Sturgeon Moon – Rafting in the Grand Canyon


Almost two years ago, our dear friends from the beach invited us to come along with them on an adventure that Marcel (76 years old at the time) had been dreaming of for years. Rafting down the Grand Canyon!

Mack and I were immediately onboard. We love our pals and they make anything fun. This rafting trip had been on our bucket list (pretty far down, to be honest…but still on the list:)). But, Linda and Marcel are such fun, that we knew it would be a fabulous trip.

My friend Linda (a world-class traveler, having been a single public school teacher for 35+ years, traveling every summer) had done her research. She found a great tour company, Western River Expeditions, which had been in business for almost 60 years. Only problem – there was no vacancy until the summer of 2017. So, we all signed up – not really knowing what the next year and a half would hold (turns out, some surgeries – rotator cuff, cataracts, and a couple of others) But, we all turned out healthy and happy in August, 2017 – ready for adventure.

My pal Linda (seriously, one of the very cutest, perkiest, smartest gals I’ve ever known) is not the outdoorsy type. She loves theater, books, music, etc. But she also loves Marcel and wanted to do this for him. So, in typical fashion, she threw herself 100% into the adventure.

She bought the “works for her” package of clothing and gear from the rafting company several months before the trip. I held off – planning to lose 50 pounds (as I have “planned” to do for the past 30 years). Sadly, that did not happen. So let me stop my tale right here for a few minutes to talk about that….

In my life, I’ve been able to do just about everything that I set my mind to do – everything that is, except for losing weight. My mother calls it “hard headed.” I prefer “strong willed.” But, whatever it is, it has worked for me. Except for this weight thing.

So much to talk about concerning the weight issue, but sticking with the Grand Canyon story, let’s just say that the excitement of the trip was a bit overshadowed by the “weight limit” issue mentioned on the website.

Now, I’m not side-show fat. Sturdy, chunky, hefty…but not fat-lady-at-the-circus-fat. I know I need to lose weight, I want to lose weight. I jazzercise every day and try to watch what I eat. But, the Waltman-side genes have definitely kicked in.

So, as the date of the Grand Canyon adventure approached, my enthusiasm was subdued by that overwhelming fright of the weigh-in.

Surely, I thought, they will not embarrass people by weighing them and turning away those chunky ones. There are certainly people “even larger” than me who have taken the trip. I convinced myself not to worry (besides, I thought, If it was so worried, why didn’t I do something about it?)

So, I purchased my rafting outfits (a little larger than I had hoped, but pretty cute). We packed up and headed to Vegas, where we would be picked up for the bus, plane, and helicopter rides down to the river where the adventure would begin.

Then, it happened. Upon boarding the bus from the hotel to the airport, we were handed a sheet of paper, stating that we would be weighed upon arrival at the airport, then “placed” in the airplane and helicopter based on that weight. Yikes!

Well, after quietly shedding a few tears along the way (hidden from my pals, of course), we got to the airport, and though my heart was pounding, it all worked out ok. A weigh-in was required, but they were very discrete. They did “metrics” to distribute the weight on the plane, and even I (knowing the truth of the pounds) couldn’t tell how they did it. (I joined Weight Watchers yesterday – enough already!).

So, enough about the weight issue. I’m glad that my inability to get a hold on that unfortunate part of my life has not caused me to miss out on opportunities to have fun.

Now, back to the trip! It was a great one. Western River Expeditions did a wonderful job of organizing everything to the tiniest detail. Since returning, I tell people that it was, “just scary enough.” And, that’s a good way to put it. There were exciting rapids along the way, but I was never afraid. I think that’s because I had complete trust in the guides. They were cute, fun, experienced, and very professional. They made it look easy.

We were on the 3 day/2 night trip (which, frankly, is just right – any more would be too much). Day 1 was pretty tame in the rafting department. We had a few pretty good rapids, but we were told that the real deal would happen the next day. We stopped about 4:00 pm to set up camp along the river for the night.

We were responsible for the “fire line” (passing the gear from the boat to shore from person to person). We got our cots and tents set up just in time for a yummy spaghetti dinner. Everything tastes great outdoors after a busy day of rafting!

There was a full moon out during our trip; a Sturgeon Moon according to the Native Americans who lived in that canyon through the centuries. BTW, the August full moon is called the Sturgeon Moon for a reason. Each full moon was name by the Algonquin tribes of the United States and those names referred to a seasonal occurrence, which allowed the tribes to keep track of the seasons. The late summer moon was named for the large fish, most easily caught in late summer. The August full moon is also called the Blueberry Moon (Ojibwe tribe) and The Moon When All Things Ripen (Dakota Sioux). Whatever it was called by the Native Americans, I call it spectacular!

I pulled my cot out of the tent and slept right there under the stars and that brilliant moon, which lit up the Canyon like daylight. We couldn’t have planned it any better!

  (My main man…We celebrated our 42 anniversary on this trip)

People throw around the term “trip of a lifetime” a lot. I’ve been fortunate to have a few of those life-changing trips. This was definitely one of them! I’m planning a return trip with some girlfriends. Mack loved it as well, but he is of the opinion that there are so many places to visit in the world, that there’s no need to go again. I want to do EVERYTHING and do some of it MORE THAN ONCE!

  We had such fun, but we were POOPED!

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