Colorado River 2022:
Day 8 - Matkatamiba 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]

Thursday, June 30, 2022: Camp looked a little bit different after a rainy night.
Here's our little bit of land with Marabeth's tent and ours set up right next to the water. The night before, Craig had given us safety tips on what to do if the river tried to wash away our tents but fortunately, the river behaved overnight. That's Jill and Jared's tent further back.
For breakfast, we had scrambled eggs, sausage, English muffins, melon, and pineapple.
After a night of scattered rain, it was shaping up to be a beautiful sunny day.
Shortly before 8:00 AM, we were passed by Arizona River Runners.
Shortly afer 8:00 AM, we were on our way too.
By 8:30 AM, we were approaching our first stop of the day: Matkatamiba Canyon ahead on the left.
It's a tricky, narrow mooring but our crew got it done skillfully.
We were just upstream from a rapid and we needed to wear our lifejackets off the boat and back on again when we returned for safety, so we piled them on shore instead of buckling them to the boats like we normally did.
Off we went. Jill got this photo of Debbie ...
... taking this photo of Tara in the lead.
Tara stopped to pick up a tiny toad. It could be a canyon treefrog or a Woodhouse's Rocky Mountain toad but our toad-identification skills aren't strong.
We all took our turns photographing this beautiful view of the creek and canyon.
One option up the canyon involved this wall of rock, which is the same wall that Craig helped Debbie climb back down later in the morning, but that's a different story. Go Marty, go!
Most of us opted to climb up the creek.
Here's a tiny Canyon Treefrog.
Dann spotted him too and got his own picture
And we're climbing ...
... and we're climbing ...
... and we're still climbing.
Zach was wearing his kitty ballcap, which was perfect for a dude nicknamed Mr. Kitty.
The climb continued up the side of the cliffs.
This was the most technically challenging part of the climb as it became very narrow and steep.
From here, it was a pleasant, level walk ...
... through a gorgeous canyon ...
... with a deep, winding gorge right next to us.
Just twenty minutes after pulling up in our boats, we reached an open area perfect for relaxing and use as a home base.
Some of us did a little exploring just upstream from there, ...
... where we got a picture of this tiny hummingbird ...
... and the flower he had been visiting when he caught our eyes.
Debbie finally spotted a tadpole with back legs so she could stop her tireless quest.
Some of the passengers built a butt dam, ...
... then got up all at the same time to release a torrent of rushing water down the stream.
In one of the creek's ponds, passengers spotted a helgrammite, which is a dobsonfly larva, so we got to see what that huge, winged insect Jill and Jared spotted two days earlier looked like when it was still living in water.
After a half-hour of playing and exploring, it was time for the biggest adventure - getting back!
Instead of returning the way we came, we were scooting down the side of the gorge walls.
It looked impossibly steep, but by scooting down slowly, one at a time, we all made it past the steepest part. Brendyce had to talk a couple of us into doing it (<cough>Debbie<cough>), and we were glad she did.
Mr. Kitty was standing by to assist with the next hardest part, ...
... lowering yourself through a narrow channel to the drop below.
Jill's got this.
As we got closer, Kitty demonstrated the technique for getting through this section - use your feet as leverage along the wall to ease yourself down to the next level.
Red-spotted toad!
Jill got this photo looking back as Debbie waited her turn to climb down one of the large rocks.
Tom had stayed back to help a couple of other passengers, so Debbie waited for him here and got a picture of this section of the canyon all to ourselves.
We continued to make our way down, sometimes climbing, sometimes sliding on our butts, ...
... and sometimes walking through the creek.
This little baby frog was less than an inch long.
Soon, we were all life-jacketed-up and ...
... ready to run Matkatamiba Rapid that was waiting for us just a few yards downstream.
Looking back, we could see an oar group that was waiting in the shade for their chance to explore the canyon.
At mile 150.4, we looked at a pie pan laying on the rock below Upset Rapid.
Here's the Shorty Burton pie-pan plaque below Upset Rapid. Shorty flipped a Hatch motor rig in 1967 and drowned, and his fellow boatmen keep this monument up as a tribute to his baking skills. Whenever the pie plate disappears, a new one shows up in its place.
We passed the camera bag back and forth to each other many, many times per day. Miraculously, our non-waterproof camera survived the trip without any water damage. Dust and sand damage? Not so lucky.
We approached the Ledges campsite around mile 152.
This is a very unique campsite that has camping spots on the rock ledges. Debbie stayed here in 1980 and would love to go back, but it's a very small campsite for a group this large.
Siobhan pointed out the small spring that flows out of the wall just past Ledges.
This cool view is the drainage off Dead Horse Mesa.
We passed an oar group with their adorable little umbrellas.
Cool rocks.
Here's a rockfall of limestone blocks at mile 155.4, ...
... and an odd little waterfall at mile 156.
Around 11:15 AM, Havasu Creek was just around the bend ...
... and soon, we could zoom in to see the boats parked at Havasu Creek for a lunch break.
We we stopped just upstream for lunch at mile 157.
