Colorado River 2022:
Day 4 - Redwall Cavern


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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]

Sunday, June 26, 2022: After waking up at 5:15 AM to the sounds of "Hot Coffee!", we all had some time to get ready for the day before breakfast was served 40 minutes later. This morning's menu was scrambled eggs, bacon, English muffins, melon, and pineapple.
We spotted some very large cat prints going up the sand hill ...
... and leading right toward our camp. Spooky.
We had everything loaded aboard the boats and were leaving camp before 8:00 AM.
We approached 23 Mile Rapid in the shade, ...
... and ditto for 23.5 Mile Rapid.
Debbie and Daniel didn't mind though. Both of them were on their fourth trip, having taken their first trips when they were teenagers, so they were each in love with the river.
Craig got up to announce a new rock layer. Going back to the mnemonic, "Know The Canyon History; Study Rocks Made By Time," we had already passed Supai Formation and were now seeing Redwall Limestone appear.
Near Georgie Rapid, Craig got into position to do a river rescue.
A floating cushion was successfully retrieved.
Here's the top of Hansbrough-Richards Rapid at mile 25. That beach marks the first night campsite of Debbie's 1978 trip.
Here's Cave Springs Rapid, ...
... and a drenched camera and boat afterward.
Cool caves in the rocks.
We started in the shade for Tiger Wash Rapid, ...
... then got a few seconds of glorious sun, ...
... then were back in the shade again. Zach told us that the rapid was named for the place where the Ancient Puebloans (Anasazi) would bring their tigers to be washed. It must be true.
Here's Jill ready to take on Fence Fault Rapid.
We passed a large heron's nest on the cliffs.
Here's Debbie demonstrating her technique for filling up a water bottle from the water cooler.
Ducks!
At mile 31.8 was Debbie's first night camp on her 1980 trip.
Just downstream at mile 32 is Stanton's Cave. This is just a short walk from the campsite, and in 1980, some passengers did just that.
There it is. The cave itself is barred up to preserve the cave and its contents.
Right next door is Vasey's Paradise.
Zach noted that it had probably changed a lot since we were here in 2006, because the streams that keep this area lush have dried up somewhat, and he was right.
From here, we couldn't quite see the attraction around the corner.
(No, it isn't this bighorn sheep.)
It's beautiful Redwall Cavern, a must-stop for every river trip.
Craig and Siobhan got us tied up then there were hugs all around between Siobhan and some of the river runners who were already there and knew her from her river days.
The cave is huge, much larger than it appears at first.
We walked all the way to the back ...
... where the wall meets the sand floor.
Thick spider webs hang off the ceiling like peeling wallpaper.
Here's the view from the very back.
There was plenty of room for a game of Frisbee with no one else in the way.
Being protected from rain by the cave ceiling, the only thing that disturbs human footprints are small animal footprints and vice versa.
Jill and Jared found some tiny canyon mouse tracks. Here's Jared's finger for scale.
Marty got this cool photo of the outside of the cave with boats docked in front.
After a half hour, it was time to go.
Back onboard, snacks were passed around. We always had the options of apples, oranges, Pringles, trail mix, cookies, and candy, and we never passed up an opportunity to eat several different things.
Check out that green spot on the canyon wall.
When you get close, you can hear the small waterfall behind it. Mineral deposits have built up over the years, forming the stone veil over the spring.
At mile 35.1, we saw huge crystals in the rock. This formation was probably five feet across.
More crystals ...
... and more.
More lushness caused by water seeping through the canyon walls.
Very cool rock towers at mile 35.5, ...
... followed by the Bridge of Sighs at mile 36, named after the bridge in Venice.
Here's 36 Mile Rapid.
At 11:00 AM, we arrived at the Marble Canyon Dam site at mile 39.7.
There were some cool plants on the beach. This sacred datura plant had spiky seed pods hiding under its leaves.
These are seed pods from a mesquite bush.
After a very short hike, we arrived at a man-made cave where site investigations were performed for the abandoned Marble Canyon Dam project in the 1940s.
Remnants from the work done here still exist.
Zach gave us some information about the project before setting us loose on the cave.
Let's go explore!
We were at the front of the line, with Jill and Jared behind us. Tom spotted the first of many drill holes in the wall ...
... with codes written in marker still clearly visible.
We went further ...
... until we decided that we had seen enough and let others past us.
While Jill and Jared continued deeper into the cave, ...
... we were back outside ...
... checking out the mud dauber nests on the rock ...
... and the view of the boats below.
Here's a look at the trail.
While waiting for lunch to be ready, we played in the water.
Lunch consisted of wraps containing chicken salad (and a vegetarian option in the bowl next to it), plus the usual assortment of condiments, potato chips, nuts, prunes, bread, and sandwich toppings. Zach encouraged us to try the herring and smoked oysters with hot sauce on crackers, which were surprisingly good. The wraps were especially delicious.
By 12:30 PM, we were ready to run some more river.
A few minutes later, the river gods gifted us with a floating beer which Jared scooped out of the river.
This gorgeous display is called the Royal Arches at mile 41.7.
