See the Grand Canyon from the Bottom Up

October 23, 2014 - 12:20
A stretch of placid water on the Colorado River within the Grand Canyon.

Almost 5 million people flock to the Grand Canyon annually to ogle the deep, dramatic gorge that cuts over a mile deep to expose 2 billion years of the earth’s geologic history.  The Grand Canyon is the second-most-visited national park in the country; peak season is crowded with busloads of tourists from around the world.

Adventurers in-the-know, however, will tell you there is a better way to experience the Grand Canyon—a raft trip down the Colorado River.  A raft trip offers big whitewater adventure, but also moments of solitude, serenity, and communion with nature you simply will not find along the rim. The National Park Service issues just 1100 raft permits annually for the Grand Canyon, so when you set off in your raft at Lee’s Ferry for your 200 miles journey to Whitmore Wash, you are among the privileged few.  

Next July UNLV geologist Peg Rees and artist/naturalist Sharon Shafer will lead a week-long exploration of the Grand Canyon by motorized raft through UNLV Continuing Education. Taking eight days to cover nearly 200 miles of the river through nearly 2 billion years of the earth's history allows plenty of time for photographing and learning about the natural and cultural history and geologic evolution of the region. Each day offers the opportunity to take short hikes to explore amazing places such as the Little Colorado River, Deer Creek Falls, Elves Chasm, and Red Wall Cavern. Nights are spent camping along the river, enjoying delicious meals, watching the stars, and falling asleep to sounds of rushing water.

Rees and Shafer have scheduled three multimedia programs in the coming weeks to share stories and images from past Grand Canyon trips. They will cover the canyon’s geology, natural and cultural history, and logistics of a trip of this scale.  The presentations are free and open to the public. You may just get inspired to join them on an adventure of a lifetime next summer.

Dates for the multimedia presentations are Nov. 6, Nov. 13, and Dec. 4. Presentations are Thursday evenings from 6-7 p.m. and will be held in Room 301 at UNLV Paradise Campus, 851 E. Tropicana.

For additional details about the presentations or about the Grand Canyon Raft Trip, call 702-895-5224 or email charlee.zingraf@unlv.edu. Grand Canyon Raft Trip details are also available here