Colorado River 2022:
Day 6 - Big Rapids


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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]

Tuesday, June 28, 2022: We woke up to find that the muddy water had caught up with us once again.
Breakfast was a build-your-own Eggs Benedict with English muffins, poached eggs, ham slices, and Hollandaise sauce, plus the usual melon-and-pineapple combo.
After chatting with Jill and Jared, we headed over to see their campsite ...
... which was perfectly located right at the water's edge.
Then we headed back for a short walk into Trinity Creek canyon ...
... to see the beautiful rock walls ...
... and the adorable lizards everywhere.
Giant stripes in rocks are so cool.
After our walk, Debbie waited in line for the groover with Jill and Craig, who graciously dramatized the all-important handing off of the toilet paper to the next person in line.
Here's the groover ...
... and here is today's lovely river view from the groover.
One of the brothers opened an early morning beer and their sister-in-law took a swig.
Before leaving camp, Brendyce read us a story from "There's This River...", a book that we got Jill for her birthday earlier this year.
We were ready to go just as the sun was hitting our beach.
Although we had hit some of the big rapids the day before, we had a day full of big rapids ahead of us. We started with Granite Rapid, which is rated 8-9 on the Grand Canyon's 10-point scale with an 18' drop.
Here's the look back at Hermit Rapid which is also rated 8-9. Like Granite Rapid, Hermit is often used as a photography rapid where one boat's passengers wait on shore to photograph the other boat going through. Unfortunately, we didn't do that on this trip and Boucher always went through rapids first, so we don't have any photographs of our boat going through a rapid.
Instead, please enjoy this photo of Awatubi passengers having some fun in Hermit.
We passed a group of wooden dories, a classic but less common method of running the river these days.
We approached Boucher Rapid, another rapid that we've used as a photo shoot rapid in the past.
Before getting to Crystal Rapid, Zach told us about how big Crystal was in 1983. Daniel and Debbie were both surprised to find that we didn't stop to scout the rapid before running it - something that we had each done on our previous three trips.
Crystal Rapid is a full 10 out of 10 on the difficulty scale but both boats ran it with no difficulty. We didn't see the famous hole that Crystal is known for but that's probably for the best.
Seven miles down the river, we approached Ruby Rapid, one of the Gems (including Agate, Sapphire, Turquoise, Emerald, Serpentine). We had outrun the muddy water once again so the river was back to its pretty green.
Speaking of pretty, look at these pink granite stripes in the rock.
Jared's just chillin'.
At mile 108, we took a quick pit stop near Bass Canyon.
Just downstream is an old boat up on the rocks. Let's zoom in.
The boat is named the Ross Wheeler. It's a steel boat abandoned by film maker Charles Russell in 1915. The boat was designed by Bert Loper and named after local steamboat pilot Roswell "Ross" Wheeler.
Around 10:30 AM, we stopped at Shinumo Creek, where we had visited in 2006 and Debbie had visited in 1980. We had to wait a minute or two for the previous visitors' boats to clear the small beach.
It's an easy hike over a small hill ...
... and through a warm creek bed.
Two minutes later, even if you stop to check out the creatures in the water, ...
... you reach a shady pool ...
... with a waterfall you can walk behind.
Debbie went straight to the waterfall for a good drenching.
So refreshing!
Jared and Jill posed for a photo in front of it. Around the corner on the right ...
... Shauna was posing for a photo under another section of the waterfall.
Here it is. If you go through the waterfall, ...
... it leads to the back of the main waterfall. Off goes Jill, ...
... followed by Jared.
Tom had his moment under the waterfall.
Daniel took a photo of his sister's family in front of the waterfall.
The creek was a great place for doing some relaxing, with shade or sun and plenty of water.
Here are Marty and Shauna, ...
... Dan and Alex, ...
... and swamper Siobhan.
Jill and Jared spotted something on the wall. See it right in the middle of this photo? No? Let's get closer.
This thing was at least 4 - 5 inches long. It's an adult dobsonfly; in its larval form, it is called a helgrammite. We later learned that it was rare to see one out of water. Adults are nocturnal, and only live for about a week. This is a female due to the short mandibles. Male mandibles are almost as long as its body.
Debbie always looks for tadpoles in this creek and she always finds them.
This one was a little bit bigger than the others but still didn't have any legs yet.
Brendyce identified this substantial dude as a chuckwalla.
He was thicker and larger than this northern tree lizard.
There were some minnows in another part of the creek.
This female wolf spider was about to do her best to make lots more spiders.
This dragonfly stopped long enough for several attempts to take a picture in focus.
After a half hour stop, we were ready to go again.
This is around mile 112 between Hakatai Rapid and Walthenberg Canyon.
The walls here feature striking pink Zoroaster Granite and pictures just can't do it justice.
But we tried.
We stopped for lunch at Walthenberg Canyon.
While the crew set up lunch, some of us walked back into the canyon to check it out.
The Zoroaster Granite was looking amazing ...
... but these sparkly rocks scattered along the canyon were the stars of the show.
At the end of a short walk, the canyon jumps up six feet or so. Daniel decided to climb up to explore more ...
... and here he is.
Meanwhile, some of his family and his sister's family were relaxing in the shade.
Steve and two of his sons had a great spot in the river, ...
... as did Tara, Tracey, and Brooke.
Soon, lunch was ready.
It's wrap day again! We had a different style of chicken salad wraps, and these were so delicious (of course, Debbie avoided all of the olives when filling hers).
What's this? Mother's Circus Animal cookies?
