Rafting the Grand Canyon, Days 9 & 10. This trip was April 3-18, 2021, with AZRA--Arizona Raft Adventures.
See previous reports:
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.
|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.|
|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.|
|The Patio. I took off my boots and lay down in the creek.|
|At this point we were advised to remove hats and stow poles to avoid bumping heads or tripping. I thought it was extreme...|
|Some of my fellow-travelers were bolder than I.|
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.
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