Gates of Lodore | Trip Recap
This trip began with our orientation meeting at the OARS warehouse. Once logistics and details were discussed, we got to know one another as a group with introductions.
It became clear very quickly that this trip was going to be a powerful one. Within minutes of our introductions, members of our group opened up and shared what they were currently experiencing in life and what they hoped to get out of this Happy Grizzly adventure.
Day 1 on the river included lots of safety information from our guides and the formation of friendships among our group. You could hear laughter from each boat as we floated downriver to our first camp.
An hour and a half and the water, and the group was singing a full throated rendition of Neil Diamond’s classic “Sweet Caroline”. What followed was a Day 3 magic connection on Day 1 that stretched throughout the trip.
During lunch, Koorosh guided our group through an integration of practices known to reduce stress and improve presence, including breath work and mindfulness meditation.
Night 1 on the river was a mixed bag of activities. Some group members were very tired and went to bed after our cheesecake dessert while others stayed up for a few hours to have discussions around the "fire" (a nalgene illuminated by a headlamp).
As we all stared at the glowing water bottle, we began to deepen our understanding of one another. Some laughter, some tears and a lot of good conversations closed out our evening.
Day 2 offered some new experiences as we were able to choose if we wanted to row an inflatable kayak, or float down river on a stand up paddle board (SUP).
The weather continued to be perfect as we floated through calm waters and a few class 3 rapids.
At lunch, we did breathwork with Koorosh again, and were visited by a few curious goats as they slowly walked around and eventually through our lunch spot.
Night 2 felt different from night 1. We were all caught up on any needed sleep from our traveling the days prior, and we could begin to feel the formation of trust among the group. Anywhere you turned while at camp, there were organic conversations full of laughter and heart. A few of our group members serenaded us to sleep with music and singing under the stars.
There was something magically easy about the trip. Our guides, world class from OARS, reflected on the incredible group dynamic, fun, light, playful, and deep!
On Days 3 and 4 our group felt like family, including our 4 incredible guides. We sang and played music together, we told jokes, shared stories and some even began making future plans for more fun adventures with new friends.
We hiked to waterfalls, saw petroglyphs, took naps and did TRX workouts around camp. Everyone had settled into restful or invigorating activities that served them best.
On our last day, during lunch, we took our time to hold space for anyone who wanted to share what the trip had meant to them.
While it's impossible to say what moment was the most memorable, this group conversation is one that sticks out in the minds of the Happy Grizzly Staff.
While almost all of us felt resistance to pulling our boats to shore for the last time, we collectively felt excited to return to our lives having grown immensely over the last 5 days.
This trip is one that we look forward to each year. We will be offering a Big Bend Rafting trip in January of 2022, and three rafting trips with OARS in summer 2022. We hope you can join us! Check out these trips here: https://www.happygrizzlyadventures.com/adventures
One of our dear friends and member of this Gates of Lodore trip, Jim Harris, created this print of our trip. He is donating all proceeds from this print to Happy Grizzly Adventures.
Check out his website here: https://www.gorgeousstorm.com/shop/gates-of-lodore