Most nights of the trip were something similar to the above short story above. The canyon was the coldest it has been in 37 years, 7 days was WAY too short of a trip, it was as amazing as ever and fun as hell to paddle most of the big rapids in one 45 mile day (hance to blacktail). Our group of 4 was made of of people that have paddled some of the hardest whitewater in the world and yet everyone was having a great time, paddling our 200 lb boats down the river.
Self support trips are my favorite kind of kayaking trips, no loading/unloading rafts is so much nice. I have done the canyon 6 times now with half of those trips in the winter and every single trip is unique and memorable in its own way. This trip was a boys night out kind of trip that lasted a week, and was a great way to start off the 2013 season, I have never felt so strong in January before, but paddling 40 miles a day will do that. Enough of my babbling, I'll end with my top 5 pieces of gear to bring on a winter trip and some photos.
1) thermos: great for hot drinks and soup
2) The warmest sleeping bag you have (Louis had a 30 degree and froze his ass off)
3) Arugula, it adds a little bit of roughage to the diet and goes great with tons of stuff, plus its pretty hearty and can stand up the cold temps)
4) Gatorade powder (you still have to hydrate in the desert in winter, it's hard to do with cold ass water)
5) Your crossover boat of choice, I took the wavesport ethos and loved it, we saw pyranha, jackson and liquid logic crossover's and everyone seemed please. I'm looking forward to getting my hands on the dagger crossover boat as well!