Day 4 - Little Colorado
|Monday, July 17, 2006: After a breakfast of blueberry pancakes and sausage, we were back on the river. Traveling on the river is not just a series of rapids and beautiful scenery. There's plenty of time to socialize on the boat. Here are Jodi, Bev, Bob and Becky.
|Today, we were riding on the Bright Angel. Up front were the kids, Lee, Ray, and Bill.
|More lovely scenery. This shows a camp occupied by a science team studying the fish population in this area of the river.
|We approached the mouth of the Little Colorado River with great anticipation. What would the river look like? If there had been rains further upriver, the water might be too muddy and we wouldn't be able to stop.
|Although the water wasn't the normal turquoise color we had seen on two previous visits, the decision was made that it was safe enough to stay and play.
|Here comes Zach with the Silver Grotto gang.
|We got out, refilled our water bottles, and packed to make the hike up the Little Colorado for a day of fun. Even the non-hikers went because it was a fairly simple hike with a big payoff.
|The Tapeats sandstone created natural ledges beside the river which were fun to walk along.
|Huh? Looks like the U.S. Department of the Interior got here before us. It's always cool to see a geological survey bench mark, no matter where we spot them.
|Here is Ben Beamer's cabin, which was constructed in the 1890s. It is on the south bank of the Little Colorado River.
|On we hiked in the blazing sun. How hot was it?
|Over 110 degrees, according to Tom's trusty thermometer. This poor little thermometer eventually hit 120 degrees one day and broke, registering 120 degrees for the rest of the trip.
|We got to the highlight of our trip -- a place on the river where we could float through some rocks and down river a bit. Connie showed us how to put on our life preservers upside down to help us float.
|This photo shows part of the run. Is that Susan barely visible in the waves?
|Tom took his turn and was mightily pleased.
|Bob and Becky went down together, but Bob came back for at least seven turns.
|It was a lot of fun and we took our turns as patiently as we could.
|Here are Patrick, Spencer, and Billy ...
|... followed by Kelsey and Jill.
|Doug went flying by, modeling his fine river shoes.
|Debbie loved it too.
|Our next destination was Jump Rock, another half mile or so up the river. We stopped along the way to taste the mesquite flavor found in the seed pods of the mesquite tree.
|Once at Jump Rock, Connie gave a safety briefing.
|Brian proved to be the King of the Cannonball.
|Here's Jill ...
|... followed by her Uncle Doug jumping as Grandpa emerged from the water.
|Billy, Patrick, and Spencer were next.
|This, too, was a popular activity, so there was always a line of jumpers queued up.
|Here's Doug ...
|... and Jill ...
|... and Patrick ...
|... and Kelsey ...
|... and Jill (again) ...
|... and Spencer ...
|... and Jill (again!).
|Maybe Brian isn't King of the Cannonball after all.
|Stewart opted not to jump but did enjoy the view from the rock. Here he is making the difficult descent back down.
|Speaking of the view from the rock, here it is.
|When we had jumped enough, we hiked back to meet the rest of the group. Here's a shot of the travertine ridges that form to make terraces along the water. Cool, huh? Many of us opted to float back down the entire length of the river to return to the boat rather than hike. It was very fun but not conducive to documentation by digital camera, so you'll just have to imagine what it looked like.
|As we were leaving, other groups had arrived to enjoy the Little Colorado playground. Goodbye, LCR!
|We stopped just downstream at Mile 62 for lunch. This camp had almost no shade when we arrived, but it quickly became shady as the sun moved behind the cliffs. Lunch was set up next to the beach, and we enjoyed several hours here.
|Jill, Billy, Stewart, Spencer, and Patrick spent some time in the shade when they weren't playing in the water.
|So did Debbie's men -- her dad, husband, and brother.
|Robert showed us a very large and very dead bug. Ewww.
|Lunch each day featured a choice of meats, such as pastrami, roast beef, turkey, chicken breast, and tuna salad, plus a variety of breads, condiments, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, sprouts, chips, crackers, snacks, and cookies. We never went hungry.
|Smack in the middle of camp was this lovely skeleton. After we determined that it wasn't human, we tried to guess what it might be. Lizard? Goat? We never did figure it out.
|Some of us took the opportunity to snooze a bit in the shade.
|With naptime over, we got back on the river.
|In no time, we caught up with the dory trip again.
|Here's a closeup. We were finally able to determine that it is the boatmen who do the rowing, not the passengers. Whew!
|Look closely at the far rim in this photo. Right in the middle you can see the Desert View Watchtower on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. At that very moment, Grand Canyon visitors were probably putting their quarters in the telescope viewers and seeing us on the river. How exciting! By the way, here's the view of the river from the watchtower.
|At Mile 70 1/2, we took a short hike to see some petroglyphs. Of course, the kids got there first.
|While we waited our turn to look at the petroglyphs up close, we admired the view of the river. This would be the last wide open area for several days since we'd be entering Upper Granite Gorge soon. A National Park Service boat crew floated past. Just downstream and across the river was the campsite at Cardenas Creek where we stayed in 1980.
|Here are the petroglyphs near the top of a small hill.
|We headed back to the boat where we took advantage of the cooling effects of a dunk in the river.
|Our camp was not far downriver at Mile 72.5 just above Unkar Rapid. As was our nightly tradition, the elder Schillings enjoyed cocktail hour as the younger Schillings came and went. Conversation usually centered on the day's highlights.
|Stewart was determined to catch a lizard.
|By dinnertime each night, most of the chairs were formed into a circle for socializing. Plates of cheese, sardines, and crackers were passed around for appetizers.
|Our able boatmen, Connie and Ann-Marie, took a quick break from cooking dinner to enjoy the river view.
|Debbie demonstrated the proper pre-dinner and post-Groover hand-washing technique. It involved applying soap then using your foot to press a rubber bulb in the water line, which pulled water from the clean water bucket and squirted it out into the dirty water bucket. The water in the clean water bucket is river water that has been chemically treated.
|Dinner that evening was pork chops, applesauce, baked beans, and cornbread, followed by carrot cake for dessert.
We could see rain in the distance and it struck at bedtime. Although it turned campsites into a wet, sandy mess, the rain was short-lived and it cooled down the temperatures considerably. The lightning was cool to see, too.
Copyright © Deborah Schilling/Thomas Bundy