Day 9 - Hoover Dam
|Friday, July 21, 2006: The previous night had brought brief rain and blowing sand right at bedtime again. Our sleeping bags and tarps were a sandy mess, but by this point, we had learned to sleep under any conditions. Tom took comfort in knowing that the next bed he slept in would be sand-free.
|The rain was gone and the sunrise peeked over the canyon walls. We had a simple breakfast of cereal, bagels, yogurt and fruit so we could get on the river quickly.
|We made record time in cleaning up camp and were on the river by 7:00 AM. Zach faithfully performed rope duties as he had many times before.
|The kids were still inseparable on the last morning of the trip.
|Robert was the last one on shore as we left camp.
|The canyon was still quite shady and pleasant this early.
|Diamond Peak is a distinctive landmark in the distance. The top of the peak is the same elevation as Lee's Ferry, which gives you some idea how far we had dropped as we ran the river. Here's how it looked in 1978.
|This is Diamond Creek, where some river trips terminate. Our 1978 trip terminated here.
|Here's the view looking back up Diamond Creek.
|Travertine Falls is not a typical waterfall. It is made up almost entirely of travertine deposits left by the trickling water. It's quite a geological marvel.
|Connie is such an amazing boatman that she can drive the boat with her foot.
|Stewart got in one last game of Rock Paper Scissors with Uncle Tom before the end of the trip.
|We arrived at Separation Canyon where our speedboat was waiting for us.
|Captain Joe gave us safety instructions for our trip along the forty miles of river remaining.
|We were very sad to say goodbye to Ann-Marie, Robert, ...
|... Connie, and Zach, and we were grateful for their excellent guidance.
|We were packed in and ready to go, when a miracle happened ...
|... a big bag of snacks appeared out of nowhere and we set on them like we hadn't eaten in weeks.
|Doug took a video of everyone chewing before we departed.
|Soon enough, we were moving! We had an hour and a half of highspeed travel ahead of us.
|We did make a couple of stops. First, we picked up some passengers from another boat trip ...
|... then we stopped to see the Bat Cave at Mile 266. This giant cave is very deep and filled with bat guano. There was actually a guano mining operation here years ago. Nasty.
|The terrain was quickly flattening as we moved out of the canyon and into the Lake Mead area.
|We made one final stop to see a family of Bighorn sheep. Check out the massive horns on the male in the lower left.
|The kids started to doze as we got further into Lake Mead.
|We were a little early for our meeting with our bus back to Las Vegas, so we pulled up to a beach and were treated to a quick swim in Lake Mead.
|The water was warm and calm, and it was a lot of fun. However, we question the wisdom of taking a dip in a lake moments before a three-hour trip on a bus!
|Back in the speedboat, we approached South Cove, where we transferred all of our belongings into clear plastic bags (a Hoover Dam safety requirement) and boarded the bus.
|Here's the view looking back to South Cove and Lake Mead. We took a photo from nearly the same spot when we returned in 2018.
|Our trip coordinator, Kinson, was waiting for us at South Cove and accompanied us back to Las Vegas.
|He passed out sandwiches, chips, bottled water, and apples. We took a photo of the sandwich, but realized later that we should have photographed the napkins instead -- the first we had seen in eight days.
|The trip back took us past acres of Joshua trees.
|We stopped at a small store in Dolan Springs along the way, where we eagerly snapped up candy bars and sodas.
|The decor was unusual, to say the least.
|It's not often that you get to see an oversized metal lizard, so naturally, we had to photograph it.
|We joined the traffic jam at Hoover Dam, but got through it fairly quickly.
|This was also our last look at the Colorado River.
|Back at the hotel in Las Vegas, showers were had and goodbyes were said. We loaned out our hotel rooms to fellow passengers who had flights out that evening and could really use a shower. We hung out in the hotel lounge area in the meantime.
|Fresh and clean, the kids gathered once more to hang out.
|Debbie's wounded foot from Havasu wasn't looking so good, but at least the swelling had gone down after two days.
|A quick trip to a CVS provided the crutches she'd need to get through the airport the next day.
And what became of the Eight Who Dared? We had a terrific dinner at P. F. Chang's and declared it the Best River Trip Ever.
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Copyright © Deborah Schilling/Thomas Bundy