Trip Philosophy

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Trip Philosophy

One of the most important things you as a permit holder/trip leader will do is to decide early on what is your trip team (or tribe) philosophy. The people on your trip will become a team (or tribe), like it or not. What sort of trip team or tribe do you want to have? You have a lot of choices about how your trip will be put together, and what your trip will focus on. These choices include things like trip length. Do you want to do a short or long trip? What time of year do you want to travel? Do you want lots of people (16 maximum) or a small group? Do you want to go all the way to Lake Mead or not?

There is no right or wrong answer here. It's up to you. The concept is, once you have decided on the trip philosophy, invite others on the trip that share your chosen philosophy, so that your team or tribe has a cohesion right at the start of the trip.

Again, there are many different trip philosophies. None of them are the "correct" way to travel through Grand Canyon. The concept here is to have early and consistent buy in by the people on your trip, your trip team or tribe. This front-load by-in will greatly help minimize on-trip conflict as the trip proceeds downriver.

The trip leader has the power to set the stage for what happens on the trip, and then select people to join the trip that agree with the trip philosophy. Here are other things to consider when contemplating the trip philosophy.

20061124 1866 last night's campfire at 224 Mile camp.JPG

Is this a trip where you can keep costs low and have lots of time to organize gear with friends you have rafted with before?

Is this a trip where you are going to spend more money and rent a lot of the gear?

Is this a trip where you are going to do a little of both, organize your own gear and rent some equipment?

Is this a trip where you are going to hike a lot, not be worried if you get into camp late and expect to be on the water early?

Is this a trip where you are going to focus on the water, leave camp late and arrive at camp early, to maximize camp time?

Is this a trip where you are going to cook elaborate meals, spending a lot of time in the Grand Canyon Kitchen?

Is this a drinking trip?

Is this a minimal-drinking trip?

Is this a trip combining some of all of the above?

Here's another way of looking at it: Are your meals so elaborate or have you been hiking so much that you’re washing dishes in the dark? Are you the last one to breakfast every day, or is your trip done with breakfast at first light? Is someone waiting to rig a boat because your dunnage bag isn’t packed at 9:00am, or is your team or tribe on the water by 7:00am? Are you just fine with that, whichever that is, and is that the type of trip everyone on your trip team or tribe wants and has bought into? If it is, your chances of having on-trip conflicts are greatly reduced.

Said differently, do you want to travel through the Canyon with people who are eager to get on the water early in the morning, hike all day, arrive late to camp, help unload the rafts (all of them), then help set up the kitchen first so the cooks can start cooking, and then look for a camping spot last? Or, do you want to spend your river time drifting with the current on a trip that is poorly organized, get drunk every night, sleep in every day, and row downstream to make up time? Do you want to do something completely different? Remember, it's all good, so long as you have buy-in from your team/tribe.

Remember, the trip is from 16 to 25 days long to Diamond Creek, longer if you go all the way to Lake Mead. The choice is up to the philosophy of the permit holder/trip leader. If all the people on the trip agree with the overall trip philosophy, the chances of conflict during the trip are greatly reduced.


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