Alright, we derived a plan for our meeting at the raft rental company. John and I would be the “experts”, and when we didn’t know something that seemed like a detail we should know, we’d send in Ben and Heath to ask the dumb questions. This is in no way implying that those guys are dumb, it’s just that John and I were on the permit as “Oarsmen”, so we had to keep our rep. Anyway, that was the idea at least, but after spending about 10 minutes in another room squaring up the payment, I came out and the guys had entered into some sort of game show speed round of rookie questions that pretty much gave us up. I’m not shitting you, it got so thinly veiled that Heath’s last questions was “On average, how many times do normal people flip their boat?” The good news was, I don’t think they really cared. I think they just know that most people don’t really get involved with something like this unless they have some sort of meter for calculating risk.
I know some people read this site and just think we’re mindlessly wandering into danger, but don’t worry, we’re not idiots. The instinct to survive always overrides the need to thrill seek, but the whole point of these trips is to find something that we think has been overhyped as dangerous and give it a shot as a novice (El Capitan aside, because that one was nauseating/scary).
From Flagstaff we rode in a truck that trailered our two 18ft rafts and everything we’d need for our two plus weeks in the canyon. Thor was our guy. He’s the one who drives you out there, helps you rig the boats up, and gets you sorted out with the Ranger. On the drive out there we decided to let it all hang out and just let him know exactly where we stood with this whole “rafting” thing. As the truck barreled down the highway through a snowstorm, we dug deeper and deeper into the most naive questions we could find. “What happens when someone falls out of the raft?” “Has anyone ever lost a raft completely?” The best part was finding out that Thor had never rafted the Grand Canyon. So here you go, in case you missed that: Four guys peppering another guy with questions about something he himself has never done. The blind leading the blind is too obvious right?