The most exciting, most fun and scariest part of a Grand Canyon rafting trip is the whitewater-- riding the rapids. No descriptions, videos or stories can prepare you for what it is really like, it is amazing. The rapids are all rated as far as difficulty goes (technically difficult to navigate), but you never know what to expect as it's all in the timing. You may hit one of the waves at it's full height or you may roll right over it. I was surprised by how many rapids there were. I thought we would go through a few a day, but it was never very long between rapids. They varied from easy to violent, but all were fun and exciting.
There's not much more too say so maybe you can get a feel for it by watching the videos I shot. The quality isn't always good as the camera was obviously getting splashed. I had to hold on with both hands so the camera got tucked in my life jacket which is why most of them are shot vertically and a little erratic as to where they are aimed.
Shortly after we left Lee's Ferry there is something called the Paria Riffle which isn't even rated as a rapid, but for us rookies it was a little bit of rock and rolling and a taste of what was to come. Later that morning we came to our first large rapid and what proved to be the biggest of the trip, House Rock. What made it the biggest was the fact the we got hit from the side by a huge wave. You can see it hit on the video, but that doesn't convey how powerful it was. It was a huge wall of water and it was all you could do to hang on. Our friend Dave who was sitting on the front left spot on the rack was washed off, but was able to grab on to a rope and hang on. The middle spot was filled by Bear (one of the Olsen family contingent) who wasn't so fortunate and he was washed completely off, but luckily all turned out well. You can see Kelly the guide rush in to hold on to him so he didn't go under the raft. We never had any more incidents like that as everyone learned how important it was to hold on and for the people on rack to "suck rubber". Sucking rubber means leaning forward with your head down so you don't take the full force of the waves on body. So here is House Rock.
I didn't keep track of all the names, but here are a few more rapids.
Here is a video of the other raft coming through the rapids. Unfortunately a big water spot blocks a lot of it, but you get the idea.
A few more rapids videos.
And last, but certainly not least, Lava Falls, the last big rapid of the Grand Canyon and almost the end of the trip. This didn't turn out to be a big as House Rock, but it certainly had the potential and was rated a 10 (out of 10).
The violence and power of these rapids are unbelievable and hard to imagine until you've been through them. It was really a lot of fun and one of the highlights of the trip.