Saturday, May 15, 2021

Photo Saturday: Rafting the Grand Canyon, Part 2

Okay, so I guess I've just accepted that for some reason I can't ever do my Friday posts on Friday. Maybe because days of the week have lost all meaning? Whatever. I'm back with Part 2 of the great Grand Canyon rafting adventure, Days 3 & 4. (This is taking too long, but there are so many photos! Even two days at a time it's hard to pick a reasonable number!)

Before I get started--just a reminder that Death By Donut is out tomorrow! More info here.

Day 3
Morning is chilly, as most of them turn out to be. I'm camped close enough to the kitchen to hear when the day's unlucky guide gets up to start the coffee. By 8 a.m. we're just about ready to launch.
Passengers wait for orders from the guides to bring more things to strap to the rafts.

It's a beautiful morning on the river.
Guide Jed relaxes while assistant Bekah--an experienced CA river guide learning the Colorado--takes a turn at the oars.

We stop for camp before lunch, in order to do our first hiking. A 500' climb above the river provides our first "perspective" views.
The view downstream from Nankoweap.
The view isn't all we've come for. Ancestral Puebloan people used Nankoweap Canyon as a summer farming area, with easy access to the North Rim up the side canyon (easy by GC terms, anyway). We visited their granaries high up the cliff.
Doorways are about half human high--just big enough to duck through.

Some of us also wander a ways up Nankoweap Canyon, just to see what's there. Not much is blooming this early in such a dry spring, but brittlebush is always reliable.

Up the canyon. There was a part of me that wanted to hike every one of these up to the rim, though in fact it was very hot and mostly I wanted to go jump in the river.

Every afternoon before dinner saw most of us in the river, getting clean and cool. I realize, looking at photos from other trips, that we were very lucky in that there was no rain, and no run-off--so the river remained clear and free of mud.

Back on the river in the morning

Day 4 was another shortish river day, as we had a major stop to make and a bit of a hike from camp.

The big excitement was a short hike and some fun up the Little Colorado River. I am still not sure about what we did--the LCR is sacred to the Navajo people, and I don't know how they feel about us swimming and playing in the creek. But there's no denying we had fun, and enjoyed the beauty at the same time.
Looking downstream towards the Colorado River--the cliffs are on the other side of the river.
The high mineral content of the LCR water--as it comes from the spring upstream that keeps this end of the river flowing constantly, even as the waters from the mountains dry up--causes travertine deposits along the water.

Having fun "swimming" the "rapids"

From our camp at Chuar rapid, we had a couple of hours to explore Lava Canyon--another route that could lead to the rim. There was water in the creek, and cottonwood trees.
"Ghost leaves": cottonwood leaves with all the color and most of the substance washed out of them.
Despite the creek and leaves, this was mainly a geology hike! The rocks were beautiful, largely (entirely?) Bright Angel Shale.

How many millennia are represented by these narrow layers?
When we encountered this bank we'd reached our destination. Since none of us had been up there before, we didn't know this was what we were hiking to until we got there.
Bright Angel shale, tilted and eroded with another layer deposited on top.
Cottonwoods against the red rocks of the canyons remain a special sight for me.

We made it back down to camp in time for a quick wash before dinner, beside (but not in) the rapids.

At this camp I learned my lesson about camping far from the kitchen. It was lovely and private (after everyone was back from the hike and the bathing). But I knew I'd never hear the call for morning coffee!
At least it was a sheltered campsite, and comparatively free of sand!

 ©Rebecca M. Douglass, 2021
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  1. Yeah! More pics in this one.

  2. Love it all... amazing to see and reminds me of my Idaho rafting days, good times for sure.


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