Debbie had first tried these on her very first river trip. From then on, she always associated these with river trips. In fact, she had brought along several snack-size bags of this treat, not realizing that she'd get the real thing. That's happiness right there, my friends.
Here's a typical scene around the boats before loading.
We were moved to the chicken coop in the back for the afternoon. Every morning, the kids wanted to sit here to avoid getting splashed when it is cold running rapids in the shade, then they wanted to move up front in the afternoon to get splashed when it is hot, and every morning, a fellow passenger explained this to us as though we wouldn't prefer to be splashed in the afternoon instead of the morning too.
At mile 115, we passed Upper Garnet campsite where Debbie camped on her third night in 1980.
A few minutes later, we spotted this guy.
He looked especially majestic against the canyon backdrop as we rode past him.
This cool folded Muav Limestone is at mile 116.
A couple of minutes later, Zach leaned over and said, "Is it just you guys? Good."
He then proceeded to tell us a very funny story about a river runner who may have consumed something psychedelic. When he saw this part of the river, he freaked out. "The walls are melting!" Coincidentally, we got a nearly identical picture of this scene in 2006.
Debbie had asked Zach to go to Elves Chasm if it worked with the schedule, and he made it happen.
So at mile 117, we got out of the boat and started hiking.
The yellow-and-blue boat trip we had seen earlier was on their way down but not ready to leave yet, so we temporarily stopped in a smaller spot further upstream. It had a trail that joined the main trail up to Elves Chasm so it worked out just fine.
Up we climbed.
Sometimes, the route was slightly challenging, but it was always beautiful as it followed the water cascading down from Elves Chasm. Sometimes, we walked past it, ...
... and sometimes, we walked through it.
This beautiful place was our destination. Tom, Jill, and Jared hadn't been here before, but it is one of Debbie's favorite stops along the river.
The kids immediately went behind the falls to check it out.
As hikers arrived, we stood in the water and took turns having Daniel take family photos of all of us.
We opted for being completely submerged for our portrait.
Dann, Cheri, Shauna, Marty, and Brooke did their portrait on the rocks instead.
Jill and Jared went back behind the waterfall and documented it all. Here's Jared at the entrance.
Here are the rocks to climb to get up to the second level.
Here is Jared on the upper level ...
... and here's the view from up there.
Debbie got a photo of them up there, ...
... and zoomed in.
Daniel continued to get family portraits. Here are Tracey and her daughter, Tara.
Here are Chris, Steve, Sam, Dan, Matt, and Alex.
It was great to get a photo of all four of us together.
When the crowd had cleared out, Tom got a photo of Debbie near the same place that her first photo here was taken in 1978.
The hike back down was quick and fun, with a few photo stops along the way.
Here are some pretty dragonflies.
This little pond contained tiny tadpoles.
While we were gone, our crew moved the boats from our original site to the larger area that had since been vacated.
Brendyce used her water cannon to spray some of the passengers for fun.
This cool rock formation is at mile 118.6 on a stretch of canyon called Stephen Aisle.
Camp was going to be at Big Dune campsite at mile 119.3, but it was still in full sun at 2:50 PM, ...
... so we waited in the shade for 15 minutes for some clouds to roll in and create some shade.
And we're here! The campsite is very large but most of the area is covered by a giant sand dune with no real flat area, ...
... so we lined up our individual camp areas along the beach.
There was a very large, shallow bay off the beach which was perfect for bathing and playing.
Even better, it made a perfect lounge for cocktail hour.
Daniel went out into the water to get a picture of all of us.
Cheers, Daniel!
Here we are!
Someone noticed that one of the kids had climbed up really far up the cliff and was standing on the edge of some rocks. We could see how precarious his position was but he was unconcerned.
Get down from there, please.
Debbie had shown Zach a handful of pictures of himself from our 2006 trip when he was our swamper, and he said he wanted to see the rest of the trip pictures. She gave him her phone to look at the pictures for a while, and Tom got this picture of him looking at them with Craig.
When he was done looking through them, he gave the phone to Tom and said that he wanted to thank Debbie for sharing the pictures with him. He air-dropped several of the pictures to his phone to save and he said that he recognized the speedboat driver from our 2006 trip because Brendyce knew him. He also said that he was still friends with our boatman, Connie.
By the fourth night of the trip, the cardboard cases of beer and soda were now gone and we were down to rows of individual cans.
It was great fun hanging out in the water and everyone was bonding well.
Tom walked around with our camera to capture the camaraderie.
More pictures ...
... and more.
Here's how we clean up before meals: apply handsoap, then lather up and rinse off over a five-gallon bucket. Stepping on a rubber bulb pushes treated water from the bottom bucket through the narrow faucet over our hands into the dirty water bucket on top.
Appetizers for the evening were cheese, crackers, smoked oysters, and hot sauce.
As it got closer to dinner, people started moving out of the river, getting into dry clothes, and hanging out on land.
The 20- and 30-somethings all hit it off really well and spent a lot of time laughing together.
What a beautiful view. This is looking upstream from our camp. But look closer: the muddy water had caught up with us again and we wouldn't be outrunning it anymore.
Dinner was chicken breasts, stuffing, corn salad, and cole slaw, ...
... with spice cake for dessert.
Here's a view from partway up the sand dune.
The clouds were heavy and created a cool sunset at bedtime, ...

... but the sky cleared completely when it got dark and Daniel took some great photos around midnight after getting some camera tips from Marty.

Day 7 >


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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