We decide to do a visit to the Glenn Canyon Dam. We read The Emerald Mile before doing the trip. A great read about the river and the dam. We make the last group tour and learn about the dam and its history. Interesting! Time to head North.
Grand Canyon 2015
Morning comes and with it the group sends us on our way. Eric our boatman and Jim take us past Phantom Ranch where we can get the trail that will connect us to The Bright Angel Trail. We are looking forward to the hike out, but also sad knowing that there is still another 9 days of river travel to do. It has been a great experience to meet the people on the trip and to see one of Nature's finest. We meet Alex and Lucy halfway up the trail. They are our replacements. The trail is steep and the warnings on the sign are accurate. At some points we can view the river which looks like a string. At the top as we unload our packs to put them in our car, we discover the can of unwanted asparagus. The can was signed by all the members of the expedition!
More vistas, more rapids and the wonderment of the Little Colorado as it flows into the Colorado River. For the native Americans , it is known as the place of origin. It is also the last night for Don and Donna to be on the river. Tomorrow they will start the trail that takes them to the rim of the Grand Canyon. Good-bye wonderful people, great food and groover.
Every turn in the river brings new vistas. We enjoy the shade of the colorful umbrellas. A highlight is visiting ruins. A snake shares the trail. The cactus flowers are in full bloom.
Our food is amazing. Every meal is 5 star. Well maybe the canned asparagus isn't. We enjoy getting to know the expedition members. The teams have fun in the kitchen. Check out the photos of some of the folks of the trip. Lynn, Gary, Don, Connie, Eric, Kate, Peter and Jim are from Boise. Greg and Susan are from Seattle. Nick is traveling between work as a blacksmith. Brantly is from Hawaii and Tracy is from Arizone. David lives in Portland. Don and I represent Alaska. An evening is spent celebrating Tracy's birthday.
Parts of some days are spent exploring side canyons. Sometimes it involves using a rope to ascend a steep wall. Other times we brave swimming thru very cold water to get to the other side. After one of the swims we were glad that the rocks were radiating warmth.
Days of beauty follow one after the other. We get into a routine, but each day has something new to offer. Jim our safety kayaker, is a dancer on the water. He was told by his doctor that his days of kayaking were over since he had damaged his shoulder too many times. He disagrees and made a shoulder harness that prevents him from raising his arm high enough to dislocate. Don and I are enjoying being passengers in Eric's boat. We often spin 360's to look at the canyon walls.
There are stretches of flat water interspersed with major rapids. Before the more complicated rapids, we pull over to the shore to do some scouting. Tracy, our friend, is also the permit holder. She invited us to do the upper part of the river. Brantly is her sister and Nick is her nephew. Kate and Peter are partners. Greg is from Seattle and has been down the Colorado several times. A rock formation on the shore gives us a great photo op of the team.
We are getting into a routine and into the rhythm of the canyon. Brantly can often be found paddling the inflatable kayak.. The non experienced rafters (Don F.) can often be seen rowing the flat water sections, giving our boatmen a break. Connie shows us food prep techniques. We stop at the shore for lunch, hiking adventures, and to check out campsite potentials.
Up at first light to fill water jugs, break camp, have a cooked breakfast and get an orientation talk from the Park Ranger. We have all watched the required videos for entry into Grand Canyon National Park, heeding the warning that we need to answer all questions correctly or all the group will have to watch the videos again. Fortunately, the Ranger does not adhere to quite that strict a policy. He is thorough about the items that we need to be concerned with. Another group has the same launch date and is at the meeting with us. Time to load, each boat is assigned kitchen and group gear. The food is organized by meals and a notebook tells us which boat is carrying the items needed for the day. We have been divided up into groups of 4. Each group will rotate duties on a daily basis. We all get a chance to cook, clean, manage the groover and even have a day off in the rotation. The system works well. Peter is the leader of our group and informs us each morning of what to expect. He also lets us know about the upcoming rapids. Peter provides excellent leadership!
Our day starts early as we finish packing our personal gear and load the vans and trucks with all the gear. Compared to kayaking, we are talking gear and a lot of it! There are 6 rafts and a couple of kayaks that will be used to move us down the river. It is a couple hour drive to Lee's Ferry where we will start floating the river tomorrow. We stop at an Indian Rock art site, where carvings in the rock tell of stories from long ago. The next stop is the bridge over the Colorado River. Some of the folks were on a trip together in Sept. when the river was a brown color. It is now green and beautiful! We all take the opportunity to walk across the bridge looking down at the river. After arriving at the site, one of the outfitter guides from Moenkopi orients us to the kitchen and the groover. Mokenkopi has supplied all the rafting gear and food for the expedition. The rafts are inflated and moved close to our camp. Each boatmen is responsible for his raft, loading it and doing safety checks. There are 6 boatmen. All come with a lot of experience. Don and I are in Eric's boat. He has never been down the Colorado, but his boating resume is impressive. We go to a local lodge for dinner and call it an early night.
Let the trip of a lifetime begin! We are meeting in Flagstaff today. It is great to meet all the other members of the Peter Palmer Expedition of the Grand Canyon. The days have blurred together, so rather than this blog of the trip being day to day, it will go over some of the highlights and show a collection of photos from the trip. Our thanks to all the photographers for sending us their photos.