Day 8 - Lava Falls
|Friday, July 21, 2006: It's nice to be a kid and have the ability to sleep while everyone is making noise all around you.
|Today we were going to run Lava Falls, so we filled our bellies with blueberry pancakes, fruit, and ham, and loaded the boat. Debbie supervised from shore while Stewart was charged with keeping her company.
|We were on the Silver Grotto this day. That's the Bright Angel pulling away from our camp behind us.
|Vulcan's Anvil is a mile marker of sorts -- it's one mile upstream from Lava Falls.
|It's a giant black monolith that looks great lit from the front ...
|... or from the back.
|At Lava Falls, the Silver Grotto passengers and crew hiked up to a vantage point in order to watch the Bright Angel go through first.
|Stewart was there, too, of course.
|Here's the Bright Angel starting her run.
|There she goes ...
|... and goes ...
|... and goes ...
|... and she's done.
|They pulled over to the left side of the river to watch the Silver Grotto go through next.
|Here we come!
|That's Debbie and Tom up front ...
|... and that's a big wave coming our way!
|It wasn't enough to just successfully run Lava Falls. Both boats powered their way back into the spray a couple of times to give us another few splashes.
|These photos were taken with our waterproof camera in the milder part of the rapid. Two strong handholds are required for the main part of the rapid. Take a look at those waves!
|It's a fun ride!
|Debbie and her brother, dad, and husband were the front four on the run through Lava Falls, which is as it should be. We are rapids-loving people.
|After a few more rides, it was time to say goodbye to Lava Falls.
|However, we weren't quite done yet, because there is a smaller rapid called Lower Lava Falls Rapid just a short distance downstream, and it splashed us pretty well too.
|More cool rock. Check out the unusual texture of the rock.
|What the heck is this? It's a peregrine falcon, not that you can tell from the photo.
|We took a short hike to see pictographs near Whitmore Wash. First, the trail went through some bushes ...
|... then up the hill.
|Everyone took their turn getting a good photo of the pictographs.
|Here's the view looking back to the boats which are hidden just below the foliage on the bank.
|Back at the boat, it was time to take a short break.
|Zach and Ann-Marie took turns practicing their balancing skills.
|l;;Ann-Marie is so good she can balance on one foot. That's the sort of skill that can develop only if you've been running the river since you were a little kid, which she has.
|Downriver a little farther, we stopped for lunch around Mile 198 at Parashant Wash.
|This was a campsite that Debbie remembers fondly from her 1978 trip. However, without the ability to walk, she sent Tom on a photographic mission to document the camp.
|Yes, this was the place.
|It's a little known fact that Debbie's dad can walk on water. Wait, maybe he's just balancing on a rock on a sand bar. Well, it's one of the two.
|Stewart skipped rocks with his Uncle Tom. It's a family tradition dating back to Waterton-Glacier National Park in 2004.
|Some of the women gathered in the river to cool off and to have a little chat. Those of us onshore dubbed it a "chattery."
|Debbie opted to soak her injured foot instead. It was quite convenient that we had a constant supply of icy cold river water available.
|At Mile 202, we passed the campsite where we stayed on the second-to-last night of our 1980 trip.
|Just above Mile 213, part of our group (the aforementioned serious hikers) got out and took a short hike.
|This hike took them across a five-foot chasm and down a hole formed in the rock.
|Here's the hole as seen by the hikers. This was a vertical tunnel through the rock that led to a ledge below.
|Bob threatens to jump as Connie prepares to catch him.
|Connie was joined by the rest of the hikers on the ledge.
|The rest of the short hike consisted of rocky flats leading to Pumpkin Springs.
|As the hikers reached Pumpkin Springs, they saw a giant millipede; the second of the trip.
|Meanwhile, the rest of us floated down the river on the boat past Pumpkin Spring and stopped at the beach just below it.
|Here's a view of Pumpkin Spring from above.
|Just beyond, the hikers and non-hikers alike were jumping into the river to cool off.
|Bill took this opportunity to show the kids how it's done.
|Debbie spent the entire time immersed in the water to beat the extreme heat. It was here that Tom's trusty thermometer finally gave out.
|Back on the water again, we had a few more miles to go before reaching camp.
|Our first choice for camp was taken, so we ended up at a nice campsite at Mile 221. We quick-chilled our beer in Debbie's bucket, to which Connie had added some leftover ice previously used to chill meat for dinners.
|Here's another funny little bug. It was nothing more than a little white puff, but we were told that it can sting so we left him and his little friends alone.
|The dinner circle formed right on the beach. The crew shared a passenger contact list with us and we passed it around and added email addresses.
|Bill was able to enjoy some quality time with his sons thanks to his business relationship with Stewart. He hired Stewart to wash his plate for him after each meal. It was a win-win situation all around.
|As the sun started to set, everyone gathered in the chair circle once again.
Connie, Ann-Marie, Robert, and Zach all had special parting words for us. It was a great way to spend the last evening of our trip together.
Copyright © Deborah Schilling/Thomas Bundy