Rafting the Grand Canyon’s Colorado River

8 Days - Marble Canyon, AZ
Aug 12 - Aug 19, 2023
Activity Level
Skill Level
All Levels

$5,295.00

REGISTER EARLY TO CLAIM YOUR SEAT

Registration deadline: April 3, 2023

Pay a deposit of $2,000.00 per item

Get ready for a photography adventure of a lifetime.  Arizona Highways PhotoScapes is ecstatic to get back on the Colorado River with seventeen-time rafting aficionado, Kerrick James.  This seven-day, six-night motorized rafting trip is the premiere wilderness adventure as we travel 188-miles downriver from Lees Ferry to Whitmore Wash.

 

Throughout the week we will be traveling aboard a customized 35′ aluminum-framed neoprene rubber pontoon-style watercraft, with two highly experienced boat crew from Hatch River Expeditions.  Hatch river guides are some of the best in the world. In addition to their formidable safety and navigation skills, they are also well versed in the geology and history of early inhabitants of the canyon.  Founded in 1929, Hatch River Expeditions, was the first commercially recognized rafting company in North America and has been continuously running the Grand Canyon since 1934.

 

Each day our guides will navigate the river while we enjoy leisurely floats, invigorating rapids, views of ancient ruins, side canyons hikes, waterfalls, and a few refreshing swimming holes.  Kerrick will continuously be communicating with the crew to coordinate pullouts for great photography and will work with each participant to create compelling compositions. Some of our favorite pullouts may include Phantom Ranch, Elves Chasm,  Deer Creek Falls,  Nankoweap Granaries, Havasupai Canyon to name a few.  Shoving off in August will give us great afternoon clouds and possible rainbows.  Depending upon the river flow, the Little Colorado may be running brown so we would avoid some areas that may otherwise be stops along the way.

 

Before, during, and after the workshop, Kerrick will continuously provide information, instructions, and expert guidance on everything you will need to know to create stunning images in the Grand Canyon.  Beginning with an online classroom session prior to the workshop, followed up with in-field image reviews and camp-site discussions on the river, and a final post-workshop critique, you will have ample opportunity to hone your skills and bring home great images.

 

Our rafting expedition will begin with a safety debriefing at Lee’s Ferry before loading the gear and ourselves onto the raft for this epic journey.  The first day or two will give you a chance to get acclimated to river life with a few smaller rapids.  As we head further downriver we’ll have a chance to experience some of the more thrilling rapids that offer impressive waves and epic splashes.  During the day, our crew will make pullouts on sandy beaches so that we can enjoy photography, meal breaks, and of course our end-of-day camp setup.

 

Speaking of meals on the river, our boat crew is not only experienced in whitewater maneuvering, but they are also pretty good cooks too.  Each morning you’ll roll out of your tent to the smell of fresh-brewed coffee and sizzling breakfast meat while they eagerly await preparing your ready-to-eat eggs along with a spread of sides, cereals, and fresh fruit.  Picnic lunches of sandwiches with quality meats, cheeses, and veggies will be enjoyed mid-day, while our evenings will begin with appetizers of cheeses, crackers, olives, and pickled veggies, followed by a delicious dinner-themed main course of New York steak, grilled salmon fillet, and a Mexican feast to name a few.  Of course, you will always have access to a supply of snacks and beverages.

 

As our week draws to an end, we will be transported via helicopter to Bar 10 Ranch where you will board a small fixed-wing aircraft back to Marble Canyon or Las Vegas, depending on your preferred departure location.  A few weeks following the workshop, our team will schedule an online post-workshop image critique and provide a dropbox link for uploading images. During this session, everyone will have an opportunity to share and reminisce about our adventure on the river.

