Colorado River 2022:
Day 9 - Lava Falls


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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]

Friday, July 1, 2022: When Tom went to the drag bag in the morning to get our morning Diet Cokes, Zach stopped him and gave him two ice cold Diet Cokes out of his personal cooler. They were the most delicious Diet Cokes anyone has ever consumed in the history of ever.
There was Toroweap Overlook in the distance ...
... so we zoomed in again on the overlook. It's hard to spot unless you know what you're looking for (and have spent hours poring over vacation photos and Google Maps satellite view). It's the last major notch on the left in this photo.
Someone in Jill and Jared's camp up the hill from us wasn't stirring just yet.
Tara and Tracey had the very best campsite, perched on the river's edge.
Breakfast was melon, pineapple, bacon, and delicious apple pancakes.
Here comes the sun!
Down by the boats, Brendyce pointed out a rare water snake. She inched into the water and got up the courage to grab it by its neck to show us.
Then she busted out laughing ...
... as she dragged her rubber snake back onto shore. Siobhan and Craig laughed along with us.
Loading the boat is a multi-step process. Here is Zach placing the chairs to create the base of the "sofa."
Bag line volunteers stood by to help out when it was time to load each type of gear.
Craig and Tom raced to tie up the ammo cans on the Boucher, ...
... then Craig showed Tom the double hitch knot used to hold them in place.
Tom graciously got a picture of Debbie peeing next to the boat.
Siobhan put on her glittery Lava Falls shirt because it is important to dress up for a great rapid.
An oar trip stopped by to say hello for a minute. This type of communication is helpful to know where different groups plan to visit and camp.
We left camp at 8:15 AM and looked at Toroweap Overlook again.
We got a better look at Siobhan in her finery ...
... when she stopped by to show us her modern-day river rat pin. Sanderson River Expeditions used to give these out, and when they eventually became Wilderness River Adventures, the tradition continued. Siobhan, Brendyce, and Zach all worked at WRA earlier in their career, which is why Siobhan has a pin. How had we not noticed it on her earlier in the week?
It didn't take long to reach Vulcan's Anvil at mile 178.2. Here are views of it from the river in 1978, 1980, and 2006.
We had spent a fair amount of time trying to see it from Toroweap Overlook the previous November.
Here's what it looked like from up there last year.
We slowly circled the huge rock. This is a sacred place to the Southern Paiute.
Daniel spotted a doll wedged into the cracks (barely visible at the top of this photo) ...
... but this was the best photo we got of it.
Vulcan's Anvil is a little over a mile upstream from Lava Falls so it serves as a milepost of sorts.
Zach took a moment to tell us about it, ...
... then he presented Debbie's family river rat pins to Tom to share with his family, giving Bob's worn one (which had been down the river several times) to Tom to pin on his hat. Thanks for helping out, Zach!
We all put on our river rat pins ...
... and then we were ready to run Lava Falls.
The right bank of the river provides a trail and hill for guides and passengers to get out and scout the rapid first, and to photograph other boats going through.
Daniel and Debbie were both amazed to see that we were driving right on by and skipping the scouting phase, something that neither of them had done on their three trips each.
Like mother, like daughter, Jill and Debbie were both in the front of the both as usual (but off of the horns as instructed) ...
... and ready to run a great rapid.
Here we go! Lava Falls Rapid is rated 10/10 difficulty and has a drop of 13'.
We didn't take any pictures going through the rapid but Jared and Tom both took video of the experience. So here's a picture of the waterfall at the end of Lava Falls.
Meanwhile, the Awatubi was waiting at the top of Lava Falls for their run. Brendyce took a group shot of her boat ready to go.
Here they come!
Oooof! Matt almost went flying!
Everyone was all smiles as they finished their run.
Then it was our turn to have some more fun. Let's go run some of that again!
Back in we went ...
... getting plenty of splashes along the way, ...
... before joining the other boat.
But we weren't done yet because we still had Lower Lava Rapid to run.
When that was done, the magical bag of Tootsie Pops came out.
There was a cool landslide area at mile 181.5.
The lava origins of this area were especially evident around mile 187 ...
... where vertical rocks similar to Devil's Tower and Giant's Causeway lined the canyon walls.
We passed the Whitmore Helipad on the left but didn't see any helicopters.
But just downstream, we spotted a freshly arrived boat group at Whitmore Wash ...
... looking at pictographs along Whitmore Trail, a hike Tom and Jill did in 2006.
Here's Whitmore Rapid.
We had a pit stop at mile 191.5.
Tom got a picture of Debbie peeing in the river to share with our readers how very inoffensive it is to be seen doing this.
Leftover apple pancakes were passed around for snacks, ...
... and Debbie beamed with happiness when Mother's Circus Animals were passed around.
We passed Below Parashant campsite where we had eaten lunch in 2006 and Debbie camped in 1978.
We passed boats from Outdoors Unlimited at mile 203.5, ...
... then stopped for lunch just below 205 Mile (Kolb) Rapid.
