You should take a rafting trip through the Grand Canyon with an outfitting company that sends along a string quartet, a fellow U.S. Census worker told me in 2010. That went on the to-do list immediately, but it took several years for the trip to actually happen.
First, we had to find time for it. Kathy retired in 2014. I retired, went back to work, retired again, work again, retire again and so on until 2022. But during my 2018 retirement, we thought we had time for the Grand Canyon trip. We called Canyon Explorations/Expeditions in Flagstaff, AZ, and they said they’d put us on the waiting list.
So we got on the list. No go in 2018. Not in 2019. And then COVID came around in 2020 and 2021. No go those years.
But it was on for August 16, 2022, with four friends from Montana, until I came down with COVID the week before. I spread the disease to six other family members, including Kathy, within a week. No one wanted us on a 15-day rafting trip, and I was too addled to paddle. The Montana friends went, and Canyon Explorations/Expeditions found us a spot in 2023.
And we went. I loved every minute of it, even getting dumped out of the paddle boat in the Horn Creek Rapids. Kathy does not like sleeping on the ground but braved the rapids, a rattlesnake she discovered on the way to the “Groover” (the ammunition box with a toilet seat that served as the carry-away poop spot) and bugs, scorpions and my snoring.
The guides were informative, helpful and cheerful. The food they cooked was hearty and tasty. And the string quartet . . . outstanding. Led by Steve Bryant, who plays violin in the Seattle Symphony, the quartet played for us in side canyons, and once, even as we floated down the river, our rafts tied together.
Now, we are back in Seattle, thinking about what the next trip will be.
And attending Seattle Symphony concerts.