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Trips Of A Lifetime, Part 1: Rafting Down The Grand Canyon

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Trips Of A Lifetime, Part 1: Rafting Down The Grand Canyon
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I've been most fortunate with regards to being "mobile; hence, the "Girl-on-the-Go" title for my blog.  I have been blessed with an Internet-based career where I've worked for great companies that find value in a balance between work and life.  I've admittedly taken full advantage of my vacation days and hit the road whenever I get the chance.  Over the past 10 years, I've had tremendous opportunities to travel with friends and family and have a few trips in particular that I'd like to share with you.

I'm going to start a series that I'll refer to as "Trips of a Lifetime" or if you prefer, the things you must do before you die. After reading about these excursions, I hope that you are inspired to add them to your life's bucket list and find the time to venture out in search of what this majestic world has to offer.

First up: whitewater rafting down the Grand Canyon River for six nights.

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What I loved:

1. Three meals per day, plus snacks. And when I say snacks, I mean full-sized Snickers, Butterfingers and Milky Way bars. I ate one every day, just because.

2. Transportation out of canyon by helicopter. This was honestly the scariest thing I had ever done in my life. There's nothing like the feeling of almost flying into the canyon walls. That was until...

3. The return flight from Bar 10 Ranch. This is the final destination of the trip (where you will take the most anticipated shower of your life) by charter plane back to Las Vegas where the trip began. This topped the cake. I was frightened out of my mind due to the turbulence, but when we touched down, it made it all worth it.

4.  Sleeping under the stars. And I don't mean just any stars. I mean the brightest, whitest, most beautiful stars I've ever seen. Simply breathtaking.

5. Being outside, near water for six consecutive nights without access to a cell phone or Internet. I'm a firm believer in taking a trip at least once a year in which you are completely removed from the routines of daily life.

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What to know:

1. Pack smart. Bring layers. Bring a hat. Leave the makeup at home. You can't bring enough lotion with SPF it's sunny and dry in the canyon. And don't forget wet wipes (I could dedicate an entire blog to creative uses of these little lifesavers)!

2. A solar shower is highly recommended. Even though the temperatures are warm, the water in the canyon is freezing. You'll be so glad you packed this, because the alternative is to find a private spot, strip down to your birthday suit, run as fast as you can into the ice-cold water, run back out to soap up and then run back in the water to rinse off. It's brutal but invigorating!

3. Bring a head lamp! When the sun goes down at night, you can't see two inches in front of your face.

4. Get comfortable talking about bowel movements, and quick. We used something referred to as "The Groover" that was set up in a strategic location each day at our new campsite. Watch the video below that was taken on day three, when I finally came to terms with using the bathroom in the wilderness.

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Why to go:

1. It's an unforgettable experience.

2. It's an adventure.

3. It's scenic.

4. It's off the beaten path.

5. You'll make friends that will last a lifetime.

6. To say you did.

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Where to start:

1. Research your trip.

2. Find dates that work. I don't recommend anything longer than six nights. As much as I enjoyed this trip, I was ready for a shower and toilet by day four.

3. Find a travel company you love. I traveled with Tour West, but there is also another great company I've had friends travel with called OARS.

4. Consult with me or an experience friend on what to pack. This is important! Oh, the things I will do differently if given another go at it...

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Renee's Review:

For an outdoor domestic adventure, this is the ideal trip. You won't lift a finger preparing a meal, as that is all taken care of by your knowledgeable guides. You'll spend your days coasting down the canyon, sometimes leisurely but also aggressively at times through the swift whitewater. You'll take pit stops to hike, swim, jump from waterfalls, chase rainbows and climb up the side of the canyon walls. The beauty from inside of the canyon never gets old. Gear up to experience one of the most scenic, life-gripping experiences you'll ever have, which will provide you with memories that you'll talk about years later with perfect strangers and friends.

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Signing Off So Glad I Did It,
Renee

Renee Woodruff blogs about travel, food and living life to the fullest on Shape.com. Follow her on Twitter or see what she's up to on Facebook!

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