In August, we launched our first tour since March 2020. Our clients traveling during the pandemic had a wonderful time away from the world down in the bottom of the Grand Canyon. After almost 5 months of all tours being rescheduled for 2021, it was a very bittersweet moment to be able to actually run a 2020 tour! I’ve missed our tours and I’ve missed seeing the amazing memories that our groups share. It was a joy that I was able to be present to make sure expectations of dealing with COVID-19 were met.
Our outfitter in the Grand Canyon has always been on top of cleanliness, so with a few added measures, I knew our clients would be in good hands. It also gave me insight into a variety of things I could do on our future tours.
Like, watch for bats out during the day. Looks like someone had a rough night and didn’t get home before curfew!
And don’t get bit by a red ant, or you could be the next bucket boy. But in all seriousness, new safety procedures will be in place for future client travels.
Client COVID Concerns
Due to several HE employees being furloughed, I am now handling our client services. I have always had the joy of chatting with many of you via email or on the phone over the years. Now that I am interacting with all of you, instead of just a few, I have a great sense of how the majority of you are feeling regarding travel. Believe it or not, 99% of you have the SAME concerns. You are all being equally cautious and concerned before your tour dates arrive. In doing so, it helps to make sure all of you are at the lowest possible risk. So if you are worried about someone showing up for a tour that has been careless in their social interactions beforehand, this is not a concern you should be highly worried about. Everyone is hopeful that everyone else is being safe as well and they are. For this, I am thankful. I appreciate that you are all looking out for each other without realizing it.
Masks were worn while we rode the bus to Lee’s Ferry to meet our boat crew for the week. Once onboard, we were free to take our masks off. At this point, we were on our journey as a small cohesive group. We trusted everyone to comply with our new set of procedures to keep us safe throughout the week. With a lot of hand washing, daily temperature checks and disinfecting of nozzles, etc. we were on our way to a sanitary week with new friends.
Clients Traveling – Before, During, and After
You may be wondering how the group was feeling before, during, and after the tour. We met up for our orientation and enjoyed dinner together, with individually wrapped meals for everyone, to ensure the safest meal possible. Tables were spread out, spirits were good and if there were any concerns, they were minimal. With each passing day on the river, it was amazing to feel the energy shift to fully relaxed. The canyon will do that to you, but during a global pandemic, I think it’s one of the best places to be.
We enjoyed 8 glorious days on the river without a care in the world. Everyone kept their distance when they could. I don’t know if that was just our new programming from the last 5 months of social distancing, but it was nice. When we happened to run into another group while out hiking, we politely put on our masks/handkerchiefs as we passed.
As we neared the end of the trip, we knew we would soon emerge back into the real world. I was personally dreading this fact. We met up for the farewell dinner, back in our masks, and eased our way back into reality.
HE Travel has been and always will be concerned with everyone’s safety, no matter what that entails. We will continue to add the necessary safety measures to make all of our clients and staff feel as safe as possible. The world is always changing around us and we will continue to change along with it, into the future. Our ground operators are just as concerned with your safety and with each new tour departure will come newly added safety measures.
On our two August Splash launches, our hosts were tested before the tours began. We always want you to feel safe and comfortable so you can relax on your trip. Otherwise, what’s the point? When our clients travel, we always have their best interests in mind.
I hope to see you on tour! 2021 is going to be a great year! We will be here when you are ready to travel again.
Click here to read about our Splash – Grand Canyon Tour