Friday, June 15, 2012

The Grand Canyon (Day 8) - The Little Colorado

The following post is from the journal I kept of my recent adventure upon a 21-day private river rafting trip on the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon from Lee's Ferry to Diamond Peak (about 230 miles) that took place between April 18th and May 8th, 2012.

April 25, 2012

Today was a good day! I woke up a little hung over (stupid Maker's Mark mixed with powder lemonade water), but shook it off quick as we hit the river at 8:20 a.m.

A pleasant surprise awaited upon reaching the Little Colorado River. Turquoise color water flows into the mighty Colorado River and we're the only ones here. I'm super stoked to see that the LCR is not "dirty" or mud-colored water from flash flooding that sometimes occurs many miles away. It is the most beautiful color of turquoise I've ever seen it. It was dirty once and clean once during my two other visits to the LCR. This time it's a brilliant color and since it's a slightly overcast sky there are no shadows anywhere. I quickly start shoot pictures with just about all my cameras and even throw in a few black and white attempts.

Before we even reach the short hike up to a spot where it's common to get into the water, I've taken more than a hundred pictures! Now that it's time to play, I put down the camera (except the GoPro) and strap on my life jacket in the most messed up way ever. By sticking my legs through the arm holes and pulling the jacket up to my waist upside down and buckling it tight I've created a "butt-protector" floatation device. Robert, Athena and I take turns running the mini-rapids of the LCR on our butts. It's great fun and even Andy and Kathy give it a try.

Just as other rafters from commercial trips start showing up we're leaving. We paddle across the river and down only a hundred yards or so and have a quick lunch. Lunches so far have been very on-the-go with our group and I can't complain. I'd much rather see the Grand Canyon than spend my time eating my way down the river. Next, it's time to make some miles on the river. We've slacked off the past few days doing some epic hikes so now we need to make up some time. The river actually speeds up after the LCR and Butch and Bob knew this so that explains their lack of concern for going so slow the past week. I've made it known to Robert that I wish to have more time on the oars to get a better feeling and instinct so I row most of the day. It's a good ways - from the LCR to a campsite named Escalante, or as Bob calls it, "the original Rattlesnake camp." That's about a 14-mile paddle and my body feels like it got a great workout. Not to mention a few smaller class 4 rapids (Lava Canyon and Tanner rapids) increased my experience level today!

Tanner rapid was especially big today and I feel like I nailed it perfectly! Since I got to shoot those two, Robert got to paddle Unkar rapid. It was right at the end of the day and we thought we were done with serious rapids so we started drinking beer. Being especially pleased with the progress we made I decided to drink more beer than usual. When we realized we did have to run Unkar, I decided Robert was more sober than myself! We are now set up to run the Inner Gorge tomorrow and Friday. This will be the first BIG test in BIG water. Tomorrow we will face Hance and Sockdolager rapids, which I'm sure will be "interesting."

I'm also praying we make it to Phantom Ranch tomorrow. It's about 13 miles from here and I really REALLY want to call Jenny and hear her voice. I wish she were here. 

The night sky over our campsite tonight.

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