Friday, July 23, 2021

Photo Friday: The Grand Canyon, Part 8

The final chapter! Days 14-16

The previous posts:

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4

Part 5

Part 6
Part 7

Day 14
After the fun splash ride through Lava Falls rapid, it was kind of nice to have a mostly calm drift down the river in the morning.

A note on footwear: while bare feet in sandals is probably the most practical on the river, I didn't want to get sunburned. The Sealskinz socks I borrowed proved a good compromise, as they didn't get sodden and stretched out of shape the way normal socks would. They helped some with my cold feet, but I suspect bare feet would have been warmer, as having some hope of drying.

As mentioned in Part 7, just above Lava Falls we entered the volcanic portion of the canyon. That made for some great geology, between the intrusions of lava and some beautiful columnar basalt. For those who aren't geology geeks, that's the postpiles of Devil's Postpile, or the pavers of the Giant's Causeway. The columns are formed as the lava cools and shrinks.

A close-up of the columns, which in this case seem to have from four to six sides.

In the middle of this volcanic theme park, we stopped for a hike, to be followed by lunch. The Whitmore Trail leads up to the North Rim, or at least to a spot below the rim where the land is broken enough for a road to lead down to within 1000' of the river. The climb was hot, but as always, worth the effort.

Heading up. Note the general sense that the canyon walls aren't as steep now. This is not an impression that holds while you are climbing the trail, which gains 1000' in a mile.

As always, climbing rapidly puts the river in perspective.

Looking back at our boats. We waded the channel between the sandbar and the shore before starting our climb.

Finally close enough for a photo of the ocatillo

Partway up, we passed under an overhang that proved to be the underside of some of the columns.

Although in a way I was sorry to do this hike--it brought the outside world back to us, both with the sight of the road (and the jeeps camping at the end of the road) and in the form of day-hikers, an alien species after two weeks on the river--the views were not to be missed.

Ocatillo, looking upstream

Basalt flows and the Hurricane Fault both run through here.

Back down at the base of the cliff, before wading over to lunch, I detoured to check out some prehistoric pictographs.

Then on down the river, to camp below Parashant Wash at Mile 199.

There was a lot of drying going on. The map suggested none of our rapids was very big, but we got wet anyway. Size of rapids does not necessarily correlate to how wet you are.

Day 15
A 20-mile river day, we didn't make any significant stops on this final full day of the trip.

Our camp at 220 Mile Canyon did permit a rare free-hiking opportunity. I waited as late in the afternoon as I could to dodge some of the heat but still have time to explore before dinner. To my delight, the ramble up the wash revealed far and away the best flower garden of the trip.

Up the wash.

It was another of those canyons that could go on all the way to the rim and beyond, but I resisted the urge to continue beyond the end of the narrow gulch.

Rock nettle. Never saw so many and so lush.

Close-up of the rock nettle flower.

Globe mallow
The cocktail hour (i.e., waiting for dinner) brought out the spirit of fun in everyone, and we indulged in games of balance and agility. I was okay at the egg-and-spoon race, but skipped the single-leg no-hands stick collection game.
Mostly the guides could do this.

Planking was more the mode for some of us.

Day 16
Our final day on the river, and we were in no hurry to leave. We had only six miles to float, and a target take-out time of 9:30--no problem for this seasoned crew!

Shoving off

Arrival at our take-out meant a flurry of activity, de-rigging the boats and loading the truck. Passengers were encouraged to help. Because the take-out is on Havasupai land, we masked up as soon as we landed, and stayed that way all the way back to Flagstaff.

Cleaning the boats gave some an opportunity they couldn't pass up to give some splashes back to the crew.

Loading the dory on the trailer.

The rafts got piled up and deflated. That was our signal to flop on the squishy stack and take a break. That's me in the foreground; my brother-in-law Tom Dempsey of took the picture.

Back on the bus! The trip to town starts with ten miles up Diamond Creek, which takes an hour in the bus. The road is very rough in places, though nothing I wouldn't take the Prius down... In the wash, we spotted some of the feral donkeys made famous by Marguerite Henry's Brighty of the Grand Canyon, but I didn't get any photos.

Our lunch stop in Seligman meant we were on the famous Route 66 for a time.

It was sad to finish the trip, though no denying that a hot shower felt wonderful. I can't say too much how fantastic the whole thing was for me.

One final image to close with: some socks you just don't want to put in your washer, and ones that have hiked the side canyons and waded the streams are at the top of the list!

Hope you've enjoyed the trip!

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

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  1. Sigh. And so it ends. I think you should go through again with the out-takes next....

    All socks go in my washer, however many bogs they've been through orienteering. But then, the washer takes the boys' fleeces, too (in an old duvet cover these days. I have no idea where all the dirt goes, but it disappears).

    And the next trip is?

    1. I worry about the sand clogging the drains. Regular dirt, not so much, but sand... and a pair of wool socks can hold a LOT of sand.

  2. I believe Devil's tower is also basalt.

    1. Yes, it's a big cluster of columns. There are a lot of them around, if you open your eyes and start looking. There's an exposed bit of rock on a local trail that I realized one day is the top of a clump of columns.

  3. Um, sorry? Or maybe not. Maybe you should go on vacation!

  4. Hi Rebecca - these are all wonderful photos with great descriptions ... amazing and fascinating to someone who's unlikely to see the Canyon, or get back to the USA. I hadn't heard of SealSkin socks - but make sense. Wonderful geology to see ... and spot some of the plants ... thanks - so pleased you were able to enjoy the trip - cheers Hilary

    1. Thanks, Hilary! I enjoy doing photo posts, so I'm sure you'll keep seeing the world through my (camera) lens!


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