Can a U.S. Marine Hang with the Best Guides in the Grand Canyon?
We’re going to find out…
Capt. Bob Sise spent the last four summers deployed in Afghanistan. But next summer he plans on “having a long overdue adventure…on home turf.” That’s why when he saw the Livin’ the Dream contest on Facebook, which was hosted by O.A.R.S. and sponsored by The Clymb, Northwest River Supply (NRS) and Teva, he went for it—a chance to win a “swamper,” or guide apprentice spot on a two-week O.A.R.S. Grand Canyon rafting trip on the Colorado River.
And despite being on duty in Afghanistan this past summer while the contest was running, plus being among 3,364 other people from around the U.S. who entered, Sise was able to rally more than 7,000 votes and win. Certainly well-deserving of this epic adventure, he had this to say about winning:
“I can’t thank my friends and family enough for rallying for me and getting the word out. It was tough pulling in votes while going out on regular 24-hr ‘business trips’ here in the Helmand River Valley, but I knew I had the edge when I heard that Grandmom was getting all of her friends at the nursing home to create Facebook accounts in order to vote daily. In case you were curious, the closest thing I’ve seen to white water on the Helmand River was a floating IED that detonated a couple hundred feet upriver from us (the Taliban aren’t exactly well-versed in the art of reading rapids). No words can express how excited I am for this trip. The last four summers have been put on hold for deployments, so the plan is to pack five summers worth of fun into an epic All-American Summer and I can’t think of a better way than to kick it all off than rafting through the Grand Canyon.”
So next September, Sise will get his long overdue adventure on home turf and we’ll find out if a U.S. Marine Captain can hang with the best guides in the Grand Canyon. As a “swamper,” he’ll be a bonafide member of the O.A.R.S. crew, helping load boats, spending time on the oars, helping prepare meals and mingling with clients.
Wait, we know what you’re thinking…this guy (who has served our country time and time again) deserves a true vacation. But trust us, a guide slot on a Grand Canyon rafting trip is considered a dream job by people in the know. After all, this once-in-a-lifetime experience will take Sise 280 miles through one of the Seven Wonders of the World and some of the most legendary rapids on one of the most popular adventure travel trips on the planet.
What is Sise looking forward to most about his Grand Canyon rafting experience? Just escaping down the canyon and having two weeks with no worries, he recently told us.
We know he’s pretty pumped too. Not only has he already read The Emerald Mile (one of our favorite Grand Canyon books ever). Shortly after returning from Afghanistan this fall, Sise, who had never seen the Grand Canyon, took a quick trip from Phoenix where he was staying at the time and headed to the South Rim for a little preview. He actually hiked down to Phantom Ranch, stayed the night, and then hiked out. Ummm, we’re guessing he’s got what it takes to get down the Grand Canyon, don’t you?
This story isn’t over yet. We plan on catching up with Capt. Sise after his Grand Canyon rafting trip in September 2014 to see how it went. Stay tuned…
Top photo courtesy of Cpl. Alejandro Pena