Colorado River 1978:
Day 5 - Little Colorado/Phantom Ranch


Bundlings.com: [Main] [Contact Us] [Events] [Family] [Fun] [Garden] [Misc.] [Photos] [Rett Syndrome] [Search] [Site Index] [Travel]

Colorado River 1978: [Day 1 - Utah] [Day 2 - Utah] [Day 3 - Marble Canyon] [Day 4 - Red Wall Cavern] [Day 5 - Little Colorado/Phantom Ranch] [Day 6 - Deer Creek] [Day 7 - Havasu Creek] [Day 8 - Lava Falls] [Day 9 - Diamond Creek] [Day 10 - Grand Canyon]

Wednesday, August 16, 1978: We woke up, as always, around 5:30. Breakfast was usually something typical and filling – pancakes, French toast, scrambled eggs, sausages, the works. Mornings on the river were rough – the rapids were just as cold, but with no sun to warm us afterward. Our first stop on what was to be our longest day on the river was the Little Colorado River at Mile 61.5. Where the dark green water of the Colorado met the turquoise blue of the Little Colorado, there was a distinct line which was a unique sight. Warned against swallowing the turquoise blue mineral water, "or else you'll see a lot of Oscar," we left the boats to hike about a half mile up the river.

We put on our life jackets and floated down the Little Colorado. In some places, it was very shallow and our feet sunk into the soft bottom easily. In others, we were clutching our life jackets at the will of the current. Near large rocks, the current quickened, so one minute you'd be happily floating along, and the next, you'd be crushed against the rocks. It was fun but painful. One trip down was enough for me, but a number of others went back for more.

When everyone had returned, we were off again. Right across from the entrance of the Little Colorado is Temple Chuar Butte, the site of a terrible plane accident in 1958. We also passed a few miles of salt formations on the walls of the canyon.

Here's the view looking back from Mile 66 at Espejo Creek.

Byron got some relaxing done when it wasn't his turn to pilot the boat.

Lunch was eaten just past Mile 67 at a site that consisted of large boulders and little else. Restrooms breaks were had ("Skirts up, pants down") and boulders were climbed. (Lunch photo: GMSV)

After lunch, we were off to the big rapids – Hance, Sockdolager, Grapevine, Hermit and Crystal, among others. Sockdolager and Grapevine were the best – almost a mile of solid rapids. As it was early afternoon, we were warm, so those rapids were absolute fun. This photo is the approach to Sockdolager Rapid near Mile 79.

Our next stop was Phantom Ranch. The postcards were collected and a small party assembled to hike the mile up to the ranch.

Here's the view looking back at the bridge.
Most of us stayed and took bathroom breaks along the river. What I learned later was that were on one of the only stretches of river which was visible to civilization on the South Rim. We didn't know that there were tourists, a mile straight up, who were looking at us through telescopes in the tower on the Rim.
Here's the first of two photos taken by Debbie's dad, who had gone on the hike to Phantom Ranch.
After everyone had returned, we departed once again. Because of the intense heat, the stop had been a miserable one, both for the hikers and for those who had stayed behind to battle for some shade.

It was just the opposite later in the afternoon. After a fun afternoon running more rapids, we couldn't find a campsite and it was getting cold as the sun dipped further in the sky. We were freezing when our trusty pilots passed around some blackberry brandy saying, "If you can't be warm on the outside, at least be warm on the inside!"  We all had two sips – even the minors! – and got an orange as a snack.

Eventually, we found a small campsite around Mile 116 that was usable with some squeezing together on our part. (Camp photo: GMSV)

Day 6 >


Colorado River 1978: [Day 1 - Utah] [Day 2 - Utah] [Day 3 - Marble Canyon] [Day 4 - Red Wall Cavern] [Day 5 - Little Colorado/Phantom Ranch] [Day 6 - Deer Creek] [Day 7 - Havasu Creek] [Day 8 - Lava Falls] [Day 9 - Diamond Creek] [Day 10 - Grand Canyon]

Bundlings.com: [Main] [Contact Us] [Events] [Family] [Fun] [Garden] [Misc.] [Photos] [Rett Syndrome] [Search] [Site Index] [Travel]

Copyright © Deborah Schilling/Thomas Bundy