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Old 06-03-2016, 05:29 PM   #21
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I so glad I posted this!
I have moved from hesitant to actually giving our son the go ahead & start planning! DH was already on board, but didn't want to do it without me.
I really appreciate reading your experiences & now feel really enthusiastic about it!
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Old 06-03-2016, 05:48 PM   #22
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Good to hear you are going. It really is a wonderful adventure.
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Old 06-04-2016, 04:38 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by Philliefan33 View Post
Well, I wasn't going to mention this story, but since you brought it up...

We set up camp relatively early one afternoon, and I needed to use that unit. It was set up with a view of the river, but shielded from our campsite. As I was sitting and taking care of business, along come two rafts down the river. No chance of me going undetected-- everyone in the rafts was waving at me. Nothing to do but wave back ��.

At least I got a good story out of the experience. And somewhere in the world are 30 people who can tell the story of how they happened upon the pooping lady in the Grand Canyon.
Forgot about one of my experiences at the unit until you mentioned it...

There was another group that was more or less on the same schedule as us, and all of the guides know each other, and like to play pranks. For those who are not aware, the unit involves used ammo cans known as groovers but have a toilet seat fitted. Stealing the toilet seat from other tours is a common prank. As luck would have it, our guides were experienced and kept a spare (Thanks Big Dan!). Early one morning I'm utilizing the unit out from camp with a wonderful view, when a female guide (I'm a male) from an adjacent group pops out of the brush right next to me to return the toilet seat they had taken the night before. Since we had the spare, I had a seat, and she was both surprised and bummed that we hadn't gotten to better understand the term "groover". Good memories..
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Old 06-04-2016, 08:17 PM   #24
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Haven't done it recently, but went on a couple of trips in the 90s with an outfit called the Nantahala Outdoor Center (located in the mtns of NC.).

All we had to do was show up the put-in (NOC provided all gear for rafters, but we kayakers had our own), play on the river all day for over a week while they took care of everything (even picked out the lines for the rafters (a guide in each boat)) and then drove us back to our vehicles at the end of the trip.

Like I said.....
Trip of a lifetime!
Sounds as if he's talking about an overnight trip on the Chattooga River which is on the NE GA/NW SC border. It's a river made famous in the cult classic movie Deliverance. The Chattooga is a wild river, and it's fantastic white water. It's not for the faint of heart, however.

Most rafters will go with Nantahala Outdoor Center on either the Nantahala River east of Murphy, NC or on the Ocoee River which is more difficult. The Atlanta Olympic white water facility is on the Ocoee, and it was engineered to be about the best white water anywhere for kayaking.

If anyone goes on the Chattooga River, just be on the outlook for anyone playing that haunting song, Dualing Banjos. Sooooee!
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Old 06-04-2016, 09:43 PM   #25
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...

Most rafters will go with Nantahala Outdoor Center on either the Nantahala River east of Murphy, NC or on the Ocoee River which is more difficult. The Atlanta Olympic white water facility is on the Ocoee, and it was engineered to be about the best white water anywhere for kayaking.

...
+1 for the Ocoee. Have done it twice in rafts, and it has made us consider kayaks.... (Much closer and easier for us than Grand Canyon when still working.) The Nantahala paled in comparison, but it is still a nice river with some white water.
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Old 06-05-2016, 12:31 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by Bram View Post
I so glad I posted this!
I have moved from hesitant to actually giving our son the go ahead & start planning! DH was already on board, but didn't want to do it without me.
I really appreciate reading your experiences & now feel really enthusiastic about it!
+1
We have added this to our list of possible things to do. Otherwise we never have thought of it.
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Old 06-05-2016, 12:37 PM   #27
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Originally Posted by oldphd View Post
Forgot about one of my experiences at the unit until you mentioned it...

There was another group that was more or less on the same schedule as us, and all of the guides know each other, and like to play pranks. For those who are not aware, the unit involves used ammo cans known as groovers but have a toilet seat fitted. Stealing the toilet seat from other tours is a common prank. As luck would have it, our guides were experienced and kept a spare (Thanks Big Dan!). Early one morning I'm utilizing the unit out from camp with a wonderful view, when a female guide (I'm a male) from an adjacent group pops out of the brush right next to me to return the toilet seat they had taken the night before. Since we had the spare, I had a seat, and she was both surprised and bummed that we hadn't gotten to better understand the term "groover". Good memories..
I personally find this childish prank thing a discouragement, considering I would be paying thousands of dollars for the trip I expect to have a decent toilet, food, bedding available.
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Rafting the Colorado in Grand Canyon
Old 06-05-2016, 02:31 PM   #28
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Rafting the Colorado in Grand Canyon

My gosh, Sunset, it doesn't sound like group camping is a very good fit for you at all!

I'd totally be in on the toilet seat theft ring!
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Old 06-05-2016, 02:37 PM   #29
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I personally find this childish prank thing a discouragement, considering I would be paying thousands of dollars for the trip I expect to have a decent toilet, food, bedding available.
Toilet will have some of the best views you can imagine, changing daily. No. 1 goes in the river, #2 in the unit. On our trip, we had 2 female guides (including the trip leader) and several female clients, though less than half. First day, we were at our first stop, not camp, but just a kinda sorta beach with no trees. The question of doing #1 without any screening was bothering one of the women. The guide just walked to the edge of the river and did her business 20-30 yards downriver and told her that if she closed her eyes no one could see her. Everyone's in the same boat, so to speak, took a day to get used to, but leave your modesty at home.

