Grand Canyon - Day 6 (5/27/2005)

 
Start (Mile #) Stop (Mile #) Miles
Rattle Snake (74) Cremation (87 1/4) 13 1/4

Today was our big rapid day. Andrew, Kristina, and I went on Lucca's boat. Did I mention that last night Andrew characterized each boat. Larry's boat is "the boat of information", Kent's, "the boat of mystery",  and Lucca's, "the boat of peace and tranquility". Last night Eric said he was gunning for us today. To put some fear in him and any cohorts, I changed the name of Lucca's boat to "the boat of revenge". We put  the boats name on tape and added a hit list of names of people we were after. The names were: Eric, Jeff, Mike, and Bruce. We put the tape on the bow of the raft. Of course once Lucca saw it, she moved the tape to inside the boat.  We were set to go after a boat, but Lucca wanted us to focus on the rapids ahead. The boat of "peace and tranquility" returned. Andrew and I were in the front of the boat this morning. The first rapid of the day was a good warm up for the big one coming up. As we approached the next rapid we pulled over so the guides could scout it. This rapid is rated a 10 on the Grand Canyon scale. It's big and long. We hopped back in the boats and were ready to take on the rapid. We had a blast running it. The waves were big. Our boat didn't have anyone fall out, but on another boat Jeff and Jason both fell out. The next rapid (it may be considered part of the last one, not sure) we hit a humongous wave. The boat kind of bent in half as we hit to bottom and started going up the wave. Then the wave came crashing down on us. Mike fell out of the boat. Jeff his son, moved to the low side of the boat to help his Dad out. This caused that side to get low with the extra person over there. Andrew and I continued paddling and I tried to move my weight further out to counteract Jeff. Luckily, Mike held on to the catch strap around the boat and got back in pretty quickly. Then we noticed Mike's paddle was missing. Lucca called out to get it. Kristina was reaching over the side when Jeff dived past her to get the paddle. He ended up smashing into Kristina's upper arm pretty hard. That night she ended up with a nasty bruise. Jeff felt really bad about it. I'm sure it was the adrenaline kicking in. We got re-organized and paddled out of the rapid.

I must mention that Lucca is an awesome guide. She can really handle the boat and tell us clearly what we need to be doing. She was all business when we went through these two rapids.

As we were waiting for the other boats to go through the rapid, the boat with Eric on it came over to us. He got off an awesome shot of water from his paddle. It hit me square in the face. That was pretty much the extent of the horse play for the day. Lucca kept us separated from everyone else. 

We pulled in for an early lunch. Then we set out on a hike. We climbed over a rocky cliff and over to a river. We had to climb down to the river and do a little rock scrambling. The tricky part was that the rocks were incredibly hot. You didn't want to hold on to one for too long. So we climbed down into the Clear Creek. We followed the stream bed up the river. I was behind Larry when I spotted a dead fish. He wasn't sure of the fish species so he collected it  for later identification. If it's an endangered species, he has to turn it into the park service. 

So up the stream we went. It was an nice moving stream with beautiful rocks. We reached our destination. At the end of the stream we hit a nice waterfall. The fall was about 12 feet high. You could stand under it. It's amazing how powerful the water was. Directly underneath the fall it was very hard to stand straight up do to the force of the water. The water felt great. It was like getting a massage. 

After everyone played in the waterfall, they settled in for an afternoon nap. I got bored after a while and headed back up stream. I stopped a lot to examine the surroundings and noticed a lot of stuff I had not seen on the hike in. I even spotted a small frog whose color blended in with the rocks. I met up with Dave and Laura who were hanging out at the spot we would climb up. About 20 minutes latter, Lucca and a few others showed up. We then followed Lucca up and over the rocks and back to the rafts. 

Back in the boats, we hit a few more rapids and the pulled into our last camp of the trip. This camp was called "Cremation". It can be very hot at this spot. Luckily it was overcast and we periodically had a light drizzle. This is one of the closest camps to our takeout tomorrow. The groover was set up near the canyon wall, elevated and surrounded by stone walls. The guides called this "The Throne".

Larry called over the three guys who fell off the rafts today and gave each of them a beer. But they had to do something first. Larry asked each of them what their favorite color was. Swiss then pulled out a bunch of nail polishes and painted their big toes. Then Larry got the rest of us over to do it. It's supposed to be a river tradition after a successful trip. Swiss painted my toe in a sparkly gold color.

Larry then rounded everyone up and told us about the hike out tomorrow. 15 of the 18 paddlers are hiking out. We are going up the Bright Angel trail. It's 7.5 miles with an elevation gain of about 4,500 feet. Larry instructed us to take our time, we had all day. Stop at the rest area and get your clothes and hats wet to help stay cool. He also said to ignore all the dumb people you will see as you approach the top. Do not waste your energy trying to convince these people to turn around.

We then made lunches for the trail tomorrow. I made two sandwiches, took 3 granola bars and some ERG (energy replacement drink) mix. We then put these into lunch bags. We retrieved our backpacks. In the morning all of our stuff will be loaded into them. No more yellow bags.

I collected a beer I won from Larry. I was the first to identify a new geological layer the other day. Dinner was black beans, rice and corn bread. For dessert we had cheesecake. I had finished up the rest of my wine tonight. I turned in about 9:00 p.m.

Morning shots at camp

Lunch

Hike down to Clear Creek

Up the creek (no paddle)

Lizard

Rocks & frog

Waterfall

Andrew

Lounging around

Bruce & Dave

Our Guides

Crazy guide shot

The group

 

Andrew picking nose, Jeff trying not to look

Heading into rapid

Action shot

Last camp

Kristina trying to finish book

Free beer if...

You get your toe nail painted. 

The color choices

Eric getting in touch with feminine side

Me getting painted. Larry has gentle hands

Trying to finish the beer and wine

View from camp