Grand Canyon - Day 2 (5/23/2005)
I slept great last night. I woke to a brilliant full moon in the middle of the night. It was like someone left the lights on. I got up around 5:30 a.m. and had a refreshing diet coke. Andrew and I pumped water before breakfast. We get our drinking water from the river. It is first pumped through a filter into 5 gallon cans. Then a little bit of bleach is added to kill any viruses that made it past the filter. Before we leave each day, all of the cans must be filled. So everyone takes turns pumping water.
The breakfast conch was blown. We had scrambled eggs, toast, hash browns, and fresh fruit. Once we were filled, we proceeded to load up our yellow bags with our sleep gear and clothes. We then loaded up the boats and prepared for another day on the river.
I was in Kent's boat today. I'm starting out in the front right position. I put on my paddle jacket and rain pants as we were starting in the shade. In the front of the boat you hold on by placing your feet in foot cups. Little did I know we generally go into rapids with the boat crabbed. The front right getting the brunt of the waves. We started out on redneck rapids. I got slammed by a big wave, it seemed to crash over my head. The wave crashed and I got a good face washing. I could feel me being lifted up off of my sitting position. Good thing for toe holds.
We hit a lot of rapids closely spaced together. Each time I got pounded by waves. Boy what fun! Eventually the fun ended and we pulled off the river. We hiked up, just off the river to an old Juniper tree. On the tree was carved the name of Harry McDonald. He was part of the Stanton Brown Expedition of 1889. Nikki gave us a short talk on the Juniper tree and how her people used it. Before giving the talk, Nikki formally introduced herself to us in Navajo and then in English. She said her name and then told the last 3 generations names on her mother's side.
I lost my tendonitis strap in the rapids. I'll have to find some tape this evening.
We got back in the boats and did one more rapid before pulling over for lunch. Cold cuts never tasted so good. What is it about food tasting great when you are camping? After lunch we paddled some more and hit a few more rapids. I moved into the #2 left position to give someone else a shot at the front.
We pulled into our camp site around 3:00 p.m. After unloading the boats we went for an adventure hike. It was hot on the beach we were camped at, so the prospect of a shady hike up a canyon sounded like fun.
We hiked up the sliver grotto. On the hike, the first thing we had to do was climb up a slick wall using a rope with knots tied in it. The we had to swim through 3 cold pools of water. Getting out of the pools was a challenge. You had to do some rock maneuvers, using hand holds and pressing and wedging yourself against the rocks. The guides were always at the tricky spots to provide help and encouragement. We finally ended up at the grotto. It is a big room with a pool of water in the center. It was a nice cool place to hang out. Several of the guides climbed up to the next level. If you slipped you would end up sliding down into the pool of water. Jeff was the only non-guide to make it up to the next level. We hung out for several hours. Most of the group left after an hour or so. We hung out with Kelly and Chad. Finally we decided to head back. I was not looking forward to going back in the ice cold pools of water. Chilla let out a blood curdling scream when she hit the water. We were laughing, but knew we too would have to jump in. I swam as fast as I could through the pools. Then we negotiated the rope back down. This was a very challenging hike. I was impressed that everyone did it. We have a strong, adventurous group.
Before dinner, we played horseshoes. It was Jeff and me against Andrew and Kristina. Boy did we all suck. Andrew had a unique toss he called "the swizzler". Basically he throws the horseshoe in a circular motion. So it whips around and around. Of course it didn't work any better than any other technique.
Dinner tonight was make your own Burritos. For dessert we had strawberry shortcake and whipped cream. After dinner I hung out with Bruce. He had brought some cigars on the trip and kindly offered me one. So we hung out by the boats and enjoyed our cigars. Andrew joined us latter. We had a quite spirited conversation. I then headed to bed and wrote in my journal for a while.