We found a nice shady spot high up on the rocks.
Jill and Jared relaxed on some rocks nearby.
Pretty sacred datura plant. Don't eat it!
We woke Tom in time for lunch.
Lunch was an incredibly delicious quinoa chicken salad which required going back for seconds. Of course, there were plenty of Pringles for the boys to eat instead.
After a 90-minute lunch break, we were ready to get back on the river.
The other boats had departed by now. The Hualapai tribal lands remained closed to tourists, so river trips were asked to voluntarily skip side trips up Havasu Creek.
Daniel and Debbie both watched wistfully as we floated by the entrance to Havasu Creek.
Ducks! Possibly two adult female Red-breasted Merganser?
Zach got out a Grand Canyon trivia book to quiz us. We didn't know a lot of the answers but we gave our best guesses. It was quite entertaining.
Here's another bighorn sheep family with a baby.
This cool feature high up on the canyon wall is near Mile 163.
Let's take a closer look.
We enjoyed a relaxing early afternoon ...
... surrounded by surprisingly lush riverbanks.
Shortly before 2:00 PM, between 164 Mile Rapid and National Rapid (mile 167), Zach asked if anyone was interested in jumping off the boat to float in the river for a while. Debbie was the first one in.
Jill stretched out her arms for her love to jump into them. Not safe, Jill!
Tom made a spectacular splash as he spun in the air before landing.
Debbie took a picture of Jill upstream ...
... while Jill took a picture of Debbie downstream.
It was so much fun floating, a first-time experience for all four of us.
Debbie got a picture of these two floating lovebirds ...
... and these too.
We could have stayed in the water all day, but we needed to make our way back to the boat after 10 minutes or so.
Craig and Zach helped each passenger with the technique required to pull ourselves out of the river.
A few minutes later, we were passing Upper National campsite and National Canyon where Debbie camped in 1980, ...
... and then we were passing Lower National campsite where Debbie camped in 1978.
We took a short pit stop at Lower National campsite for those of us who hadn't had the foresight to pee in the river minutes earlier when we had the chance.
Tommy scored some highly prized Haribo Twin Snakes - sweet and sour gummy snakes, which he kindly handed out to fellow passengers.
This little section of the riverbank was over-the-top lush green and looked like a golf course.
Here's Gateway Rapid at the mouth of the Mohawk Canyon.
At mile 174, upriver from Cove Canyon, we were about three miles from Toroweap, so we were entering the part of the canyon that was visible from Toroweap Overlook, shown here in our trusty Belknap river guide.
There it is way off in the distance, not that you can tell. It's on the farthest left edge of the distant canyon wall on the right side of the canyon.
Here's the view from the overlook the previous November. We were just coming around the bend near the top of this picture.
At mile 175.5 is Red Slide, the remains of a landslide of Supai sandstone.
Zoom in a bit to see some cool hoodoos.
Anyway, back to Toroweap Overlook in the distance. It's on that last bit of canyon in the distance, ...
... so we'll zoom in to get to the general area, ...
... then get as close as we can from a moving boat. We think the overlook is right in the center of this picture in the crevice or thereabouts.
Here's a random sight! A tree!
It was 3:30 PM when we stopped at mile 176.3, across the river from Below Red Slide campsite where we waited for shade to reach our camp.
Swamper Alex read a story from "There's The River..." about a dog found at a campsite along the river.
There's our campsite across the way. Just look at all of that hot sun all over it. So we relaxed in the shade a little longer ...
... while Brendyce entertained us with her tiny hand.
After a 20-minute break, enough shade had arrived that we were able to get to camp and pick out our campsites for the evening.
There were lots of fire ant colonies but we managed to find an area that wasn't too overrun. As we were setting up our campsite, we saw the Awatubi drive upstream to set up the groover at the far end of our campsite.
In camp, we spotted a velvet ant, which is actually a wingless female wasp.
We served up our third - and last - 99 Something cocktail of the trip. This one consisted of 99 Apples and whatever mixer we could find in the drag bag.
When it was gone, we were sad. We were now truly out of alcohol and we still had one night left to go. Hooray for friends with multiple handles of Vitamin V on board!
The evening's appetizer included cheese, crackers, and various flavors of herring.
Lizard! This one had cool blue coloring.
Cocktail hour was observed along and in the river as usual.
Debbie tried to get a nice picture with her Phelan-McDermid Syndrome - Phelan Lucky 2022 tank top but the wind chose not to cooperate.
Dinner was shrimp, rice pilaf, and spring rolls with dipping sauces.
Delicious! The crew made an insane number of spring rolls and many of the dudes confessed to eating close to 10 of them.
There was much laughing during dinner ...
... and a good time was had by all.
Dutch oven chocolate chip cookies topped off a great meal.
We had to get a picture of the back of Zach's fantastic t-shirt that listed (and described) some of the Canyon's greatest rapids. For example, Grapevine: More Rocks Than Grapes.

By 8:00 PM, we were ready for bed and said goodnight to Toroweap Overlook.

Day 9 >


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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