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Tom's Journal

October 13, 2008

When the Grand River flowed from the continent free from human intervention, only two American rivers were larger: the Mississippi and the Columbia. In 1921, its name was changed to the Colorado River. Before this and to a much greater extent after the name change, it was diminished by a series of diversions in its many tributaries and in the River itself.

However, this isn’t about what’s gone; it is about what’s left:


Inspired by his late father Joe Lacy, who in 1962 made the first kayak descent of Westwater Canyon on the Colorado, Tom Lacy dreamed of traveling all the moving water along the river’s course in celebration of both his parents’ lives and his own fiftieth birthday.

The journey, punctuated by appearances of over a hundred friends and family members, follows the river from its snowy beginnings near the Continental Divide over a Grand of miles toward its end. Modes of transportation include snowshoes, kayaks, rafts and other watercraft. Motors are used only on the largest reservoirs. Difficulty of the moving water ranges from placid class 1 to impassable class 6.

You can view photographs taken at each mile along the way and read the day-by-day story by clicking on “view a different day” at the top of this page.

This expedition has been attempted before. In 1933, Harold Leich tried to travel the same length of the Colorado River, but had to abort when his boat was lost in the spectacular rapids in Cataract Canyon. Interestingly, this occurred just a few miles below where John Wesley Powell’s legendary 1869 expedition through the Grand Canyon joined the river; Powell had followed the comparatively mild Green River to its confluence with the Colorado.

The Grand Time Members


  • Kovacs, Robert - Habitat for Humanity Katrina Relief Effort
  • Lacy, Alex - Habitat for Humanity Katrina Relief Effort

Grand Members

  • Board of Literacy Outreach - Literacy Outreach of Glenwood Springs
  • Merilyn Handley - American Cancer Society
  • Steve O'Dell -