Friday, June 18, 2021

Photo Friday: Grand Canyon #5

Rafting the Grand Canyon, Days 9 & 10. This trip was April 3-18, 2021, with AZRA--Arizona Raft Adventures.

See previous reports:

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Day 9: 

This was another day when our hiking plans were skunked by other rafters who beat us to the landings. A general courtesy of the river is not to pile on, except at a few "must see" stops (Redwall Cavern and Deer Creek Falls seem to be the main ones).

Morning in the boat. We had a number of substantial rapids: Fossil, Specter, and Deubendorff, and especially Bedrock, which gave everyone an interesting ride.

Our one very small "hike" did impose on another camp, so I take it this is another "must". We walked 1/4 miles up Stone Creek to a beautiful "shower."

Yes, we "showered" with our clothes on, though most people removed their hats!

 We are now in the heart of the Vishnu schist.

The black is actually a subset of the Vishnu, the Brahma schist. The pink is Zoroastrian granite.

Because we couldn't do the hikes, we reached camp before noon--couldn't go on because of the plans for the next day. When the sun went behind the ridge, a game of bocce broke out.

I'm an innocent spectator, hiding behind my rock and trying to read. The occupants of the campsite under attack fled.

We started the morning early, to make room for our big plans. Though actually, it was hard to start any morning any earlier than any other, as the coffee was started a bit before dawn regardless.

Matt and Bekkah cooking scrambled eggs and toasted bagels.

Packed our lunches, packed our packs, packed the boats, and at 9 a.m. we were across the river, with 9 hearty campers and 3 guides heading up Tapeats Creek.

You can tell the guy in back is a guide--he has a black mark on his leg from the aluminum raft frame!

This was an all-day hike, billed as possibly 10 miles with 2000' of climbing. It worked out to more like 8 miles and 1700' gross (the net may have been 2000'). Still, on a hot (90s) day, and with the climbing and descending concentrated in a couple of points, it was a strenuous hike and I was glad to be carrying 3 liters of water and a spare, soaking wet, shirt in a zip-lock.

Even just hiking up a creek you can't always avoid steep detours.
Well up Tapeats Creek we enjoyed cottonwood trees and cool flowing water. Farther up, when we had to cross, the water was more forceful and I won't discuss what happened when I was knee deep :D

We had flowers.

Hedgehog cactus
Also striped rocks.


We were able to have elevenses at Thunder River falls. The climb  from Tapeats up Thunder River was a big chunk of the remaining climb, but we still had a few hundred feet to go.

The really amazing thing about Thunder River is that it pours out from between layers of rock in the side of the canyon in a powerful blast.

A cool and pleasant snack spot, and another chance to get our clothes wet before hiking on.
We topped out in Surprise Valley and crossed half of it to find a tiny bit of shade for our lunch.
Surprise Valley is a large, comparatively flat valley halfway up the canyon walls. In the middle distance you can see our one spot of shade at "Shade Rock."

After lunch we began to drop down into Deer Creek. The trail was often steep and slick with loose rocks--I was glad I wasn't carrying a full pack.

By this point, less than an hour from putting on my second, wet shirt, it was dry and too hot.

We could see the tantalizing line of cottonwoods far below us.

When we finally reached Deer Creek it was heavenly.

Things got even better when we reached "The Patio" where most of the short-hikers were waiting for us, reading and napping in the shade. They of course were ready to go as soon as we arrived, while we wanted to rest and enjoy the spot a while!
The Patio. I took off my boots and lay down in the creek.

The hike felt like it was over, but there was still the better part of a mile--and a couple hundred feet of descent--to go. The trail skirts along the cliff above Deer Creek's slot canyon.

At this point we were advised to remove hats and stow poles to avoid bumping heads or tripping. I thought it was extreme...
Until I had to scootch around this bit. I faced the wall, put both hands on it, and inched around the "nose."
Some of my fellow-travelers were bolder than I.
When we reached river level, the reward was Deer Creek Falls, unfortunately a bit of a zoo scene.
Beautiful falls, though, when you cut out the people.

Lucky for those of us who were utterly beat, the boats were waiting, and we were able to camp practically right across the river. Our total river mileage that day was less than 4 miles!

We could sit in camp and look across to the narrow cleft that hides Deer Creek.

A final lovely touch: some of our Alaskan travelers brought appetizers for the lot of us.

Hey, if you've made it this far, I have a favor to ask: for those of you who've read my books, can you consider leaving a review at Amazon or wherever you shop for books? It means a lot to an author.

 ©Rebecca M. Douglass, 2021
 As always, please ask permission to use any photos or text. Link-backs appreciated.

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Wednesday, June 16, 2021

#WEP: Great Wave

 It's time for the bi-monthly WEP challenge. This year's prompts are all from famous paintings, interpretation up to us, of course. Here's the June prompt:

WEP Challenge are open to anyone. Post during the 3-day posting window, then link back to the WEP post page, and visit the other writers to enjoy a bunch of great stories! Read more about it here.


