Grand Canyon by Raft Trip Report

On May 13th we completed our ten-day, 226-mile raft trip down the Grand Canyon, that I led with Visionary Wild instructor Jack Dykinga. An amazing group of ten clients plus our superb AZRA boat crew, Randy Tucker and Katie Proctor, made the trip one of the best we’ve ever done. Drawing on insights gained on earlier trips down the Colorado River, we were able to pull off a phenomenal itinerary, including some well-known Grand Canyon highlights and some little-known spots that are nevertheless a photographer’s dream come true. All of the images in the following gallery were on this trip. Participant Chuck Turner has written a series of excellent blog posts on the trip, which you can read by CLICKING HERE.

On our last day on the river, our intrepid raft guide Katie Proctor kindly shared with us her original poem about the lingering impact of a Grand Canyon raft trip. She left most of us crying tears of joy. Katie has kindly permitted us to reproduce it here, and it appears below the image gallery.

We are planning another Grand Canyon raft trip for the second half of September 2013, and we invite interested parties to contact us at to be added to the waiting list. We hope you’ll join us! –Justin Black


Raven Awaits You

by Katie Proctor


You were there

You newly fashioned Cowboys and Cowgirls

Where Water blasted over Rock,

careened through narrow canyons

and seeped quietly down salmon colored stone.

You were there

Mouth agape in a kind of “Rock shock,”

looking at ancient wise Rock.

You got the suspicion that all the commitments and deadlines you thought so

mightily important

were embarrassingly trivial.

At least for now.

And now is all there is.

You were there

when you realized this place was not magic.

Its real!

Its affects, real!

Reality doesn’t hold a candle to the realness of this place.

You were there

in this place where clean becomes relative

dryer sheets ineffective

and the scent of your own self


You were there

when the boat soared up

and crashed back down

water blasting

in your face

in your ears

up your nose

in the crevasses between your neck and jacket

down your pants

up your legs

down your throat

tousled your hair

wiped you clean

took your inhibitions with its cascade

released you of your droning thoughts,

the web of anxiety cramping your heart,

your steadfast visions and plans for the future.

Washed clean your idea of “The Way Things Ought to Be” and left you



Alive and smiling.

You were there

when subtly, slowly

Rock revealed to you that something so solid and still

can move you.

Be moved.

You can move mountains.

You were there

in Rock’s presence when your power scattered and just before you uttered the word

to your friend that these walls make you feel “small”, “insignificant”

you remembered your place.

you may have previously thought that your average size footprint didn’t matter

much at all in this Grand Scheme.

But now,


These same Rocks will be a witness to your impact for a millennia

after the short decades you were here.

You were there

when the question was posed to you

from the silently serious Rattlesnake

from the peering and ponderous Big Horn

What will you do with your great power friends?

What did you leave?

How did you love?

What did you learn when the stars poured down through that sliver above and

invited you

beckoned you

To open your eyes and your soul?

When you think you are insignificant remember the stars are bearing witness to

your one miraculous life


Rattlesnake is watching.

Coyote waits to see.

You were there

When you realized that this was more than a check marked off your “bucket list.”

Eventually that crumpled article torn from that Magazine’s “Top 10 Things to Do

in North America”

will be

thrown away.

The Transformation has occurred.

And you will feel

even from far away

in an office building in a distant metropolis

under florescent lights at the supermarket

or in that space between breaths when you crave Earthy connection.

You will know.


Raven awaits.

Perched among soaring walls and quiet pools.

Near pink sand beaches and quavering Evening Primrose.

Hermit rolls.

Lava thunders.

Blacktail waits in stillness.

You were there

You are here

Be moved.

Move gently.


© 2012 Katie Proctor. All Rights Reserved by the author. Reproduced here with permission.