Whitman Group Rafts the Grand Canyon

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Over spring break, senior Devin Kuh, three other students and a group of 11 Whitman alumni will be rafting through 277 miles of the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon. For Kuh, the trip is a culmination of interests he has fostered during his time at Whitman and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to lead his dream trip.

The trip—which will take 21 days and forces the four Whitman students to miss a week and a half of classes—began this week, but has been in the planning stages since Kuh was a raft guide in South America at this time last year. One of the most difficult parts of planning a trip like this one is the paperwork that needs to be filled out. Because the Grand Canyon is such a desirable location to raft, permits are distributed through a lottery system.

“Last December I signed up for the lottery system but decided I didn’t want to apply for a permit because I was in South America and couldn’t really plan. But then Adam Michel ['12] asked how to do it. I told him, he applied and won a permit,” Kuh said.

The trip began to fall into place, but still faced a lot of logistical obstacles. Because the trip is not through Whitman’s Outdoor Program, the funding was done independently and the food and rentals were done through a company.

“It’s funded through all of our savings,” said Kuh, only half-joking. “Although doing all of our rentals and food through a company is expensive, I definitely think it is worth the time saved in planning and logistics.”

When Kuh realized just how realistic the prospects of the trip were, there was no doubt in the senior’s mind that he would be willing to miss a week and a half of classes to make it happen.

“I worked really hard the week and a half before, finishing writtens, orals and a thirty-minute thesis presentation, along with all my classwork for these three weeks,” said Kuh, who will graduate with degrees in both economics and mathematics this May.

Kuh takes his academics seriously, but knew this was a unique opportunity and refused to pass it up.

“Knowing the first time I see the Grand Canyon will be from the bottom with a group of great people and 21 days of adventure to come is a great feeling,” said Kuh.

Kuh, who is about to enter the working world, sees the timing as perfect for the trip.

“After school, I’ll have work and more financial obligations that will not always allow for a three-week vacation,” said Kuh.

Kuh has been looking forward to the trip since it became a reality, and is particularly excited by the prospect of spending extended time with schoolmates and alumni. The other current students joining Kuh are juniors Jake Gavin and Forrest Epstein, as well as senior Heather Domonoske.

Kuh and his companions will be rafting by day and sleeping under the stars at night, making the most of their spring breaks in one of the country’s most wondrous places.

“Simply put, it is the Grand Canyon,” said Kuh.




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