Time to answer those 20 questions I wrote on the bus as the trip was just starting:

  1. This trip was a lot of fun. The river was fun, the scenery was fun, the guide was fun, the other people were fun, Dad was fun, camping was fun - there wasn't anything I can think of that wasn't fun.
  2. However, it wasn't life-changing. At least not for me. Hopefully Dad enjoyed it enough to relax more and help Mom relax more.
  3. Dad and I got along great. Other than a few very minor tent turf barbs, everything went well. He was amazing on the hikes - he amazed everyone, I think. He was preoccupied by Mom's health but was very pleasant to be around in general. I hope that I acted OK. I had a tendency to walk too fast and leave him behind as we'd walk, and I spent so much time o this journal that could have been spent talking to him.
  4. The rapids were big - bigger than anything I can remember, but their scale was reduced in a sense by the size of our raft. We would have been showered and hammered with water in most rafts, but our big battleship just busted through. However, there were no huge drops or waves that dwarfed our boat. Or so it seemed at the time. When we stopped to watch the other boat go through Lava Falls, they did disappear once or twice. But I think the real challenge of the rapids is in navigation, not in just riding them. Bear did such a good job that we didn't even get to see the results of mistakes.
  5. Although it wasn’t a mile-a-minute for the whole week, I never did get bored. If the river was slow, I would talk with the other people. If the conversations lagged, I could just look more closely at the scenery around me, which had no end of items of interest.
  6. Dad and I talked about it and we think we got a good deal. There is just no way to imagine how much it would have cost us to go ourselves, besides the impossibility of getting a river permit. This company was one of the more expensive ones to choose from, but I can't imagine getting more service and experience from another one.
  7. Bear was a good guide. I tend to like chattier guides because I like hearing about everything, but if he'd been like that I wouldn't have talked as much to others, and some people would get annoyed by all the talking. And he was always ready to answer my questions. He might have downplayed his teaching nature, but every now and then I saw it come up, most often with George.
  8. As described in other places, the other rafters were great. They greatly enhanced the trip. This was an important question to me on the bus to the river because there were the other boat's rafters who seemed to be different. Everything worked out for the best.
  9. I have never eaten as much food three times a day for a whole week like I did on this trip. The food was good and diverse and even enough for this picky eater. Bear did a fine job. We had more drinks than we realized on board, and so I went a little thirsty for the first few days. We needed to be conservative with drinks, of course, but we all over-did it. We had oranges and apples readily available, too, and I should have eaten more of them as we went along.
  10. Dad and I didn't wear our sweatpants or sweatshirts, or our main thin nylon jumpsuits. Mainly, I only wore my nylon shorts and a t-shirt on the raft with Tevas or AquaSocks and put on my rainsuit top or bottom a couple of times. In camp I put on some comfortable shoes and socks and dry clothes that I'd wear the next day. I slept in a shirt and underwear or just underwear. But if it ha been cold, the sweats would have been needed. But I don't think the thin nylon would have ever been. The sun just wasn't that bad, and was only direct for a few hours each day. Sunblock did a good job.
  11. I should have brought my shaving stuff - Dad and I left ours in Vegas on purpose and we could have shaved if we wanted - we needed a mirror for that. I should have brought more stuff to make my contact-wearing easier - more spares, a larger mirror, and more solution.
  12. We never were really taken aback by something we didn't know we'd need. We probably should have brought more film - we brought 7 rolls and 3 disposable cameras, and should have brought about another 3 rolls. No one else had anything along that we would have wanted, either.
  13. Well, this may not be for Mom. The 8 days of camp living might have been tough, although the 4 ladies with us all made it through in good shape. They were very ready for a good shower, but so was Dad. It seemed like everyone got used to the bathroom situation after a few days. And riding in the Cadillac section would keep her dry and comfortable and not at all scared.
  14. We were hot at night a few times, and cold a few times in the morning after plowing through some rapids. We had very good weather on the trip overall. I can see how much hotter and colder (and wetter) weather is possible.
  15. There were days when we were wet quite a bit, but for the most part that was by choice. Some people didn't get wet much at all, others like Dad and Kathy kept their rain gear on, and Mike and me tended to stay up front and were often standing up to dry off more quickly. The best attire for me was a t-shirt and nylon Umbros. That dried quickly and was comfortable.
  16. I enjoyed my sleep patterns on the trip - they were different than what I was used to but not unpleasant. I woke up a few times I the night at first, but slept well by the end. I most enjoyed going to bed early and waking fully rested just as light began to show. I doubt I've ever been voluntarily awake (fully rested, that is) for seven straight sunrises.
  17. I believe I did become too used to the unbelievable scenery. It's just a challenge to fully appreciate everything around you. But I never got bored by any means. When features of unique nature or geological significance came up, I was always able to understand and value what I saw. Canyons that would be tourist attractions anywhere else weren't even named, and that is just overwhelming sometimes. I tried to keep well-read about the surrounding geology and upcoming sights, and Bear was always there to help. Dad, Mike, and Gary were all helpful sets of eyes to find interesting features all along the way.
  18. I kept my journal well, at the expense of conversations with Dad or others or further exploration. I believe it was worth it - time will tell. I am a little embarrassed at the repetitiveness of my adjectives, particularly of the rapids and canyons. Looking back, it seems quite a dry read. Powell's account was so much fuller. But then I saw Powell's journal (his account was written after the trip) taken day-by-day and don't feel so bad after all.
  19. I learned a great deal about geology, and the Canyon's geology in particular. I can tell the difference between limestone and sandstone and see their strata in the walls. I know how the rise and fall of the oceans create these different formations. I have a better idea of the earth's age - and the almost infinitesimal time that humans have been around.
    The canyon rapids are typically formed just downstream of spots where side canyons dump there minerals into the Colorado. The water flow greatly affects the difficulty of the rapids for the guides, and this flow is set by the use of power in Vegas thanks to the Glen Canyon Dam. I especially liked the appearance of the Vishnu Schist.
    The others in the group reaffirmed that there are good people everywhere, but the best lesson learned was that people, and Americans in particular, could take care of something in a responsible way. Our boat was full of people who cared about the Canyon, and apparently almost all other boats are, too. There just was very little trash anywhere, no bad smells from people's actions - in general, other than worn trails, I had no obvious way to tell that 20,000 people per year pass through. That was such a relief.
    Dad is a good guy. And from the response of everyone else to him, he is doing great for his age. I guess Walter, John, and I won't let him get old. He has to keep up with us. He does a great job of that.
    I don't know if I have any personal revelations, but I did enjoy myself immensely. I like the perspective on life that the other people on the trip had about work, play, retirement, and life. Hopefully I can maintain a lifestyle like that.
  20. All that said, it is obvious that I would do it again. I don't know if I'd do the same motorized trip of not. Maybe being a more active participant would be fun, and maybe being at greater mercy of the river by being in a smaller raft would be more exciting. However, there was a lot of flat water that would mean lots of rowing, and the chance to just look around and absorb would be less. Those trips are longer and cost more, too. My best preference would be to take another motorized raft trip with even more of the family - John, Walt, Dad, John and Bryan, and maybe other friends. It would be a super group experience. I would use Grand Canyon Expeditions again, with a guide recommended by Bear. I think that although Bear was exceptional, a good idea would be to get another person's perspective and stories and experience to add to that we got through Bear. I recommend Bear to everyone else. No better guide to your introduction to the Grand Canyon

I don't know if I answered these questions fully, but the answer can probably also be found between the lines throughout the other pages of this journal.