Huge walls. Huge hits. Huge stories, personalities and community. In other words, our Survive & Thrive Grand Canyon experience was absolutely an epic trip. It’s fun for me to recap our trips not only to show others what a true community looks like, how it’s formed and the beauty and power of God’s creation, but also to remind myself about the things I learned and to keep putting them into action once I’m home. The transition from river life to home life is always a tough one, but keeping those memories and learned moments alive with practice is a real life-changer.
On that note, here’s a bit about the Grand Canyon 2013 adventure with an amazing group of cancer survivors and supporters!
We collected all but one participant (who drove and met us at our first night’s location) at the Las Vegas Airport and were ready to hit the road in our giant bus (with wooden floors and a great bus driver!). It’s always interesting getting a group who doesn’t know each other, especially one that’s 28 people large, together for that first time. Slightly awkward, a bit uncomfortable, but you know it will be a tight, bonded group in no time at all. And that’s exactly what happened!
After a late and delicious dinner and the kick-off to our trip as a group, we got a good night’s sleep and took the short drive to the Grand Canyon the next morning.
The process goes like this: everyone loads on the boats, gets familiar with the way that lunch works while out on the river, begins to know the guides better and drops into a flow of getting the gear on and off the boats each night and morning.
Everyone posts up in different places around the beaches we sleep, we eat delicious dinners prepped by the guides, have our circle talk at night and then sleep under the stars.
In the morning breakfast is made (eggs made to order plus something like banana walnut pancakes and fresh fruit!) and we do a morning quiet time individually – a thought for the day in the calm of the morning.
Then camp’s packed up, we load the boats and go hit some huge waves! It’s a pretty great way to spend a week.
As a group, we were able to go on some incredible hikes, raft some fun waves, enjoy good food and fellowship together and overcome personal struggles both physically and emotionally.
We had a wonderful time getting to know one another, experiencing what we call “Type I” and “Type II” fun, letting go of things we needed to release and taking back some memories and action steps with us. A huge thanks to Hatch Expeditions and Dave, Bubba and Spencer for guiding us safely and with awesome dry humor down the river, to Matt and The Testicular Cancer Foundation and to Mikey and Survive & Thrive Expeditions!
We are so blessed to be able to run these trips with the encouragement, prayers, financial support and commitment of many others. Every summer it’s a struggle to make a trip happen and we come *this close* to cancelling a trip. We’re always glad we don’t, and there may come a time when we can’t run a trip, but the life change that happens, the deep friendships that are made, the experiences lived are SO WORTH the effort to make the trips happen.
Getting helicoptered out of the canyon to a small plane and then back to Vegas is a pretty great way to end the trip too…
A huge thanks to all the survivors and supporters who stepped out of their comfort zones, rode some great waves, laughed and cried in vulnerability with one another and made this trip possible. As we always say, a trip is only as good as the people who come on it.
We had a great week after the Grand Canyon at Loon Lake in Northern California with my parents and extended family, but I’ll save that for another post! I’m off to enjoy this beautiful sunny Sunday in Calgary, to prep for the week ahead and to ease back into work again.
Thanks for following along with the adventure! Live well & be well, and remember that fitness helps you get out there, do this kind of stuff and live a fuller life!