Hard to imagine a more spectacular display of the power of nature than rafting down the Grand Canyon during monsoon season as thousands of waterfalls burst forth from the sheer rock walls and tumble into the rivers below. Incredible:
“I’ve seen waterfalls spout in the Canyon, but not thousands of them all at once, each a different color and consistency, billowing out and sideways to form an almost continuous skein of water chundering down the terraced walls.” -Louisa Bennion
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Monsoon season in the Grand Canyon is usually in July and August, so we were surprised when the unusually high temperatures we experienced in early October were accompanied by sudden, violent monsoon-pattern storms.
A very localized storm hit us early one evening at a camp called Stone Creek, with high winds that kept changing direction and enough rain to cause a dozen spontaneous gullies through our camp, but parties camped nearby were hardly touched. Two days later in a stretch of the lower canyon called the Mauv Gorge, a heavy, prolonged downpour hit us right after we pulled away from camp in the morning. The timing could not have been better: our camping gear was all stowed away dry and we got to watch the ensuing marvels from what is really the only safe vantage point in the river corridor, when there’s that much water coming down—our rafts, in the middle of the river.
I’ve seen waterfalls spout in the Canyon, but not thousands of them all at once, each a different color and consistency, billowing out and sideways to form an almost continuous skein of water chundering down the terraced walls. It was one of the most beautiful days I’ve ever spent on the Colorado River and I think most everyone in our party felt the same way, from awestruck first-time guests to guides with many more seasons in the Canyon than me. Water in the desert can be a terrifying blessing. We are always in the alert for flash floods, and our awareness of how lucky we were was breathtaking.