RIVER RUNNING -- Rafters who have the do-it-yourself skills for big water have until Feb. 23 to apply for a coveted permit to run the Colorado River through Grand Canyon National Park.
The National Park Service is holding its annual lottery this month to assign launch dates for private river trips through the cayon.
The lottery system replaced a years-long waiting list in 2006.
The Park Service will award 436 permits for 12- to- 25-day noncommercial trips on the Colorado River. The permits are for specific launch dates in 2012.
Additional draws will be held for the self-guided trips that are canceled or left over after the Feb. 23 application deadline.
The main applicant must be 18 years or older, and at least one person on the trip must be experienced in whitewater rafting.
Check out the video above to see if you're ready to handle Lava Falls.
WHAT ARE YOUR ODDS?
A rafting trip on the Colorado River requires the luck of the draw or a hefty withdrawal from your savings account.
Not many years ago, rafting permit applicants got on a waiting list that ran as long as 20 years.
Since 2006, around 8,000 applicants vie for permits in a lottery system.
Chances of drawing a permit for a specified date are about 1 percent.
Therefore, most people who want to go on a Grand Canyon rafting trip before they die pay dearly for the privilege. An 18-day trip through 47 major rapids rated 5 or above on the Grand Canyon scale of 1-10 will cost around $4,800.