Benny Briggs’ boating adventures began with a commercial rafting trip in the Grand Canyon and have turned into annual kayaking expeditions.
Benny, from Lubbock, Texas, hadn’t boated before but in 2001 he and his sons took “the boating trip everybody should do sometime,” a commercial raft trip down the mighty Colorado River through the Grand Canyon.
They didn’t have to ask him twice
On that trip, Benny got to know a group of guys from Arizona who go on private group kayaking trips in their own kayaks. They invited him to come along and they didn’t have to ask him twice.
“Every year, we go on a kayaking trip somewhere,” says Benny. “We’ve kayaked down the Rio Grande, the Green River in Utah, the Gunnison, and more.” Next up for Benny and friends — a trip kayaking trip down the Colorado near Moab, Utah.
Camping under the stars
Benny and friends aren’t high-adrenaline kayakers. They’re out to have a good time with friends in America’s beautiful outdoors. “In 2008, we went down 105 miles of the Rio Grande in about a week,” says Benny. “We’d put in and kayaked for four or five hours and then make camp for the night.”
Camp means camaraderie with tenting, bonfires, cooking, and story telling under the stars. “I like to get with my friends,” says Benny. “We sit and talk, tell jokes, and have a great time.”
Benny worked for Exxon Mobil but is retired now. “Kayak trips are a lot of fun,” he says. “They’re manageable for people of all ages including retired folks like me.”
Rising river and a quick exit
Of course, no kayak adventure comes without the unexpected. Benny and friends were camped in a side canyon alongside the San Juan River on one of their trips. On the last day, the river began to rise. “We packed up fast and got in our kayaks,” says Benny. “The current was running so fast we made it to the takeout point in about two hours — a trip that normally takes all day.”
How does a first-time kayaker get himself into a Sea Eagle Explorer Kayak? “I saw it on the internet,” says Benny. “I bought it for my first trip and I wasn’t sure I’d like kayaking so I didn’t want to spend $2,000 like my friends did.”
Try it – you’ll like it
So if you’re out on a river somewhere in the Southwest and see a group of five or six kayaks slide by, it just might be Benny and friends. His advice? “Go kayaking. You’ll enjoy it!”