Grand Canyon Float #2 – The Beginning of a Grand Adventure

Canyoneering at Silver Grotto, mile 29.4. Side hikes starting from the river are a main attraction for river runners. Some hikes, like Silver Grotto, involve technical climbing and swimming through pools. Photograph by Andy Maser

The first time I remember on a river when I was nine.  Halfway through my first lesson I’d talked my instructor out of her hot-rod kayak and set out in search of the toughest beginner whitewater in sight.  My dad loves to tell that story.

Since then, I’ve been fortunate enough to kayak competitively, embark on massive expeditions to every corner of the world, and enjoy lots of quality time on rivers with good people.

This month, I find myself rowing, stand-up paddleboarding, and kayaking through the Grand Canyon with an unlikely group of folks.  Sarah and Eric McNair-Landry are polar explorers, Joe Riis is a wildlife photographer, Eric Boomer is an exploratory kayaker and photographer.  With us is an incredible hodgepodge of artists, craftsmen, drifters, and friends.

Midday rest stop at Redwall Cavern, mile 33.3; Photograph by Andy Maser

Few adventures could bring together such a cool and eclectic group of people, united under one goal.  Fortunately for me, drifting 281 miles through one of the most beautiful and remote places in our country on the Colorado River is one of those adventures.  It’s like coming home.

For 21 days we’ll be a nomadic tribe working together to keep moving downstream.  And it’ll probably be the most relaxing expedition any of us have ever embarked upon.

Today is the end of day five—the scenery has been fantastic, the whitewater exciting and the beach games even better.  And it’s all just begun.


  1. Jeanne Riis
    Pierre, SD
    September 26, 2012, 8:13 am

    Andy, great pics. You are experiencing a trip that will hold many wonderful memories for a life time. Enjoy!

  2. Maggie Valiante
    Jackson Hole, Wyoming
    September 26, 2012, 10:47 pm

    Hi Chris, Lane and all those great folks you are paddling with!
    Thanks for sharing your great adventure with us……keep the pictures and stories coming!
    XO Mom

  3. Cindy Vix
    Olathe, KS
    September 29, 2012, 8:31 pm

    Enjoying the pix and narrative! If you see another group of about 11 rafters, with red curly haired female (from Alaska), please say ‘Hi Karie, from your mom!” 🙂 They started on the 25-26th I believe.

  4. Eva Sharlene Peters
    October 7, 2012, 1:09 pm

    Andy! Wow. Spectacular-you, again. Amazing photography. But we miss you here in Oregon!