It was an inauspicious beginning for a five-day trip, but on the Smith you take the water when you can get it, any way you can get it, even if you can't see your boots half a foot under the surface. This was an inaugural trip for the other members of the party, including my wife, daughter, and son. I knew whatever reservations they had at that moment would fade as their eyes drifted up to the soaring cliffs that would border every pool and riffle for the next 40 miles. Composed of limestone rock nearly 500 million years old, these thousand-foot walls reflect a palette of light, featuring colors like gold, tangerine, chalk, and champagne. The canyon contributes as much to the river's renown as the brown and rainbow trout that teem in its currents.