At mile 43, Zach pointed out something high in the cliff walls.
It was an Ancestral Puebloan (formerly Anasazi) footbridge. Weather should have worn it down by now, but the rock overhang and dry weather have preserved it nearly intact for hundreds of years. Zach, always a source of completely true facts, told us: "The Anasazi rode their tigers over the bridge and down to the river."
We went backwards through President Harding Rapid, which was great fun.
We spotted a mule deer at mile 46.5.
We passed Lower Saddle campsite at mile 47.6 and noted that they were sitting in the water to keep cool. Brilliant!
Siobhan came around with Tootsie Roll Pops, which have always been Debbie's river trip candy of choice, dating back to her first river trip in 1978 where these were a featured snack
Debbie always chooses a red one.
We got to camp earlier than normal (at 2:00 PM) so we'd have time to go hiking here. Debbie had asked Zach if we could camp at at one of the three Nankoweap campsites since she missed her chance to hike up to the granaries when we stayed at Main Nankoweap campsite in 2006. Zach had been asking other guides where they planned to stay and guessed (correctly) that Upper Nankoweap campsite would be the only option for us.
It was a nice, large campsite and we immediately spread out and picked our spots.
We opted for a spot on a small hill where there were almost no fire ants. Tracey and Tara took a similar spot to our right. Jill and Jared found a spot far off in the trees that had private beach access.
At 3:15 PM, Brendyce led us on the hike up to Nankoweap. The only downside to this campsite is that it would add another 45 minutes of hiking to the trip.
Twenty minutes in and that cliffside up there still looks very far away.
Twenty five minutes in, we reached an area on a plateau where the Ancestral Puebloans used to live.
Brendyce told us about the history ...
... and pointed out some artifacts.
Here's the view of the river.
More hiking ...
... with a brief stop to look at a giant millipede. That's Debbie's sandal for scale.
Thirty five minutes in, we could see the Main Nankoweap campsite where we stayed in 2006. It's visible in the sunny area in the center of this photo.
At the 40 minute mark, the trail started to get significantly steeper and this is where Debbie called it quits. We found a nice spot to sit and enjoy the view, while the other hikers continued to the top. When Craig passed us, he asked how we were doing and Debbie asked if he had any snacks, since the snack carriers (Brendyce and Alex) were ahead of us and wouldn't be handing them out until they got to the top. Craig flagged down Alex and brought some snacks back for us.
Fifty minutes in, the other hikers were starting to arrive at the granaries.
We could barely see them in the distance, ...
... but our camera's 40x zoom didn't fail us. Groups of hikers were getting their picture taken in front of one of the most iconic Colorado River/Grand Canyon scenes, ...
... and here is Jill and Jared's pose.
They got lots of pictures to share once they reached the Ancestral Puebloans granaries.
But first, selfies and snacks.
Meanwhile, back at our vantage point, we had been enjoying snacks and conversation with Craig when a sandstorm came through briefly.
It was so cool to see the sand making the air cloudy as it raced through the canyon.
Back up top, the other hikers had started back down, so Jill got her picture by the granaries, ...
... as did Jared.
Just after taking one last picture up there, ...
... Debbie got this picture of them turned around and starting their hike back down.
Pretty cactus bloom. We later learned that Jill had gotten a palmful of cactus spikes in her hand during a fall on the hike. Ouch!
It was close to 4:30 PM when we decided to head back with Craig helping to navigate. Dann joined us for a while before moving ahead.
Other hikers started to overtake us on our walk back.
Cool cactus.
Our return trip only took a half hour, but we were really glad to see camp.
An appetizer of bread and oil dip was waiting for us.
Debbie did some relaxing on her cot for a little while.
Soon, it was time for beers with Jill and Jared. Cheers!
With rain clouds passing nearby from time to time, we needed to be prepared to pitch a tent if needed. Craig gave a demonstration with Cheri's help. Fortunately, we didn't get any rain during the night.
Here's a picture of Jill and Jared's fantastic campsite. We had assumed that we'd be camping near each other every night, but that proved to be true only twice.
A rainbow appeared for a while over the canyon walls downstream.
There was another round of beers with J&J with Debbie mostly abstaining once again due to hiking exhaustion and an abundance of caution.
Even after hiking all the way up to the granaries, these two still looked fresh.
By now, the rainbow had shifted and gotten brighter.
Our campsite was temporarily turned into a superhighway of people walking up the hill to get a better view of it.
At 7:15 PM, dinner was served: grilled halibut with sauce, rice pilaf, bean and corn salad, and grilled asparagus.
Soon, it was time to call it a night and get ready for bed.
Brendyce spotted this woodhouse toad as we were at the river's edge, brushing our teeth. Sorry that we had to use the flash to photograph you, dude.

We were lying on our cots by 8:25 PM, waiting for the stars to come out, which they did. With a new moon scheduled for the middle of our trip, we had the darkest possible skies. We were also lucky to have clear skies most nights, so we got to see the Milky Way every night but one.

Day 5 >


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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