Going on Grand Trips with complete strangers? - Mountain Buzz
 

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Old 09-22-2015   #1
 
Electric-Mayhem's Avatar
 
Lakewood, Colorado
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Going on Grand Trips with complete strangers?

I realize that asking a bunch of complete strangers about going on a trip with complete strangers may seem a bit weird, but ya'll are river people so weird is normal.

So, there are several trips going out between now and the end of the year and I've been offered a spot on at least one of them. I DEFINITELY want to do the Grand at some point, but I'm a bit reserved about doing it with a group of completely unknown people. I'm a weird combination of shy but accepting and tend to get along with most people, but its always an interesting dynamic getting people together on an inescapable 3 week long adventure. The trip I've been offered a spot on seems like its on the more inexperienced side of things, at least when it comes to river craft, but its hard to tell. The trip is also towards the beggining of what I would consider to be the season for potential winter conditions...so the risks seem higher.

What do you guys think?

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Old 09-23-2015   #2
 
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Possibility of meeting in person or other means, before the trip? Discussing expectations, experience, equipment, etc. would go a long ways in setting up a successful trip. Share concerns, be honest about your quirks, find out division of labor, be flexible....hope it works out!
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Old 09-23-2015   #3
 
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i would try to get to know them a little bit first. a couple of day trip is one thing, but 3 weeks is quite another.
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Old 09-23-2015   #4
 
Bellingham, Washington
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That's a good question, because a long wilderness trip can change people's behavior in ways you don't expect. For example, on my last GC trip, some of the people who caused me the most grief were the ones I knew the best, and some of the people who turned out to the be the most fun, helpful, and supportive were complete strangers or people I barely knew.

I think people try to be on their best behavior if they're around complete strangers. If they're in the company of family or friends, maybe not.

Bottom line is this: every trip down the Grand is a social experiment. You could have the same group of people do it three times in a row, and if one new person is added for the next trip, it can change the whole dynamic.
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Old 09-23-2015   #5
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Its a roll of the dice. My first grand trip I didn't know anyone. It was awesome. Met great people that I still boat with and keep in touch with. On the other hand I have done short trips with randoms that I swore if it was a grand trip I would have killed them. There is enough room on a grand trip that you can get away from people so if you want to run the canyon and randoms is the only way I wouldn't shy away from it. Worst case you can do your obligatory duties and get away from camp. Not ideal but you could still have a decent trip even with shitheads if you had to.
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Old 09-23-2015   #6
 
boulder, Colorado
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This is a near and dear one for me since I have been on a few GC trips with mixed results. Trip 1. I knew 1 person, and not very well. Most people knew only a few others. Everyone made a great effort to mix and it was great. Trip 2. I met trip leader through the buzz and met for breakfast and that was it. Most everyone already knew each other very well. It did not play out as well. They were not hikers as they led on to be and the pacing of the trip was not good. Trip 3. Friends permit, invited 2 friends. Everyone met a few times before put in. Killer trip all around. Trip 4, Saw local ad on the buzz and met 3 times and invited 2 friends. Really sussed out what kind of trip they planned and wanted. Great time.

My takeaway is that if I didn't know anyone beforehand I would want to invite a friend. I like trips with a mix of ages, both men and women. If your going to put yourself in the company of people for 3 weeks you better make sure that you gel pretty well with at least a couple of them. Do you/they like to hike? Will they pace the trip to do the things you want to do? There are many great offers on the buzz to join trips so give it the best shot to be a great one. Good luck.
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Old 09-23-2015   #7
 
pocatello, Idaho
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My first and only trip I signed on for as a random solo. I just wanted to go and didn't really care how. As the trip evolved lots of people dropped and I filled those spots with my crew until I knew 8/16. I was glad to have my crew for sure, but all of the randos were pretty solid. But if it was 1:15 randos It would have been less awesome. Still worth it, but I vote to ask for at least 1 passenger spot. There is a lot of flatwater and time to just chat and reflect and soak it in. If you are on a boat with a wang it would shave off some of the enjoyment X 24 days.

