Grand Canyon Solo 2013 from Danny Siger on Vimeo.
This short movie gives an excellent perspective on kayaking through the Grand Canyon. One thing to keep in mind is that the GoPro camera that is mounted on the boat uses a very wide angle lens, which makes the waves on the river seem smaller than they are as well as give the impression that the action is moving a bit slower than normal. The waves are bigger than they appear, and his kayak is moving faster that it seems.
During the warmer months of the year, thousands of tourists pay big money to take trips like this. They are guided on large rafts, with a couple hundred pounds of gear and supplies for each person. Guides set up tents for them. Guides cook for them. Guides steer the raft for them and lead them on side hikes. The experience is the antithesis of the beautiful solo trip shown in this video.
During the colder months, the large tourist crowds disappear, and permits become easier to acquire. This draws out the passionate core of people who enjoy living outside; those who are working jobs to earn enough money to pay for extended time in the wilderness. I find that these people live a lifestyle that is very similar to artists, who work to earn enough money to pay for a month-long residency in which they are in an artist-friendly environment, where they can fully concentrate on the questions they ask with their art.
Several times this past summer, on the side of a much smaller river, I spoke with Danny about the Grand Canyon. We chatted on message boards as he planned this solo trip in the Fall. (I was jealous of the mission then, and still wish I could have made a similar trip in November). While a video (photos or drawings) can never fully express the range of emotions and the depth of experience, this one does a good job at giving the viewer a glimpse into the demeanor of the environment and the tempo of such a trip through this magical place. In the video Danny has maintained the same balance of wonder and want for adventure as he had while planning the trip. It is a good reflection of the common love for wilderness shared by many people in the small whitewater community that goes beyond the simple pleasure experienced by seeing something pretty. It is a truth found in the love for the dirty, gritty, full experience of the work and time required throughout the entire phenomenon of being fully human.