Colorado River 2022:
Day 3 - Marble Canyon


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Colorado River 2022: [Day 1 - Grand Canyon] [Day 2 - Grand Canyon West] [Day 3 - Marble Canyon] [Day 4 - Redwall Cavern] [Day 5 - Little Colorado] [Day 6 - Big Rapids] [Day 7 - Deer Creek] [Day 8 - Matkatamiba Canyon] [Day 9 - Lava Falls] [Day 10 - Las Vegas] [Day 11 - Heading Home]

Saturday, June 25, 2022: We were in the lobby with our luggage stored by 4:30 AM.
Twenty five minutes later, everyone was onboard ...
... and we were on the Las Vegas strip before 5:00 AM.
Good morning, sunshine!
Jill snuck photos of herself and Jared, ...
... and of us, right across the aisle from her. Sneaky.
Here's some last Nevada scenery ...
... before heading into Arizona.
We love this entrance through the Narrows of the Virgin River Gorge.
We suggested that Jill and Jared sit on the right side of the coach so they could enjoy the scenery that we knew was on that side.
We left Arizona and entered Utah, arriving in St. George by 6:45 AM.
We had a half-hour stop at Walmart for bathroom breaks ...
... and other needed purchases.
Our route took us up the hills ...
... and past the turnoff to Toroweap Overlook, where we had been last November.
In Fredonia, we stopped briefly to pick up Alex, one of the swampers (assistant boatmen) on our trip. For the rest of the coach ride, this amazing woman worked her way through the bus, meeting each of the passengers and learning all of our names.
In the distance, we could see small rainstorms on the horizon, just like we had seen two days earlier. Is this foreshadowing? Perhaps.
We climbed up the Kaibab Plateau. From here, the Grand Staircase was visible in all its colorful glory.
We passed the parking lot of the overlook that explained all the rock layers involved in the Grand Staircase. We had been at this overlook twice the previous year but this time, we just flew on past.
We rolled into the Jacob Lake Inn parking lot right at 9:00 AM.
We used the rest rooms, perused the cookie case, ...
... and joined Jared in deciding that yeah, maybe we did need to buy another 12-pack each, since they had Grand Canyon Brewing samplers available.
So we bought just the essentials: cookies and beer.
In direct contrast to previous visits, we only bought one peanut butter cookie each. We knew that we would not be underfed for the next week.
We descended from the forested Kaibab Plateau to the Vermilion Cliffs area. This view after emerging from the forest never fails to impress.
We passed the Marble Canyon Trading Post without stopping, ...
... and turned left at the Lees Ferry sign.
We also didn't stop at the Navajo Bridges but we'd see them again three hours later.
There's Balanced Rock.
We were at the Lees Ferry boat ramp at 10:10 AM. Captain Zach, swamper Craig, and Captain Brendyce headed to the coach to welcome us. We told Zach that he had been a swamper on our trip in 2006 and we were excited to ride with him again.
This was our last chance to use a real bathroom for the next seven days so many of us took advantage of it.
We brought our gear to the boat to be loaded, ...
... then had a little downtime while the crew fastened everything into place.
Captain Zach gave us an orientation and introduced the crew to us, which also include swamper Siobhan. She was a volunteer with a long history of river running experience, and she was able to bring her husband Craig at the last minute when our trip had one opening, so he got a free trip in exchange for labor as well.
This place is beautiful. We were very glad we had spent so much time here last year since we wouldn't have time on this visit.
Exactly an hour after arriving, we were in our life jackets on the boat pulling away from the landing. We chose to go on Captain Zach's boat, the Boucher.
Let's run some river!
Lees Ferry is considered Mile 0 of the Colorado River through Grand Canyon, so we just had 280 left to go.
In addition to a solo traveler from the UK, our fellow passengers consisted of multi-generational families: our four, the family we met the day before, a mother-daughter pair, a family of six, plus a family of nine on our boat, all of whom sat in the front of the boat, so we sat in the chicken coop.
At mile 1, we encountered our first whitewater of the trip: the Paria Riffle.
Twice last year, we had sat on Paria Beach, wishing we could be running the river, and here we were, finally. We waved at all the people on the beach and realized how smart we had been to visit in March and November when the crowds were gone.
Our first rapid came at mile 2.7. Here is Cathedral Wash where Debbie had lunch the first day of her very first trip in 1978.
We saw our first pair of ducks and great blue heron of the trip.
We stopped for lunch at mile 3.1.
Debbie decided to be the first one to take a dip in the river to cool off. She turned right around because that river was cold!
So, she wrung out her shirt while her daughter snapped a photo of her.
While the crew set up the lunch buffet, the passengers looked around the beach ...
... and explored the canyon cliffs.
The water was so clear that we could see the trout in the river swimming around us.
Lunch is served! Today was a sandwich buffet, featuring four different types of bread (Oroweat brand dark rye, oatnut, 12 grains, healthy multi-grain, white), deli meats (turkey, roast beef), cheese (cheddar, pepper jack), veggies (lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes, carrots, red onions, olives, pickles, banana peppers), condiments (mayo, mustard, dark mustard, horseradish, sandwich spread), prunes, cashews, Pringles (regular, cheddar cheese), cookies (Chips Ahoy, Cashew Sandies), sandwich spreads (peanut butter, jelly, honey), plus herring and smoked oysters and hot sauce, a GCE tradition.
