A group of friends became isolated on February 19 and did not contact the outside until March 14. So everything was different. On February 19, a group of 10 friends and the guide Zach Edler set out on the great trip that the American Grand Canyon proposes: a rafting along the Colorado River of more than 300 kilometers admiring the landscapes of the gorge. Sport, self-sufficiency, isolation. The route is so privileged that only the National Park authorities only allow a few groups to do it per year and these are decided by lottery. For almost a month, specifically 25 days, they would not know anything about the outside world, but what ? What could happen?
“There’s always someone joking: What if the world has changed when you return? And of course it never happens. Except this time,” Edler tells the ‘New York Times’ after one of the newspaper’s columnists, Charlie Warzel , discover the story.
When the adventurers took to the route, the coronavirus was a problem almost exclusively in China, which was also stopping its evolution curve, and in the United States – as in Europe – nobody or almost nobody feared the crisis that it could cause. When last Saturday, March 14, they pulled their raft out of the river and were found by a man named Blane , a rafting company worker, it was all very different. Blane’s question was clear: Have you had any contact with the outside world? And in the face of the negative response, the reaction was the only one possible: “He looked at us and sighed.”
Blane explained to them that the coronavirus already had hundreds of cases in the United States, that the schools were already closed, that Italy was already confined – Spain was missing a few hours – that the Stock Market had gone downhill, that the sport had disappeared around the world … As they explain, the boys did not believe it and began to joke; the girls understood it faster. They went into shock. So much so that between all of them they kept their equipment, their raft and began the journey back home in silence, not wanting to turn on the radio and receive the next downpour. But in an hour and a half they came to a place with coverage and all the phones started ringing. They discovered the new world.
They spoke to their families, discovered the obligation to return home and advised them to buy rice, preserves and toilet paper on the way. “We were sitting trying to rebuild the world. What does it mean that there is no toilet paper? How can toilet paper be missing?” Mason Thomas , one of the hikers, also tells the New York Times. Everyone had to wake up to the new situation: among them, there was a school teacher, a doctor who had to immediately rejoin …
“Some people would not like it, but I love having lived a few more days in a wonderful ignorance. We were able to enjoy the beauty of life. We live in the moment,” Edler concluded in the report.