Colorado River 2006: Day 2


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Colorado River 2006: [Day 1] [Day 2] [Day 3] [Day 4] [Day 5] [Day 6] [Day 7] [Day 8]

Sunday, July 16, 2006: We arose in the morning to sounds of "Hot Coffee!" around 5:30 AM. Our campsite was closest to the rock walls, which radiate heat long after the sun has gone down, so we learned a valuable lesson not to do that again. We packed our sleeping gear into grey bags, our camping clothes and gear into beige bags, and our day stuff into ammo cans (AKA camera boxes).
Breakfast consisted of eggs, bacon, melon, and English muffins, along with juices, coffee, hot chocolate and tea. After breakfast, it was time to load the boat and everyone helped out.
Our travel time was short, as we were just going downstream for a hike at North Canyon. This is the view from the Silver Grotto back to our camp.
A few stayed behind on the beach at North Canyon, but most of us started the hike. In the early morning, there was plenty of shade to be found and it was a very pleasant hike.
We saw a lot of sacred datura plants in the canyon. They are highly poisonous.
We saw some cactus, too, but not as much as you'd expect.
Lizard! We had to stop hiking immediately and get a photo. No, we didn't photograph every lizard we saw, but it may seem like it by the time you're done reading this travelogue.
The terrain was beautiful as we hiked further into North Canyon.
It's easy to see where flash flooding has helped carve the sides of the canyon.
Those who made it this far were rewarded with a pretty pool with a natural rock slide leading into it.
Let's have Stewart demonstrate.
Go, Stewart!
The more dedicated hikers had gone exploring even further up the canyon, but this is as far as we made it. In this shot, the kids are returning in the lower left corner, and Debbie's dad is in the upper right.
Hiking back down is easier and more fun than hiking back up. The curvy walls are lovely, aren't they?
Back at the pool, we saw this moth stuck in the water. Attempts to save him were unsuccessful, as he just walked right back into the water. It was puzzling.
Back at the boat, it just takes a plunge into the river to cool off very quickly. Stewart and Doug demonstrated both phases of this activity -- the jumping off the boat to cool off and the running back to shore to warm back up.
Spencer, Patrick, Billy, Kelsey, and Jill could usually be found in a group throughout the trip.
Here's another cool rock.
Back on the river, there was much to see, including these unusual formations. This section of the river between Miles 20 and 29 is referred to as the "Roaring 20s" because there are rapids every half mile or so for several miles.
Just past Mile 31, we floated past Stanton's Cave, which is in a very cool section of rock formations.
This cave is barred over to prevent damage to the archeological treasures found inside.
Right next door is Vasey's Paradise, a gorgeous location featuring waterfalls and lush vegetation. It would be very cool to see this in the spring when more of the flowers are in bloom, but it's still lovely in the hottest days of summer.
Just around the corner is Redwall Cavern, a huge natural cave with a large sand floor.
As soon as we arrived, the kids had to head to the very back to see just how far back it goes. The back of the cave is not visible from the beach, but it does end, we promise. Eventually, every single one of us went all the way to the back to prove it to ourselves.
We were very fortunate in our timing. A previous group had just finished their visit and were leaving as we pulled up, so we had the cavern all to ourselves. This allowed us to eat lunch, play frisbee and take a dip in the water.
It's not possible to take a photo that does this cavern justice.
But that didn't stop us from trying.
There were animal tracks all over the sand floor of the cavern. We're not sure what made these tracks, but we're guessing it was dizzy when it was done.
Back on the boat, Spencer took his turn at the balance challenge. This involves balancing on a rope suspended between the two boats. The boatmen were quite good at it, but then again, they've had a lot more time to practice.
This was a cool little waterfall where the minerals in the water had built up the rock wall below it. Up close, you can hear the water falling just behind the rock wall.
Back to those majestic views. Behold the mighty river once again.
Another great view ...
... and another ...
... and another. This lovely natural bridge is called the Bridge of Sighs.
When it's hot out, it's nice to stop at a quiet spot on the river and do some cooling off. The kids took this opportunity to dunk themselves and each other.
Our boatman, Connie, knew everything about everything. At one point, she told us that we wouldn't be seeing anymore bighorn sheep for a while, and that we'd be seeing deer instead. She was absolutely right, and a few miles downstream, we saw our first deer of the trip. Not shown: a random goat we saw on the left bank of the river, bleating loudly.
This is one of the dories in Grand Canyon Expedition Company's 14-day oar trips. You'd think we'd blow right past them in a show of motorized might, but instead, our crew stopped and talked with them when they were on the river and in camp, because all the boatmen know each other. It's beautiful when people with oars and people with motors can get along.
We camped on the southern campsite at Nankoweap Canyon just above Mile 53. High in the cliffs are some Anasazi granaries, and the serious hikers in our bunch took off on a pre-dinner hike to see them.
The granaries are wedged into the cliffs. The windows of the granaries look like tiny black squares from the river below.
Speaking of the river, here's the beautiful view of the river upstream.
Here are three generations of Schillings at their destination with the river looking downstream.
Back at camp, the rest of us took this opportunity to hang out and enjoy each other's company before dinner. Doug showed Debbie his photos from the hike when he returned.
After an appetizer of crackers and onion dip, dinner was halibut, Spanish rice, zucchini and tomatoes, followed by yellow cake with chocolate frosting. Yum! After dinner, we washed our plates and utensils in a four-bucket dishwashing line.

As the sun went down, we washed up and called it a night.

Day 3 >


Colorado River 2006: [Day 1] [Day 2] [Day 3] [Day 4] [Day 5] [Day 6] [Day 7] [Day 8]

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