While we were waiting for lunch to be ready, ...
... we watched the Outdoors Unlimited group running 205 Mile Rapid.
Some of the boats high-fived with their oars after their succcessful run.
We saw an odd-looking baloney boat go by. Its side tubes were off and rolled up. Our crew explained that this is done after dropping off passengers to get the boat downstream faster and easier.
We also saw a shoe floating downstream. Someone somewhere is probably a little sad about that.
Lunch was a delicious sandwich buffet once again.
We left our lunch site around 12:45 PM.
Here are some adorable river rats!
Here's the top of Little Bastard Rapid at mile 212.5.
It has a cool black schist outcropping right before it.
Here are some wicked holes in the Tapeats sandstone.
Just downstream at mile 213.3, we passed Pumpkin Spring so we knew it was time for some fun.
We tied up the boats just below the spring.
Debbie had an injured foot when we were here in 2006, so she was glad to see more of this area than just the boats.
There's the view down at Pumpkin Springs. It's so icky and interesting at the same time.
The attraction here is cliff jumping.
Craig demonstrated how and where to jump, then we took turns jumping in.
Here's Jill jumping, ...
... and smiling in the water.
Jared was right behind her ...
... and clearly enjoyed it.
Then Tyler went, ...
... and Debbie ...
... and Tom, doing his patented twisty cannonball.
Here are Dan and Alex, ...
... and Marabeth.
Jill and Jared jumped off together.
Jill yelled on the way down, "I think we should see other people."
That made Jared laugh very hard.
Here's Debbie after her second jump ...
... and Brendyce wiggling like a fish.
The rocks create a natural eddy that draws jumpers to the rope exit upstream. Craig was there to supervise and help if needed. Here's Jill coming out, ...
... then Jared, ...
... then Debbie.
Here's Daniel jumping, ...
... and Tom twisting a second time.
It was all great fun and everyone got to go as many times as they wanted.
It's Marty's turn, ...
... then Jill and Jared again; ...
... first Jill ...
... and then Jared.
Here's Tara's jump.
We meandered back to the boat ...
... and cleared the area by the time another group pulled up to go have the same fun.
Ooooh! It's Country Time strawberry lemonade for our happy girl! As far as we can tell, this product cannot be found in stores. It only appears magically on river trips.
Pretty view at mile 214.
Oh no, Cap'n! They're coming in at ramming speed!
Hey there, Awatubi folks!
Our captains decided to tie up in the shade at mile 219.8 just slightly upstream from where we would be camping. It was 3:00 PM and our campsite would still be in full sun, so it was better to not rush to get to camp.
So we relaxed here for a half-hour.
Zach talked to us about what to expect this evening and in the morning, which were our last night and morning on the river.
It was full sun when we headed to Upper 220 Mile campsite, but it was still going to be for another couple of hours.
It was a nice large campsite with plenty of room for everyone to spread out and find their own space.
After the bag line, we set up camp quickly then headed back to the river to enjoy some time in the water.
A fellow passenger was smart enough to get these pictures of the GCE logo and boat name fused to the boat, a big upgrade from the side banner and painted stencils of our 2006 trip.
Aww!
At 4:15 PM, Zach brought out some watermelon slices ...
... which we enjoyed while standing in the river.
Tom got this photo of his wife - so beautiful!
Tara showed Jared some of her fishing lures.
Much fun was had.
Upstream, more folks were enjoying a patch of shaded water.
The view across the water was great, and there were a couple of small islands in the center that we definitely could have reached if we just swam hard enough. Yeah.
Here's the view up on shore as well.
We spent some time enjoying the view and the river, not realizing until we got home that either Jill or Jared had taken our photo.
Word went around that Craig had brought some beer and hadn't drank it all so he was willing to share. We quickly took advantage of his generosity and had a round of beers.
Brendyce joined us for a while ...
... and Dann got a picture of us having a great time.
Ooooh, it's a grasshopper!
Jill and Jared posed for a nice photo, ...
... then got one of them with their new best friends.
We had delicious goat cheese and honey with pita chips and grapes for an appetizer.
By 6:00 PM, our camp was in shade but the temperature had only dropped from 107 degrees to 102.
Jill won the week-long contest for most number of injuries, including cactus punctures, hiking blisters, and this colorful bruise.
This fuzzy guy is called a thistledown velvet ant, but it's still a wasp.
We would be dining in style on our last night of the trip. These steaks were sourced from a local rancher.
While the crew was cooking, Debbie quickly slipped our crew tips to Zach.
At 7:15 PM, dinner was served, including plain noodles for the boys and perfectly-cooked medium-rare steaks for the rest of us.
Also served were sauteed mushrooms, baked potatoes with all the fixings, a garden salad, and shrimp from last night's dinner, finished off on the grill. Silverware rolled in napkins completed the fancy buffet.
Oh yeah. So delicious.
The only way to top all this? Chocolate cake with chocolate frosting!

Day 10 >


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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