Monday, September 10, 2012

Grand Canyon Rafting Trip - In the Canyon Part 4

A Day on the River

Each day on the trip was different, some days there were more stops for points of interest and hikes and other days we spent most of the day on the river with lots of rapids.  This is a description of a typical day on the river.  The pictures though, were taken over the entire trip. 

The day starts at dawn with the cry of "COFFEE" from one of the guides.  This means the coffee or hot water for tea is ready and you had better get up and start getting yourself ready and packed up to leave.  A while later the cry of "BREAKFAST" goes out which of course means, it's time to eat a delicious camp breakfast (more on the food in another section).  After breakfast, you have a short time to finish getting everything packed away and then the loading of the rafts starts.  A fireline is formed where all the gear is handed from person to person until it all gets on the rafts; first the camp chairs, then cots and finally the gear bags.  Then a brief wait while the guides secure the rafts and then it's all aboard for another day on the river.

Kelly and Lucky loading the rafts.

Val ready for another day on the river.
As we get underway, it's still pretty early and we haven't seen the sun yet.  It can be pretty cool in the morning when you get splashed with the 50 degree river water and there no sun to warm you.  One morning we were warned that it might be a good idea to put on our rain suits as there would be many rapids in quick succession.  This was in a narrow part of the canyon where the it would be later in the morning before the sun made it over the rim.  Val and I put on our rain gear and were glad we did.  We were splashed many times and stayed dry enough to stay warm.  Some didn't and they got pretty cold before we got the sun.

Here is a video of us cruising down the river with some mild rapids (this was not the rain suit day).  The scenery was always spectacular as we floated down the river.

As we make our way down the river through the canyon the scenery is breathtaking.  In between the excitement of the rapids, there is so much to take in.  Here are some big horn sheep along the river.

Every couple of hours we would stop for a break where there would usually be a short hike or a point of interest.

The amazing Redwall Cavern
Inside Redwall Cavern
The start of a hike up the canyon.
Once we got in the sun, it got too hot for me so I joined Val back at the raft.
Val relaxing, waiting for the hikers to return.
After the break, it's time for more rapids and beautiful scenery as we make our way down the river.

The bridge at phantom ranch

One day we stopped and hiked up into a slot canyon where we were given a concert by the guides.  All of our guides are musicians; Justin plays mandolin, Lucky played harmonica, Kelly played the flute and sang and Scott played guitar, sang and wrote his own songs.  Our little concert started with Kelly playing the flute accompanied by our friend Dave who is also a flute player.  It was beautiful with the eerie and beautiful flute music echoing off the narrow canyon walls.  Next, Scott played guitar and sang his own songs about life on the river.  That too was wonderful, Scott is very talented.  Altogether it was an unforgettable experience and one that would be hard to duplicate considering the setting.
Val and I at the start of the slot canyon where we had our concert.

Around mid day we would pull into shore for our lunch.  As we relaxed or explored the area, the guides were busy unloading the lunch fixings and getting our lunch ready.  Soon the cry of "LUNCH" rang out and we were usually pretty hungry so we didn't need to be called twice.  After lunch, the guides cleaned everything up, loaded the raft and we were on our way.

Getting underway.
Time for more rapids and more beautiful scenery.

Patrice, Dave and Val on the buckboard enjoying the ride.
More big horn sheep.
One of our favorite stops was for the waterfalls and pools beneath them.  What an oasis on a hot afternoon and they were usually close to the river so there wasn't a long hike to get to them.
Val and Dave under the falls.
Patrice and Dave.
Patrice and Val and our fellow rafters
Val and Dave
One of the more spectacular waterfalls was the Deer Creek Falls.  Most of the group hiked up to the top of the falls, but a few of us decided to just relax at pool below.  It was a little bit of a struggle to get to the pool as you had to walk through a small, slippery and fast moving stream to get to it, but it was worth it.

Deer Creek Falls
The top of Deer Creek Falls.

The slot above the falls carved by the water.
Here's a picture of me under the Deer Creek Falls.  It was too difficult to get right under them and it was even difficult to stay where I was for more than a few seconds because of the strong current.  Also, the falling water created a really strong wind which made it even more difficult to stay near the falling water.  It made an interesting little mini climate right there.  On the left side of the falls, back as far as the picture was taken the wind is blowing a heavy mist of water making it cool and even a little cold.  Go across the stream to right side and it was very hot and uncomfortable if you weren't in the shade.  I guess that's where the concept of misters came from.
Dave almost under the falls.
The rafts are waiting so it's on we go.

At this stop, the hike would have been very difficult for Val as a recent flash flood had left many boulders and rocks blocking the entrance to the canyon.  Instead we opted to hang around the raft with a couple of others, but it was pretty hot that afternoon so we were anxious for the others to end their hike.

Val trying to stay cool.

The jumpers are collected after making their leap into the river.
The day on the river winds down.

By late afternoon, it's time to stop and prepare to camp for the night.  As soon as we land, we are given a few minutes to find a campsite, then it's back to the rafts to form a fireline to unload the rafts.  Then it's time for us to set up our camps while the guides finish unloading the rafts and start preparing our dinner.  Soon the call of "Hors d'oeuvres" rings out which means it's time to gather for some pre-dinner food while we wait for dinner to be served.  By the time dinner is over it's getting dark and time for bed, it's early to bed and early to rise on the river.  So ends another day on the river.

1 comment:

  1. Trip looks wonderful! Be prepared to get very wet, somewhat dirty, a bit tired, and to love every minute of it!

    raft grand canyon