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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  1. The falls were amazing. There is something about water flowing through those dry canyons that’s special, and it’s different in the side-canyons—the Colorado itself is so big, it has a different kind of magic.

  2. This looks like a wonderful, scary-licious and strenuous trip, All the cliffs, flowers and rivers are quite exotic to me, living in flat Denmark, but dreaming of one day visiting foreign lands again.
    One minor quibble. The link to part one takes me not to part one, but to Wednesday, May 12, 2021
    Writer's Wednesday.

    1. Thanks for catching that--fixing it now :) I have no idea how I managed to do that.

      You should definitely come visit our amazing West :)

  3. I was wondering whether I remembered to comment... and I didn't. Just so envious of those cottonwoods and the Patio, and breakfast... but not the heat!

    1. The heat was a bit tough, but it’s a lot worse there now! No more big hikes for rafters when it moves into summer. I cannot imagine being down there right now—temps are about 120.

  4. Hi Rebecca - it looks wonderful ... I'm not a great camper/hiker for reasons ... but I'd love to be able to do it ... looks amazing - what great photos - geology, fauna ... and I guess critters other than humanity! Cheers Hilary

    1. We brought our own bunch of humanity, of course. But there were a pretty great group, and considerate of both the land and the other people.


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