Colorado River 1978:
Day 8 - Lava Falls


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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]

Saturday, August 19, 1978: Morning comes early in the canyon. Here are Barbie and Other Debbie with their morning coffee. This is one of several photos that their group sent us after the trip.
Here's the view from our campsite looking upstream, ...
... and looking downstream.

On the river again, we had to change the motor on our boat twice (while on the water). Here's our boat just below Gateway Rapid at Mile 171.5.

Vulcan's Anvil is about a mile north of Lava Falls. We had whispered about Lava Falls among ourselves for days – I think we all envisioned a huge waterfall with giant boulders sticking out. It turned out to be a large rapid – a bit bigger than most, but nothing that we and our trusty crew couldn't handle.
We arrived at Lava Falls just past Mile 179 and hiked up the hill to look at the terror we were about to run.
It was really hot out and the heat was made worse by the abundance of black lava rock all around.
Here are Bob and Hoss, surveying the situation.

The first boat went through – no problems there. For safety on this particular rapid, we all had to remain seated in the boat with our backs to the center.

Our boat went next. The ride was OK, but less exciting than we expected.
There were no problems – or so we thought.
What we found out later was that our motor had gone out in the beginning of the run, ...
... and Tony had been seen from shore frantically trying to get the motor going again.
We made it!

At the bottom of the rapids, the two boats were tied to shore and we discussed our experiences. I watched the traffic across the river.

As John the river runner had said, Western's boats had stopped before Lava Falls and a number of helicopters were flying into the canyon to pick up Western's passengers. The passengers had already disappeared up the hill to the helicopter pad, but I could still see the crew across the river dismantling the boats. I recognized John's cap from a distance and that was the last I saw of him.

Here's my mom around Mile 182, ...

... and here are Hoss and Janet around Mile 183. We stopped along the river in the afternoon for a few minutes. A former Sanderson trip had only Boy Scouts as passengers, and they drank little beer. The quick-thinking pilots had buried some of the beer in the sand on the river bank. Our boats stopped there and quickly found the stashed beer, to the great delight and cheers of the passengers.

Camp was around Mile 198 at Parashont Wash, a spacious, sandy area with a dry creek bed and a small canyon. We ate lunch here during our 2006 trip. Before dinner, the activities included can smashing and helping Byron make hand-cranked ice cream. Dinner was steak and spiked punch, since it was our last night on the river, then it was time for our last night festivities. All of the passengers and crew gathered in the middle of the camp. We sang campfire songs, the crew told a few ghost stories, and then they put on a skit featuring "Sandemo."  That night, we experienced our first and only rain, in the form of a thunderstorm. We pulled our tarps over our heads and weathered it just fine.

Day 9 >


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]

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