enjoy chatting with new friends under the stars.
Activity note: Getting on/off raft multiple times, helping to carry gear and set up camp. Approximately 1/2 mile hike available; even, sandy, rocky trail.
Breakfast: We’ll wake up early to shouts of “Coffee!” as our staff prepares tasty fixings. Depending on the day and our itinerary and timing, it may be a hot or cold breakfast with choices such as scrambled eggs, bacon, French toast, fresh fruit, orange juice, bagels.
Morning: We’ll break camp and help load the raft before floating downstream with commentary provided by our Program Coordinator and river experts on the geological, natural, and human history of the area. On our way, we’ll encounter more rapids and, for those who wish, go on an exploration of side canyons including a hike in Bridge Canyon. In addition to learning more specifics of geology and canyon history, we’ll also stop at Separation Canyon. This historically significant spot is where, after months of challenges, turmoil and deprivation, 3 members of the famous 1869 Powell Expedition left the river trip to strike out on their own and attempt to hike out of the canyon rim. They were never seen again. Our experts will tell the rest of the story.
Lunch: On a beach, we’ll have lunch with cold cuts and assorted goodies.
Afternoon: We’ll continue rafting down the river, deeper into the Grand Canyon, with stops for short side hikes. Our river experts will provide commentary and interpretation of passing sights. We’ll then land and make camp.
Dinner: On the beach, we’ll enjoy another delicious and filling meal.
Evening: At leisure. Enjoy the evening chatting with the group, writing in your journal or looking up from your camp spot as the stars begin to pop out.
Activity note: Getting on/off raft multiple times, helping to carry gear and set up camp. Hiking approximately ½ mile, about 1 hour, over sandy, rocky terrain.
Breakfast: Riverside camp breakfast. By now, you know the drill: “Coffee!”
Morning: We’ll continue floating downstream, running rapids and learning more about how to “read” the river. We’ll float within view of the now famous Grand Canyon Skywalk. Located 3,500 feet above the river, the horseshoe shaped glass walkway juts out over the rim of the canyon giving visitors a thrilling view of the canyon below their feet.
Lunch: On a beach, we’ll have lunch with cold cuts, peanut butter, and assorted goodies.
Afternoon: As we continue rafting downstream, we’ll take advantage of opportunities that may present themselves for exploring side canyons, going on hikes, or other activities as determined by our river experts based on factors such as the itinerary, timing, and local conditions. At some point during this day the rapids run out and the river becomes primarily flat water. To get us down the river the boats use an outboard motor as the flow is not enough to enable us to cover the miles we have to go.
Dinner: Once the crew has set up facilities for the evening, they will prepare another scrumptious dinner.
Evening: At leisure. Another evening in a different camp with a different view. Life doesn't get much better than this!
Activity note: Be prepared to assist in unloading the boats for the last time. The drive back to Flagstaff is about 220 miles, approximately 4 hours.
Breakfast: Riverside camp breakfast.
Morning: We’ll break camp for the last time and raft the final stretch of the river through the Grand Canyon as we quickly pass the Grand Wash Cliffs and onto the farthest reaches of Lake Mead. The river take out is at Pearce Ferry landing, site of a historic pioneer Mormon river crossing. We’ll then unload the boats of our personal gear.
Lunch: One more opportunity for a riverside dining experience with lunch at the take out site.
Afternoon: After loading the vans, we’ll depart for Flagstaff with arrival back in “civilization” expected in the afternoon. We’ll check in to our hotel rooms and no doubt jump into a well deserved hot shower!
Dinner: At a local restaurant, we’ll have plated meals for our farewell dinner together, plus coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase. Share favorite experiences with new Road Scholar friends.
Evening: We’ll gather one last time together as a group at the hotel for a program wrap-up, impressions, and final reflections. Then prepare for check out and departure in the morning.
Activity note: Hotel check-out by 11:00 a.m.
Breakfast: Hotel buffet. This concludes our program.
Morning: We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Please join our Facebook page and share photos of your program. Visit us at www.facebook.com/rsadventures. Best wishes for all your journeys!