Flotilla | Colleen Gilligan


There we were, 15 professional strangers, strapped together on a flotilla, lazily floating our way into one of the most beautiful canyons in North America – Desolation Canyon. Somehow, it didn’t occur to me until this moment that we were a trip of strangers – photographers, videographers, journalists, professionals, athletes – and we were going to spend the next 5 days non-stop together. Oh man! What had I done!? What if this doesn’t work? What if this is a disaster? With nowhere to look, but ahead, I buried those doubts and let the scenery wash over me. And we floated. Never had there been a group so in need of a float. No phones, no emails, nowhere to go, nowhere to hide. You just had to sit, relax, take it in, float. Some drifted in and out of little cat naps, others struck up conversation with their neighbors, others just tried to absorb the splendor unfolding in front of them as we passed through the canyon. Eventually, the float would end. We’d hit camp, the games would begin, we’d have 2 rough days of rain and cold, the river would become more dynamic. But, by the end of 5 days, we would be family. Strangers no more, we shared something that even our own family and friends wouldn’t know. The River did its job – we were united. The trip would end, we’d all wait to the very last minute to turn on our phones, reconnect with the world. We’d hug, cry a little, say goodbye, returning to our various corners of the world, and resuming our busy lives. But, no matter what will pass, that river (the Green River) brought us together, created a new family, and left us with new memories that will never fade.