One of the most humbling trips I (Kyle) have ever been a part of was with Daring Adventures in the spring of 2015.
Being the connection point between Arizona River Runners and Daring Adventures has been one of the great privileges of my life. Together, we planned one hell of a trip. Usually I’m on the side of educating guests about the ins and outs of a week long rafting trips down the Colorado River, but in this case, I was certainly the pupil. My teacher was the director of Mainstream Expeditions and an all around wonderful woman, Linda Tuck.
Mainstream Expeditions, a program within Daring Adventures, organizes adults with mobility, sensory or cognitive limitations for trips down the Colorado River. They provide adaptive gear, trained volunteers and scholarships for these tenacious adventurers.
Under the credo, “Our Everest”, trip participants and my fellow river runners were in a perpetual state of limit pushing. Unseasonably cold weather, wind, rain, massive hail, hot hikes, and rocky side canyons did not deter the Daring Adventures folks from achieving their goals. In fact, spirits were oddly high. After every cold, rain filled night, the Arizona River Runners crew were greeted in the morning with cheery faces and jokes about the activities from the previous day.
The scope of achievement was different for each person. One abundantly jovial participant had never swam or been in any natural body of water. So naturally, we threw some life vests on him and swam him down the riffles of the Little Colorado River. An incredibly kind woman without sight, who was no stranger to adventure, jumped from a cliff into the Mighty Colorado below.
But the most impactful moment for me was after a cold and wet hike back to Phantom Ranch. This routine hike for me is usually where guests rest under the shade of the massive cottonwoods while guides fill up water bins for the remainder of the excursion. A woman, who was in an adapted wheelchair and a member of the Daring Adventures board, gave me a long hug and expressed that her lifelong goal was to see that ranch at the bottom of the Grand Canyon. Nearly a mile down in elevation from the South Rim, Phantom Ranch is the destination for a minority of Grand Canyon visitors, though its fame has been long lasting. Her attainment of a life long goal gave me new perspective about attitude and grit. Things that come easy are rarely beautiful. Set high goals and strive to see wonderful things.
Thank you Daring Adventures – Mainstream Expeditions folks for giving us guides the trip-of-a-lifetime!