Grand Canyon - Day 5 (5/26/2005)

Start (Mile #) Stop (Mile #) Miles
Kwagunt (56 1/2) Rattle Snake (74) 17.5

Woke up at 4:50 a.m. and got ready for the early morning hike into Kwagunt Creek canyon. First stop, the groover. How do I put this. The log jam was finally broken. The groover was getting kind of full this morning. You had to pick up the box and bang it on the ground to settle the contents.

The hike was nice. The sun rise was creating some nice contrasts on the canyon walls. We had to be careful of our steps at the beginning of the hike. We were walking through some sensitive soil that takes years to form. Then we headed up along side of a stream. We came to this rock face and I swear the profile looks like Elvis. I took a shot of it so check it out below. We hiked for an hour and then headed back. The stream and the rocks were very picturesque. We arrived back at camp around 7:00. Just in time for breakfast. It seems like we are always eating on this trip! Danish, oatmeal, and cereal today.

Before we hit the river, Ellen gave a talk on coal mining and water rights  on the black mesa. 

I went in Larry's boat today along with Andrew and Kristina. We traveled down the river and hit a few rapids. Then we hit the spot where the Little Colorado River (LCR) meets the Colorado River. The LCR was turquoise blue in color. This made a wild contrast where it hit the Colorado and turned tan. Larry said this was the bluest he had seen it in four years.

We pulled in, grabbed our PFDs and headed up river. The water color is caused by the reflection of the sky against the bottom of the river which is coated with calcium carbonate.  We walked up a little ways until we hit an area with some small rapids. To protect our butts, we donned our PFDs like diapers. Everyone looked quite funny. So we jumped in the river and floated over the rapids and through the rocks in the river. Then we would hook up in big trains (legs under the arms of the person in front of you) and go over the rapids together. The person in the front of train would get pushed under water. We did this for a while and then headed further up the river to a big rock you could jump off into the river. I did not participate. I needed to fix my Teva sandal. The right one broke yesterday. I was the third person on the trip  to have a failure of this type of sandal. I ended up using some of the duct tape on my water bottle to make a strap around the back of my foot. This fix held up for the rest of the trip. When I get back, I'm returning my sandals.

We walked back a little ways and then we floated down the river all the way back to the rafts. We headed a short stretch down the river and pulled in for lunch. We had cold cuts again today. The best part was the left over steak from last night. That went quickly..

After lunch we hit the river again. We were doing our traveling  stroke with Andrew and I paddling and everyone else resting. I screwed up again and called it rowing. More penalty time. So Andrew and I kicked it in and powered to Lucca's boat. We started a water fight and won. Andrew and I then paddled hard and caught up with Kent's boat. We attacked them and once again won the water fight.  Two others in our boat joined and and started paddling hard. Next victim was Chad on an oar boat. At first when we got Chad wet he looked pissed. Then he started using his long oars/paddles  (I can't get this straight) to get back at us. He could really fling some water with those suckers.

Okay, now everyone on our boat was motivated and all six of us dug in and headed for Ellen in her boat. Larry was laughing at us working so hard. As we approached Ellen she started going for the yellow bucket in her stack of buckets. This is the one you pee in if your are on the groover. Everyone was yelling "No, not the yellow bucket!". Lucky for us she could not get it out from under the bottom of the pile. She did get a green bucket and get us pretty good. Still we won! We had now hit every boat except two. Kelly was in the very back. Ahead, in the lead was Swiss. She was a good deal ahead of us. We kicked it up a notch and headed for our last victim. As we approached Swiss, she pulled out a water gun like Larry's except it was smaller. It was a brutal battle. Swiss put up a good fight with her gun and oars. In the end, I must say, "We Won!".  So my mission was done. We had succeeded in catching the lead boat and defeating everyone in water fights.

We hit a few more rapids. Larry even guided us over what he called the adventure route. We passed a small cave high up on the canyon wall. Larry told us it was dug out by Native Americans to store seeds for the following year. They seal the seeds in a pot and then build a wall in the cave to seal in the pot.

After the last rapid of the day, we pulled into camp. Larry called this camp "Rattlesnake". It was still pretty hot and sunny, so we hung out in the shade near the river. Dinner tonight was Jambalaya with Shrimp and a salad. Of course I had to give Larry a hard time saying that the Shrimp were not from the  US. I told him  they were  prawns from Thailand. Sure enough, he checked the bag and they were from Thailand. Dessert was a chocolate brownie with cinnamon concoction.   

After dinner, some of us gathered by Larry's boat and he told us about two guys from Stanford University who swam the entire length of the Grand Canyon. The only thermal protection they had  were some thin rubber shirts. They towed behind each of them,  two 80 pound sealed canisters that contained everything they needed. They had no support boats for help.

After the talk, it was 9:00 p.m. and time to go to bed.


Kent in lead of early morning hike

Heading into this canyon

Followed this stream

Elvis - look at that rock's profile


Some fossil

Flower only opens in morning

Little Colorado River


Bluest in 4 years according to Larry

A PFD never looked so good!

Going down the LCR

A giant train

Hanging out in camp