A female friend of mine hooked up with a crew that misrepresented their experience, personalities and general readiness. Turns out it was a team of misogynistic, abusive drunks with an authoritarian leader where nobody was happy and crying/fighting was abundant. They literally left their QB at the launch (or rather he abandoned the trip) the morning of the launch. It was a train wreck.

Tis a roll of the dice.
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Old 09-23-2015   #8
 
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Thanks....this is all good input and is reflecting most of my concerns. I can definitely see how it could be a totally awesome bonding experience and make lifelong friends or the complete opposite.

With the one I've been offered it would be me plus however many random people. I don't know if I'll be the only stranger to the group on the trip or not, but in my experience that can make for a weird dynamic if its true. They have stated that they are all "Outdoor enthusiasts" and plan to do lots of hiking so that isn't a worry. They have also stated that they are looking for people with Grand Canyon and/or river experience, which leads me to believe that there will be plenty of people with no river experience on the trip.

My first inclination is to just say yes and get on a trip since its been something I've been dreaming about since I was 12 years old and started rafting. On the other side of the coin I'm not one to jump into things without thinking it through, so I thought I'd get other peoples opinion.

I do agree on the "bring a friend" thing. I'd like to and I think there is room on the trip for it, but my group of friends is relatively small and I'm not sure anyone will have the time off to come along.
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Old 09-23-2015   #9
 
pocatello, Idaho
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I would be reluctant to go on a trip with "outdoor enthusiasts" who aren't very experienced with multi day trips. Any multi day trips are a lot of work. rigging daily, camp protocol, kitchen skills, groover duty.....It can turn into virtual servitude with the wrong group. We had a kid who on day 15 had groover duty and claimed he couldn't do it because he didn't understand how it worked. Walked out on every assigned job. Same thing with the kitchen with others- on day 14 you can't ask me how to heat dish water for the third time in one trip, or where the soap is. Open the two possible boxes and look. A certain amount of adjustment to a new system is necessary but if you can't go hike because nobody else knows how to locate bread and PB it sucks. Maybe the more extremem examples are of people asking me as the TL how to use the camera that they brought which I have never seen before, how to put up a tent I have never seen, how to wash a plate and if I would point out the BEST tent spot so they could set up while everyone unloaded.
Turns out the best tent spot was next tot he groover.

When I go with my family they aren't experienced but they are willing to learn and by day 2 everyone has a groove and does their jobs and it turns into a normal workload for me. I don't mind someone asking for a pro tip- but don't ask where to find random kitchen stuff in a kitchen box we rented. I DO NOT KNOW.
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Old 09-23-2015   #10
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fiya79 View Post
I would be reluctant to go on a trip with "outdoor enthusiasts" who aren't very experienced with multi day trips. Any multi day trips are a lot of work. rigging daily, camp protocol, kitchen skills, groover duty.....It can turn into virtual servitude with the wrong group. We had a kid who on day 15 had groover duty and claimed he couldn't do it because he didn't understand how it worked. Walked out on every assigned job. Same thing with the kitchen with others- on day 14 you can't ask me how to heat dish water for the third time in one trip, or where the soap is. Open the two possible boxes and look. A certain amount of adjustment to a new system is necessary but if you can't go hike because nobody else knows how to locate bread and PB it sucks. Maybe the more extremem examples are of people asking me as the TL how to use the camera that they brought which I have never seen before, how to put up a tent I have never seen, how to wash a plate and if I would point out the BEST tent spot so they could set up while everyone unloaded.
Turns out the best tent spot was next tot he groover.

When I go with my family they aren't experienced but they are willing to learn and by day 2 everyone has a groove and does their jobs and it turns into a normal workload for me. I don't mind someone asking for a pro tip- but don't ask where to find random kitchen stuff in a kitchen box we rented. I DO NOT KNOW.
Yeah....I definitely am concerned about that for sure. I'm someone who is fine with putting in my fair share of work, I love to cook on trips and like to help people, but on the other hand I'm not a hired guide who is gonna do all your work for you.
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