Food? I was amazed at how good it was. Not just that everything tastes better outdoors, but the cold packing on the specially designed rafts allows them to have fresh meats, fruits, vegetables, etc. Not just opening #10 cans of beans every day. A week in we had steaks over charcoal. We had eggs benedict. Fresh fish, chicken, taco salads, etc. etc. We also had dinner music... We took the String quarter trip with Canyon Explorations and Expeditions. Symphony musicians, including original compositions. Classical, rock, ragtime, wide variety. One of the early lunch days was at Whale's Armpit, and they put out the word to other groups that there would be a concert for all who could fit. It was jammed full, there was even a couple who were into ballroom dancing. Funny to see that on a beach in the canyon, with everyone wearing their shorts and t shirt, but a good time was had by all. The string quartet and the dancers got a standing ovation!

Bedding. Well, it's camping. Sleeping on the ground. Mostly on sand, but we had at least one night that I recall that was in the middle of the canyon that was on rock, no beach in that area. Rolled out an insulating pad first. Night temp got to around 80, but the rock stayed hotter. Never opened a tent. We were there in June/early July. Hot, but not yet monsoon season. Getting in a tent would've been even hotter, but they were available in the event of rain.

Bathing in 45 degree water takes a little getting used to. On the plus side, when you go to chill down a beer at the end of the day it happens quick!

When you book the trip, you have to sign a disclaimer saying that there will be rattlesnakes, scorpions, that you'll be hot when it's up to 120 out, but could die of hypothermia in the water. When I took the kayak out a wetsuit is required. Feels pretty silly putting on a wetsuit at 100+, let me tell you. I also got stung by a scorpion one night. Crawled up on me while I was asleep. Thankfully a mild response. Also saw 2 rattlesnakes.

Long post, but I have two more thoughts. First, the guide jobs are tough to get, and you will find some of the nicest folks, not making a ton of money. I enjoyed getting to know each and every one. Some have their own little things. For example, one day late in the trip, one of the oar boat guides specifically picked 3 of the women to go with him. Most days you just switched off. Turns out Charley knew of a spot that ran warm fresh water. He carries nice shampoo and conditioner, and calls it Charley's spa day. Each of the women had long hair and Charley did a wash and rinse for them. After 10 or so days of quick dips in cold water to clean, they were in heaven! He also did their nails. Another guide had a couple of parasols that he pulled out on a non windy day. Unique personalities, good people.

Second thought, more of an anecdote. I asked one of the guides one day to share an experience about the customer from hell. He had been spending 180 days below the rim on commercial and research trips for over 10 years, so a lot of experience. He said he didn't have one. High maintenance people don't do these trips. If you really need to be pampered and can't roll with a prank, this might not be the trip for you.

But if you can deal with being hot, cold, and dirty for days on end, you will get some of the greatest outdoor views and experiences you can imagine. I have been to all 50 states, 4 continents, 25+/- countries, 20ish Caribbean islands, 40ish National Parks, and this trip still stands out as one of my favorites!
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Old 06-05-2016, 04:18 PM   #30
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I know many of the outfitters use those groover ammo can toilets, but Hatch must be a step above. Not only are their rafts custom made for them, but they have some pretty high class toilets, as seen here.
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Old 06-05-2016, 07:51 PM   #31
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I know many of the outfitters use those groover ammo can toilets, but Hatch must be a step above. Not only are their rafts custom made for them, but they have some pretty high class toilets, as seen here.
Hoo doggie! That's one high class portable outhouse!

Not sure if things have changed, but we went about 15 years ago...
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Old 06-05-2016, 08:16 PM   #32
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We carried a Luggable Loo, the toilet seat that snaps on to a five gallon bucket that uses double walled bags. However we learned that five gallon buckets exist nowhere else in the world, at least in the stores we could find. if only we'd know to carry a bucket with us, too!!
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Old 06-06-2016, 06:32 AM   #33
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Hoo doggie! That's one high class portable outhouse!

Not sure if things have changed, but we went about 15 years ago...
That photo was from 2005, so it's just the difference between outfitters.
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Old 06-06-2016, 07:11 AM   #34
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That photo was from 2005, so it's just the difference between outfitters.
Exactly what we used in 2014.
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Old 06-06-2016, 09:04 AM   #35
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Someone once said, "this thread is useless without pictures."

And yes, I'm ready to go back...

From my 2012 trip:
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Old 06-06-2016, 09:24 AM   #36
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Is that the Havasu I see?

I want to go back also.
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Old 06-06-2016, 09:47 AM   #37
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Just remember to shake your shoes out before putting them on in the morning!
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Old 06-06-2016, 10:15 AM   #38
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Is that the Havasu I see?

I want to go back also.
Yes, indeed. The Havasu was one of the visually stunning things I saw--among many. Here you can see the river feeding into the Colorado.

I don't know if there are other places the Havasu drains into the Colorado--this photo is just the place we stopped along the Colorado and hiked up a bit for a visit:
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