Let me begin with one word: amazing. Cliche, maybe, but entirely accurate. From the first moment we stumbled out of the car onto the rim, buzzing with excitement (and, let's face it, a little exhausted from the early start), we were overtaken with a one-two punch: the breath-taking beauty of the Canyon, and our personable, prepared, all-over excellent guide Gavin.
The Hermit Trail is a less popular route: one day down, one day at the bottom exploring, and one day back up. It's definitely a more strenuous hike (we're all college kids in decent shape so we fared pretty well) but completely worth it for the amazing views all the way down. I had rafted the Grand before, and gotten another view of the Hermit rapids, but I am so happy I got to experience it from another perspective.
How about Just Roughin' It? From our first meeting, it was clear that our guide was (a) knowledgeable, experienced, and prepared, but also (b) an awesome guy who was there to make sure we stayed safe and had fun. He went out of his way over and over again-- whether it was making sure our packs were well-adjusted, preparing delicious meals (crepes at the bottom of the canyon = you know you're in paradise no matter how sore your muscles are), taking some amazing pictures of us, pointing out sights we wouldn't have noticed, telling great stories, the list goes on and on. Gavin never made us feel bad about having to take extra breaks when we needed them, and was always positive and upbeat. I strained my knee on the hike back up, and he not only helped me wrap it, but also (ridiculously heroically) carried my pack AS WELL AS his own for the last half mile, one of the hardest verticals of the hike. Yea, basicaaaaaally: Gavin rocks. A+++ to JRI for their awesome guides.
To sum up: this was a great way to spend our spring break, and a trip I would highly recommend. Prepare to be sweaty, sore, and love every minute of it.
By Amalia Hawkins on 2013-03-26