Rafting the Grand Canyon

The Grand Canyon

The Grand Canyon is a place that is both heaven and hell. Heaven is in the small things, the red sandstone that seeps life-giving water, the ferns that cling to each tiny patch of moist rock, the bright red Monkey-flower that peeks out among the ferns. It is the humming bird that buzzes you because of the bright orange life jacket you wear. It is the cool mist below a 100' waterfall. Heaven is also in the larger things, the pinnacles, the spires, the cathedrals, which makes up the architecture of the canyon itself, the Great Unconformity with its wonder of a missing billion years.

I have over looked the canyon from the rim only once in my life. From the rim you see its architecture in full glory, but something of the canyon itself is missing with just this view. There is no intimacy with the canyon itself. Everything is at arms distance. Seeing it from the rim is like viewing the painting of a great master. Rafting it is like painting it yourself. It is not the grand views that define the canyon to me. It is the little things that make it live, a lizard doing pushups on a rock, swimming down the chalky blue water of the Little Colorado, climbing up a slick wash to a small grotto, seeing the tadpoles start to get their legs.

If you only view it from the rim, you get to miss hell. The temperatures inside the canyon can get well over 100 degrees in the summer. Hikes up dry washes can become torture as the heat radiates from every rock. At night the sweat drips off your body as you wait for it to cool down enough to get to sleep. Then there is the sand, sand in the food, sand in your clothing, fine sand that just never comes off your body. The sand is made worse when the strong winds kick up, sandblasting the grains into your skin and eyes. The creatures that live in this hell invariably have a nasty sting. The red harvester ants crawl over every beach. The scorpions love to inhabit your moist shoe or t-shirt. The rattlesnakes are less apparent, but no less nasty.

This website is about my third raft trip down the Grand Canyon. Both my husband, Joel, and I kept a journal for the duration of the trip. The pages that follow are a melding of both our journals. They will take you through our trip day by day as we experienced it.

Technical notes

Joel and I brought our Kodak DC260 digital camera with us on the trip and we took a total of 799 photographs. The pages of this journal only highlight a few pictures from each day; however, all 799 pictures are accessible from the Photo Index page.

The journal shows pictures in a convient size to view and to help tell the story written in the journal. If you click on any picture in the journal, you will be able to view a larger version of that picture.

In December 2004, we moved the photographs to a different server. This new photo service allows you to view the thumbnails in various formats and to view each photograph in various sizes, including the original full-sized image. You can also order prints of any of the photographs directly from the photo gallery.

If you like this travel journal, you may also like our other travel journals. See the whole list at http://www.gouldhome.com/Travel/.

This web site has been been translated into Belorussian by Galina Miklosic. Here is the link to Belorussian translation.

Joel on creating these web pages

During the trip, we took 799 photos on our Kodak DC260 camera. We used nine flash RAM cards (45MB and 48MB sizes). When we got back to Winchester, we started by transfering the images to Daphne's computer. It takes approximately 2 hours per flash RAM card to transfer the images and you can not use the computer for anything else during that time. So, it took us a few days just to make the transfer.

The camera knows when a picture is taken but the jpg file on the computer does not contain any hints. Therefore, after the pictures were transfered, Daphne reviewed all the pictures on the camera and named the jpg files on the computer appropiately (including date, time and description).

Then came the journals. Daphne's journal was hand written. Mine was recorded on the Dragon NaturallyMobile recorder. (I used two 8MB flash RAM cards plus a portion of a third.) Daphne typed her journal into the computer by hand. I used Dragon NaturallySpeaking to transcribe mine, but then I had to correct all the misrecognitions.

Daphne did all the hard work for the journal pages. She combined sections from both her journal and my journal together. Then she selected a subset of photographs for each day. (Some days, the selection was hard. We wanted to limit the size of each page so lots of good photos did not make it into the journal.)

For the journal pages, each photo was cropped and reduced using Adobe ImageReady. Daphne wrote all the html for the journal pages by hand (using Notepad).

Meanwhile, I worked on the Photo Index. Using the Python programming language, I wrote a script which automatically generated thumbnails and large size versions of each original photograph. Then I wrote a second Python program which automatically created the thumbnail pages and Photo Index.

The contents of the Photo Index pages are described in a simple text file which lists the page names, section names and photographs for each section. The Python script then creates the html from that description. This allowed Daphne and I to play with both the layout of the Photo Index pages and the breakdown of the photographs. (In December 2004, I moved the photographs to a new service and retired the old photo index pages.)

Anyway, here are the results of our efforts. I hope you enjoy this site.

Photo Index

Grand Canyon | The People | Getting Ready | Leaving

May 26 May 27 May 28 May 29 May 30 May 31 June 1 June 2 June 3
June 4 June 5 June 6 June 7 June 8 June 9 June 10 June 11 June 12

Links to other Grand Canyon sites
Gould Home Page | Travel Index

Contents copyright © 1999 by Daphne and Joel Gould. All rights reserved.
Please contact Daphne Gould for comments or problems.