Rafting on the Grand Canyon – Part 3

As this is a holiday, some of you may wish to enjoy alcoholic drinks while camping. Alcohol, however, as is the case with caffeine, is a diuretic, and can help with dehydration. So note that if you drink alcohol or caffeine, don’t drink too much, and ensure that you’re getting sufficient hydrating fluids.

Taking water with you on your trip is a good idea but if you run out, it will have served you well to know what’s available to you while there. You’ll want to avoid Colorado River water as it’s unsafe and that also goes for water from the springs and side streams. There are some options from the NPS if you wanted to disinfect the water from the river, however.

Firstly, if you’ve gathered some cloudy water, it should be left for a few hours for sediment at the bottom to settle. Clear water should then be poured into a different container and ran through a micron filter. Lastly, add two drops of bleach to each gallon of water. Allow it to rest for at least half an hour. If the water is extremely cold, it should be longer. A different option is to spend one minute boiling the cleared water, as long as you have the required material for a fire.

Know how to respond to an accident

While the rapids can be rough, the majority of accidents are caused by other reasons. Many accidents are experienced at the campsites when getting on or off boats. They also occur on hikes, which is why it’s always better to hike in groups.

When you aren’t on the river, keep your eyes open at all times, as scorpions and rattlesnakes present a constant danger. As long as you don’t attack them, they’re unlikely to provoke you. Try not to do so accidentally. Before you put on clothes or life jackets or get into your sleeping bag, give them a good shake, and before reaching for anything, ensure to take a good look there’s nothing inside.

Calling for help

If any individual in your group suffers an accident that needs immediate attention, you should call the NPS. Unfortunately, cellphones don’t work in the canyon so you’ll need to pack either a ground-to-air transceiver or satellite phone and take additional batteries with you. You’ll need to provide the NPS with particular information i.e. location what condition the person is in (critical or stable), if it’s medical or trauma-related, and whether your trip is commercial or private.

Each trip is required to have an emergency signalling mirror, along with two large, orange panels. The panels can be used to form an “X” shape, which tells a helicopter where to land. Choose an area that’s around 22.9m across and ensure that it’s clear of objects.

To insert the panels into the ground, wet the sand in advance by throwing buckets of water on to the area. As the helicopter is descending, remove the “X”. If there’s anything important that could blow away while the helicopter is landing, be sure to secure it.

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