by Kaleb Smith, HE Travel Storyteller
Canyon Day 5:
We hiked up a side river and finished by splashing around under a waterfall. After a treat of Tootsie Pops, we headed back to camp. This is when the wind started kicking in. Adam wanted to start dinner, but with the wind and sand he couldn’t.
While we were waiting for the wind to die down one member of our group said, “why don’t we do shots of tequila? I can show you my special way and you’ll never want to do it another way again.” Moments later, he emerged with a handle of Jose Quervo, and we were able to get some oranges and a shaker of cinnamon from our dinner supplies. Each of the guys who chose to take part was instructed to take a shot of tequila, then eat a cinnamon covered piece of orange. In between the tequila shots, the guys swapped stories and told jokes.
Soon the sun began to set and the wind died down. By this time those who joined the ritual were very mellow, but Adam was still ready to cook. He and Vaden were able to conjure up some of the most delicious burritos ever. With the after-effects of the wind, the tequila and a nice dinner, some of our couples disappeared a bit earlier than usual to take advantage of the mood ;).
Canyon Day 6:
Today we hiked high atop a waterfall to a place from which the Anasazis believed their souls would travel to the afterlife. At one point it became so narrow that the only way through was to scuffle along the edge of the rocky wall. My inner Katniss (Heroine of the Hunger Games) was smiling for being able to get past this section unscathed. The walls of the canyon were marked with tiny hand prints, which were there to help guide the spirits to their final destination. At the end of the hike, the sun streamed through the trees and water flowed over the rocks and fell down to the canyon below. It was incredibly peaceful here. I can see why the Native people would think that this was the passage toward their afterlife.
After the waterfall, we journeyed to Havasu Creek. The days seemed to be getting shorter. Maybe it was because we only had a few days left or that we were encountering more people along the way, but civilization was slowly creeping back in. I was determined to sleep under the stars the few remaining nights. While lying on my cot, I realized how many constellations I’d forgotten about. Happily I still knew a lot of their names.
Canyon Day 7:
Today’s adventure was Pumpkin Spring, which looked like a giant orange gourd.
We made it to our camp early. Adam was the best boatman I could have had on my first trip. He knew so much about the canyon and the river. This was our last night with him and all the guys made it a point to thank him personally for their amazing journey. Tonight we all shed tears and shared hugs as we knew this would be our last full family meal with our boatman and swamper. I will miss this place and these friendships that I forged. The guys and I also made a special sendoff video with our sarongs. Enjoy it!
Final Day in the Canyon:
We ran through the rest of the rapids and met with our speed boat. Final hugs were given. As a gift Adam handed me the bag of Tootsie Pops. As we took off back toward civilization I passed the candy around the boat. Then we hopped on an air-conditioned bus and left the canyon behind. We arrived at our hotel in the late afternoon.
At the farewell gathering we exchanged gifts. As we said our goodbyes to one another, I knew this Splash Adventure had all of these men my friends.
Being back in Vegas was like being woken up from a dream only to find myself thrown into another. On the first day of our trip a few of the guys had mentioned that Bette Midler was in town for a show, so I extended my trip by a day. I have loved Bette since I was ten, crying on my sofa as I watched her movie Beaches. Before the show, three of us enjoyed tapas at a local restaurant called Firefly. Then we made our way to the MGM Grand to see the Divine Miss M. She did all the songs I wanted to hear. I could die happy.
She gave us three encores and this one was amazing.
Here’s a little Hocus Pocus for you!
I’m looking forward to the many adventures that lay ahead with HE Travel, and I hope to see you on my next adventure!
Join HE Travel and have your own Splash! Grand Canyon Adventure!