It was the last day and the last half-hour before the Grand Canyon river permit lottery closed. I had never applied before, but thought I would give it a shot. Odds are about 1 in 100. I put in for a permit in the middle of March for a trip of 16 people. Soon I received an email that my application was successful. I had scored a permit for March 14th 2019.
I have rafted several of the large rivers out west but never the Colorado through the Grand Canyon. I have never been the trip leader and certainly never organized anything this big. I had not really discussed this with my wife, Chris before applying. I was both excited and a little overwhelmed. Fortunately I have good friends who have rafted the Grand before and have organized these trips. When I told them the news, they said “Don’t worry we’ve got this.” We had a full year to get it done.
Over the next few months we met several times and begin planning the trip. We contacted all of our friends and family who might want to go with us and eventually filled up all 16 available slots. We decided that we would bring two large catarafts and rent four more rafts from Moenkopi Riverworks in Flagstaff. We planned to do a full 24 day trip from Lees Ferry to Pearce Ferry and to provide all of our own food. Several in the group volunteered to provide food and divided up the number of meals between them. They began collecting and dehydrating the food.
We set up a Facebook page to share ideas and help plan for the trip. Since we were going in March, it would likely be cold overnight and many of us needed new gear for cold-weather camping and rafting. Water temperature was expected to be 48 degrees so drysuits would be needed in case of a swim. Puff jackets and pants were recommended for camp. Chris and I got zero degree sleeping bags as nighttime temperatures were forecast to be in the 20’s.