 

What’s included in this workshop:

  • Pre-workshop online orientation and classroom session
  • In-field reviews, discussions, and mentoring
  • Post-workshop online image critique session
  • Pre-night lodging in Marble Canyon
  • 7-days river rafting with Hatch River Expeditions
  • All meals,  snacks, and beverages from launch to departure (lemonade, Gatorade, water, milk, juice, coffee, tea, and hot chocolate)
  • Beverages (excluding alcohol, soda, and other specialty drinks – guests may bring their own)
  • A souvenir insulated mug
  • Use of camping gear including:
    • Dishes and utensils
    • A lifejacket
    • A tent (one for every two guests)
    • A sleep kit (a sheet, pillow, ground cloth, and either a cot or a sleeping pad)
    • A camp chair
  • Day Dry Bag –  8” in diameter by 20” long for a total volume of 16L. This bag will hold your small, hiking backpack and any gear you need access to during the day.
  • Night Dry Bag – 18” in diameter by 31” long for a total volume of 127L. This bag will contain your sleep kit as well as your duffel bag of night gear.
  • Helicopter flight out of the Canyon to Bar 10 Ranch and fixed-wing flight back to Marble Canyon or Las Vegas.

What’s NOT included in this workshop:

  • Pre-workshop transportation to Marble Canyon.  If you are flying into Las Vegas, you will need to book a shuttle or flight to arrive in Marble Canyon for our departure.  This is not included in the fee and can be booked through Bar 10 Ranch.
  • A dry bag for your camera equipment.
  • Alcoholic beverages or soft drinks
  • Personal items (clothing, medications, water bottles, Medical Evacuation Insurance, and Travel Insurance)
  • Gratuities for your Boat Crew

 

 

WHAT YOU SHOULD EXPECT

 

Physical Requirements:  You must meet the following requirements to join this workshop:

  • Able to fit into a Type 5 Life Jacket (max chest size 58”).
  • Able to hold onto the raft while going through whitewater. Ropes are provided throughout the raft for handholds.
  • Capable of climbing onto and off of the raft. There will be about a 2 foot step-up/down from the raft to the beaches. Please note that some surfaces may be wet and slippery.
  • Comfortable walking on uneven, rocky terrain. Trails in Grand Canyon are not regularly maintained. Sand beaches are the norm for campsites, so make sure you are also comfortable walking across the sand inclines.
  • Able to carry your own personal gear to and from camp. The maximum weight for personal gear is 25lbs.
  • Able to tolerate prolonged/repeated exposure to water of 50 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Able to tolerate prolonged exposure to environmental temperatures up to 120 degrees Fahrenheit.

 

This is Camping not Glamping!

Each day our boat crew will typically pull into a sandy beach or rock ledge camp between 3 and 5 pm. Upon arrival, guides and guests work together to form a fire (or “duffel”) line and unload all the gear from the boats. Once everything is unloaded, you are free to go stake out your own bit of sand and set up camp while our guides begin preparing the evening meal.

 

If you, like most guests, plan on sleeping under the stars, you’ll stake out the perfect spot, spread your ground cloth out, and set up your cot or sleeping pad while the guides are cooking. If you’re planning to use a tent in case of inclement weather or even just for changing, setting that up while you still have some light is probably a good idea. Either way, we recommend that you keep your sleeping bag and pillow inside your closed dry bag until you’re ready to sleep so no curious critters decide to make themselves at home.

 

When you’re all set up, feel free to socialize or offer to lend a hand in the kitchen. After dinner, everyone will help wash the dishes so they’re ready to go for breakfast in the morning.

 

In addition to pitching in with camp set up and boat loading/unloading, you’re camping, so you’ll need to be prepared to go without some of the amenities you are used to at home.

 

Potty Breaks

During the day our guides will pull over every hour or so to stretch and take a bathroom break. Women go in one direction and the men go another to relieve themselves directly into the river.  Toilets for solid waste are not available during the day, but in case of an emergency, guides have waste disposal bags available for guests to use should they need to.

 

When we are in camp our guides will set up toilet facilities in a secluded area and take them down the last thing in the morning. It is recommended to scout out the facilities during daylight so you can find them more easily in the dark.

 

The toilets are “groover” style—essentially metal boxes with a bit of chemical in the bottom and toilet seats on top. Toilets are dry, meaning that everyone urinates in the river and all other “business” is taken care of at the toilet. We’ll teach you our handy “key” system so you don’t have to worry about privacy. There is plenty of toilet paper stored near the toilets, and handwashing stations will be set up nearby, so there’s no sacrificing hygiene while on the river.