Just before leaving, Captain Brendyce gave the women a tutorial on peeing in the river by simply facing toward the beach where the people are. "Face your danger" was a phrase the women repeated the first few days as we got used to squatting over the river right in front of everyone else. The other phrase that stuck with us was, "Privacy isn't found, it is given," meaning that if you see someone peeing in the river, just look away to give them privacy.
Around the corner, we spotted the Navajo Bridges at mile 4.5.
We photographed every section of both bridges, looking for California condors, but there weren't any at the moment.
They sure are cool to see anyway.
Here's one last look back at the bridges.
The water being released from Glen Canyon Dam is very clear, because the silt normally in the water sinks to the bottom of Lake Powell. This section of the river was so shallow that we could see the bottom.
The chicken coop gets less breeze and much less splashing from rapids than the front of the boat, so Zach gave us his "best bucket," Dunkin. We used Dunkin to grab cold river water and dunk our hats, our sarongs, or even ourselves to cool off.
Debbie brought her Hawaiian pareu and cooling cloths, and both of them were great at keeping her comfortable.
Here we are approaching Badger Creek Rapid around mile 8.
We watched Captain Brendyce's boat, the Awatubi, run it.
There they go!
Assistant swamper Craig gave us regular updates on the rock layers that were revealed as we traveled deeper into the canyon. Each time a new rock layer appeared, he'd repeat the mnemonic, "Know The Canyon History; Study Rocks Made By Time." At this point, we had already seen Kaibab Limestone, Toroweap Formation, and Coconino Sandstone. Now, the Hermit Shale was starting to appear.
At mile 10, we passed the appropriately-named Ten Mile Rock.
Debbie asked Craig about one of her Sanderson guides, and they chatted for a while about guides they knew in common.
The second sarong we bought the night before became community property among the four of us. Each sarong/pareu was large enough for a couple to share and they provided excellent sun protection on a sunny afternoon.
Above Soap Creek Rapid, Zach gave us some more information about what was ahead.
Here's Soap Creek Rapid.
We saw our first family of bighorn sheep, or as Zach called them, "Grand Canyon Curly Horned Deer."
We never tired of seeing them.
This is 13 Mile Rapid.
This great blue heron was hiding in the shade of a rock.
These slanted layers of rock over smooth water are beautiful.
This canyon is filled with so many different types of beautiful rock.
Here's Sheer Wall Rapid at mile 14.6.
Around mile 19, we floated for a while while Zach gave us some information about camp procedures.
This is the campsite where we stayed on the first night of our 2006 trip.
Another group was camped at Upper North Canyon campsite where we visited on the second morning of our 2006 trip.
Here's North Canyon Rapid.
We stopped for the evening at 22 Mile campsite. It has a wide flat beach with a very large sand hill.
We quickly selected some spots at the top of the hill which provided us some privacy plus plenty of exercise hiking up and down the hill.
It took some time to figure them out on the first night, but it was well worth the effort to put together the cots. We hadn't had cots on our GCE trip in 2006 and these were a huge improvement over sleeping on the ground.
After setting up ours, Tom went to Marabeth's site lower down on the hill to show her how to set hers up.
The five kids on the trip were cousins, and they built an elaborate display of sticks and rocks on the top of the sand hill.
Our first official social circle formed on the beach and we all got to know each other better.
Zach joined us for a while ...
... before returning to his dinner-cooking duties.
We had set up a little Bundlings social area on top of our sand hill with all four cots then abandoned it when we chose to have cocktails in the social circle down on the beach.
Tara brought a fishing pole and was in the water fishing every chance she got. She caught this beauty and showed it off before releasing it.
While the toilet wasn't being used, we went on a fact-finding mission to see it. A short walk through the trees on the edge of camp ...
... brought us to this lovely setting. The red bucket is for peeing in if needed prior to using the big metal box (called "The Groover") for ... uh ... solid waste. The red bucket was another innovation new to us and it was really handy after being in camp a while and not wanting to get into the river to pee. TMI, sure, but there you go.
Our first night's dinner was a crowd-pleasing menu of spaghetti with either veggie or meat sauce, grilled garlic bread, and tossed salad.
We ate ours up at our private little camp, ...
... then we went exploring a bit ...
... to see the view of the river over the hill from our camp.
This vantage point offered a great view of our camp too.
Back in camp, Tom pointed out a very nerdy rock formation to fellow nerd Jared. See it over there? No?
Well, how about if we zoom in some more? Tom thought it looked like Iron Man.
With scattered rain clouds around, a rainbow appeared over the cliffs high above us.
Dessert was pound cake topped with whipped cream and blueberry pie filling.
Once the sun goes down, it gets dark quickly, so it was time to get ready for bed around 8:00 PM. Debbie tried her pStyle peeing device and found it inadequate, so this was her first and last time peeing standing up in the river.

Good night, Jill and Jared!

Day 4 >


Colorado River 2022: [Day 1 - Grand Canyon] [Day 2 - Grand Canyon West] [Day 3 - Marble Canyon] [Day 4 - Redwall Cavern] [Day 5 - Little Colorado] [Day 6 - Big Rapids] [Day 7 - Deer Creek] [Day 8 - Matkatamiba Canyon] [Day 9 - Lava Falls] [Day 10 - Las Vegas] [Day 11 - Heading Home]

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