Recently, I was fortunate enough to be a part of the gcrg Guides
Training Seminar in Fredonia, Arizona. I was helping my good friend,
DeeAnn Tracey, with the challenging task of cooking for the masses.
While the snow came down outside the Western River Expeditions warehouse,
the kitchen was warm, full of good smells and friendly souls helping
out, chopping onions and doing dishes.
Although I have only had the pleasure of being the assistant cook
on one commercial river trip thus far, I am a long time river runner
and enjoy the thrill of seeing new rivers and making repeated trips
down the old favorites. Of course, the Colorado River in Grand Canyon
is one of the most spectacular places I have ever been in my life
and I can honestly say that the first time I journeyed down that
chocolate river, my whole life changed in ways that are mostly indescribable.
I'm sure that this feeling is not at all unusual among those
folks who raft through Grand Canyon. And, from what I saw at the
seminar, it is precisely this feeling that bonds a very diverse
group of people together.
The gathering in Fredonia was host to a wide variety of people from
all walks of life who had at least one thing in common: a tremendous
passion for Grand Canyon. I was overwhelmed by the amount of love
and responsibility that many of the speakers at the seminar showed
for the Canyon. That kind of passion is absolutely contagious and
I have been thinking of the Canyon almost constantly since I returned
home to Flagstaff from the seminar.
There was a statuesque hydrologist from Oregon who came to the seminar
on a date. There was an eager young woman who, in her own words,
“shamelessly” worked the crowd to get on her first river
trip (and, apparently, it worked!). There was a medicine man, a
cowgirl and several elders of the canine world. There were several
couples who fell in love while in the Canyon. There was a beautiful
herbalist, a filmmaker and a group of young guides from Page. There
were people I had seen before on the river but never knew their
names. There were people whose names I had heard before but had
never met. There was a charming ski patrolman from Colorado who
kept me on the dance floor all night. There were husbands, wives,
children, friends, lovers, dogs, grandmas and grandpas. All who
came to this gathering because of love. Love for that tremendous
I would just like to say thank you to all of those incredible people.
In the course of one weekend, I learned a great deal about Grand
Canyon, Glen Canyon, Tusayan, river running, respect, love, and
personal fulfillment. All of those people inspired me to see beauty
all around me and to take challenges as they come my way. I have
not been this inspired in a very long time and I am so grateful
to all of the unique people that I met at the seminar who gave me
I hope to see all of you again, somewhere down the line, maybe even
down on the river.