 

If ladies are concerned about relieving themselves in the river, then you should consider bringing a female urinal or “pee pod” on the trip to help.

 

What Should You Bring:

Think necessary but minimalistic.  Closer to the workshop your Photo Guide will provide you with a list of recommended clothing and gear but in the interim, below is some information you should know in advance.

  • Battery charging: There are some charging capabilities on the raft for AC, DC, and USB devices.
  • Cell phone service:  Pretty much non-existent in the canyon.  We recommend you leave them at home but understand that you may want them handy upon return and are willing to take a chance with them on the river. If you do this, make sure your device is waterproof or in a good waterproof bag in the middle of your night duffel.
  • CPAP: Only CPAPs with cigarette lighter adapters that are specifically designed for travel and their components are permitted
  • Luggage:  Space is limited and personal items should be kept to necessary items.  You are limited to 25lbs. total.  Review Hatch’s short 4-minute video on suggested Packing Recommendations
  • No Drones or Satellite phones
  • Staying connected to loved ones or work is just not feasible on the river.

Departure Location & Lodging:

Cliff Dwellers Lodge
Mile Post 547 N, US-89A
Marble Canyon, AZ 86036
(928) 355-2261

 

Your workshop includes one night of single occupancy lodging on August 12, 2023.

Kerrick James
Photographer

WORKSHOP COST

The cost for this workshop and river trip is $5295.00. A deposit of $2000 is required to reserve your seat in this workshop, of which $1000 is non-refundable regardless of the reason or timeline of cancelation.

 

Your second payment of $1295.00 is due by December 1, 2022. Our office will send you a link to our credit card portal to make your second payment.  The final payment of $2000.00 is due by April 1, 2023 and can be completed through your online account.

 

In compliance with National Park Service requirements, photography workshops must list the outfitter cost and the workshop component separately.  The cost for the rafting portion with Hatch River Expedition is $3370 and the photography portion with Arizona Highways PhotoScapes is $1925.

 

TRIP INSURANCE:

We strongly recommend that you purchase a travel insurance plan with a “Cancel for Any Reason” option. Many guests have last-minute injuries, emergencies, or life changes that can disrupt their plans only to wish they had a way to recoup their lost expenses.  You should also consider “Medical Evacuation” as part of the coverage.  In the event of a life-threatening emergency and you need to be medically evacuated from the Canyon, coverage of this type would give you that added peace of mind.

 

Most insurance providers that offer a “Cancel for Any Reason” option require that guests purchase their policies within a few weeks of booking. Make sure to look into these options immediately after paying the deposit for your trip.

 

There are a number of reputable companies that provide Travel Insurance.  For a listing of providers, you can visit www.insuremytrip.com.  AHPS has worked with TravelEx Insurance Services over the years and have found them to be reputable and offer comprehensive plans at competitive prices.  For more information visit www.travelexinsurance.com or contact them at 800-228-9792 and reference location number 03-0147.  Travel Insurance is underwritten by, Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance Company, NAIC #22276. W20

 

CANCELATION & PAYMENT TERMS:

Due to the nature of this workshop, the commitment to our outfitters, and permit requirements with the National Park Service, $1000 of your initial deposit is non-refundable beginning at the time of registration.  Once you have reached our cancelation deadlines,  additional forfeiture of fees is designated below.  Please consider trip insurance to avoid any penalties.

 

Should you find it necessary to cancel your workshop, the following policy applies.
  • From the date of your initial $2000 deposit, $1000 is non-refundable.
  • The second payment of $1295 is due December 1, 2022
  • For any cancelation prior to March 30, 2023, a 5% cancelation fee will be charged (required by the outfitter) in addition to the $1000 non-refundable deposit.
  • Final Payment due April 1, 2023
  • Cancelation on or after April 1, 2023, no refund or credit will be issued. *

 

*If we are able to resell your seat after the cancelation deadline, we will refund your fees less the $1000 non-refundable portion.