Laura and I just returned from a week rafting the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon. The 188-mile trip in a 15-person motorized raft included six nights of camping along the river, more than 60 rapids, several hikes to springs and waterfalls, and a helicopter ride out of the canyon. It was exhilarating and exhausting.
Here are my quick takeaways from the adventure:
— Laura and I completely disconnected from our business for seven days — no cell signal, and satellite phones weren’t allowed. While unsettling, it was remarkable how quickly and easily our focus shifted entirely to the river and the moments at hand.
— Most of the liquid we consumed was water and powdered sports drinks dispensed from large coolers. We took along canned soft drinks and beer, which were chilled in mesh bags dragged through the cold river behind the raft. I was surprised how quickly we got used to packaged drinks chilled to 50-degrees rather than 34-degrees, and just how refreshing they still were after a day on the river under an often blistering sun. And, as anywhere, those drinks were the social glue every evening as the group of 29 sat in circles and swapped stories.
— I learned just how resilient aluminum cans are, and that all are not made equal. Most cans survived the rapids. A few broke, especially a particular root beer brand whose lightweighted can apparently hadn’t been designed with a river drag in mind. And while days pulled through sandy water does a number on a can’s paint job, they remained readable! I wonder if Ball has considered testing here?
— Interrupting a cushy lifestyle in one’s 50s to sleep on foldable cots on silt beaches under the stars for six nights is a shock to the system. Sand blown in your face at night. Bats. Aching back. Middle-of-the-night temperature changes. A lack of privacy (I won’t even describe the bathroom situation – look it up). Despite it all, I feel fortunate to have gotten so out of my life’s comfort zone and to have experienced a world’s wonder up close.