920 words, FCA


Great Wave

The hooded figure was reported to have visited the same rocky point on the shore every day for a week. Always at high tide, and carrying a large pack.

It wasn’t that no one knew who it was; there were no strangers in the tiny coastal town. Nor did anyone wonder about the hood. Any sensible person outside was wearing a hooded rain parka, and rain pants as well. The question everyone was asking was what Mildred Perkins thought she was doing out there in the rain and crashing surf, and what she had in her pack.

There was some attempt to speculate that she was engaged in some form of smuggling, but that stretched the credulity of even the most imaginative gossips in the tiny town. For one thing, no one could land a boat out on the point. For another, it was broad daylight, or what passed for broad daylight in the teeth of the winter rains, not a time when smugglers usually operated. Further, as far as anyone knew she’d been alone out there all the time, though admittedly even in the interests of a great story no one had been willing to sit out in the rain and watch as long as Mildred sat on the rocks.

Archibald Quindlen had reported seeing her sitting on the rocks for two hours while he was down the tiny sand shore trying to get his engine started so he could move his boat around the point to his proper mooring. In the end he’d given up and rowed the damn thing in order to beat the tide, and because he was tired of working in the rain.

“Didn’t see a damn thing except Mildred sitting there dripping,” he grumbled.

Sarah Pritchard was quick to point out that his attention had been on his boat, not on Mildred, and she could have done nearly anything without him noticing.

Archibald had retorted that she’d just been sitting every time he looked up, and what were the odds? He might have been a little less polite than that.

Victoria Jones admitted Archibald had a point and tried to keep her own watch, but after a half an hour she conceded that watching someone sitting motionless was pretty dull work, and maybe Mildred had gone mad, anyway. Plus, it was still raining.

This situation went on for a week, during which time it never stopped raining for more than about fifteen minutes at a time. All efforts to question Mildred ran smack into the impenetrable wall of a smile so warm and calm that it appeared to hide nothing while giving nothing away.

After four days, Mildred changed her vantage point to sit on the second point over from the first. Then she began to move from one point to another, up and down the shore, sitting in one spot sometimes for hours and sometimes only for minutes. Since no tourists came to town in the pouring rain, business was slow and everyone was going crazy wondering what she was up to.

This made it harder for the townspeople to watch without being obvious, not just to themselves but to their neighbors and to Mildred. Anyway, people were losing their enthusiasm for prowling about in the rain only to learn that she was just sitting there staring at the waves. Since Mildred didn’t seem to mind, or even notice, the rain, they were forced to conclude that she really had gone mad.

“Well, what if she is mad? She’s not hurting anyone,” Charles Godfrid pointed out. “Leave the poor woman be. She seems happy enough.”

For that reason, no one was watching when the rain finally ceased and Mildred at last opened the large pack she’d been keeping dry under her voluminous rain poncho (worn over the rain parka, a common precaution on that very wet coast).

The storm blew itself out late in the morning, and by noon the sun was shining. Young Joshua Pritchard ran down to the shore to see what treasures the high tide had brought, and noticed Mildred was eating a sandwich. That made perfect sense to Joshua, who was ten and starting to develop a frightening appetite. He briefly considered going and asking if she had anything to share, but his mother had told him not to go near the poor crazy woman. Anyway, his attention was caught by some very promising bits of fishing net and he forgot all about her. The next time he looked up, she’d gone off to some other spot for watching the breakers.

By two, the sun and breeze had dried things pretty well, and Mildred had found the place she wanted to stop.

No one at all saw when she opened the backpack again. This time she pulled out not her lunch, but an easel, a large drawing pad, and a box of paints.

She began to work.

It took weeks, sitting out storms, then waiting until it was just dry enough to not soak the canvas. She could work only until the calm changed the scene too much, then had to wait for the next storm. No one paid any attention to her now. Mildred was just “like that, you know,” they said, and left her alone.

At last she was satisfied, and stopped going to the shore.

Mildred’s detailed study of a single tiny portion of the surf took first prize at the country fair. “Great wave,” one of the judges wrote in the notes.


 ©Rebecca M. Douglass, 2021
 As always, please ask permission to use any photos or text. Link-backs appreciated.

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Monday, June 14, 2021

Release Day! Clues, Cops, & Corpses

I've been off seeing my younger son graduate from university, so what better way to celebrate than by finally releasing my mystery collection!


It's out, it's today, and it's the 4th (and last for now) book in my collection of collections.




Nine tales of murder and mayhem, from the classic to the absurd. Can detective L. R. Hen discover who is committing the notorious Cackling Murders? Have the waters of lakes and rivers washed away all the clues in several damp cases? And just what can motivate a brainless thug to care about something? All these cases and more are solved in this quick, fun collection of stories by the author of the Pismawallops PTA mystery series.


Order your copy today! Just 99 cents at all ebook retailers. And please, consider leaving a review when you are finished.