Thursday, May 3, 2018



Morning camp below the Little Colorado River. 

Dean and I having our morning joke and coffee. We sort of paired up and spent a lot of time swapping rowing leads in the oar boats. Really nice guy...good sense of humor. I think everyone on this leg of the trip had a great personality.

Just trying to grasp how stunningly vertical and massive the walls that surround us are.

Sunrise over the walls downstream from camp

The view in the opposite direction looking north/upstream from our camp. The Little Colorado River flows down the fork of the canyon, right

Heading up Little Colorado River to bathe in its waters sacred to the Hopi and Navajo Indians. The waters were warm and a gentle turquoise blue in color.

This is the panorama you see as you hike up the canyon. Limestone, dissolved into the waters mold themselves into bathing tubs and chutes you can float down. Quite the view...huh?

I sat and soaked for part of the afternoon in one of these limestone "tubs". The mineral filled water swirled around and, damn, it was relaxing. One of our crew floating down to the outlet.

Trail up the canyon along sandstone terraces. 

Old-school composite photo of the limestone slides and cliffs

Back at Below LCR camp breaking camp and stowing camp & personal gear. Erica tying down the large bags with kitchen gear .

Starting out drifting past Crash Canyon, the scene of a 2 plane collision back in 1956. There is still aircraft pieces and plane debris scattered up the ridges to the left.

Jimmy, our veteran guide and a really funny (some times unintentional ) guy who gave all involved a nice history on the canyon and best, how to look at the course of the river and row around and through the obstacles. Several times when I was rowing he walked-and-talked me through the rapids.

Jimmy slowly turning the boat to point out where the two airliners crashed in 1956

Salt seeps at around mile 64. Ancient Anasazi to the Hopis would travel here to collect natural salt for ceremonies up in the upper Colorado canyon

Drifting below Carbon Creek. Little riffles coming up shortly. 

Jimmy running Chuar Rapid. To get this view I had to tie a rope to my belt and stand on the back of the rig, bouncing up and down and eventually almost getting tossed into the drink.

Pulled off to the bank by Tanner Rapid and took a little walk up through the canyon. It wove through the buttress and got very narrow in some places and opened up into big open stream beds.

A little hike up Tanner Canyon

Wonderful deep twisting canyon. Janet is winding her way down and through the corridor. We all tried to get up for a hike at least a day to stretch our legs and have lunch. This was a great bunch of
people to hike with

Jimmy taking Tanner Rapids (rated #6 & 12 foot drop) standing up. The hard part in drawing folks rowing these rapids was combining different poses into one, get them to match the perspective of the boat rigging, quick portrait and landscape....simple.

My turns at the oars Around Basalt Rapid. Jimmy was a good coach and he and Kyle taught me many good techniques to get me through some rapids without capsizing. One of the most important points I was surprised at was how much its a "whole body" workout and you have to get a rhythm going between the legs, torso and arms. 

Another meeting of the minds and bodies. I do believe we were having a conference on where we would be camping today.

Pitching camp at Nevills, mile 76. Beautiful day and we all sat back and had a nice drink and watched some other rafting companies go sailing by at a brisk clip

If you ever wonder this is what the "bathroom" looks like. A secluded little spot (most of the time) that is carried with us the entire trip. There is a simple signaling device with colored handkerchiefs, just to make sure no one has nasty surprises.

Evening camp with everyone breaking in little groups for games or talks. Some of us actually would go out and do afternoon hikes. 

All the boats lined up in a nice little row. They are all tethered with just enough slack to rise/fall with the water level but tied in tight to keep them from drifting away.

Camp is set up and before dinner starts everyone chats, plays sand games or just sits back and watches the sun set. Frankly I found this the best, most peaceful part of the day.

If we had a big enough sandbar the crew would bring out the "pegs". I forgot exactly what the rules are but I remember that its a goulash of horseshoes, ring toss, and bowling. I'm sure I'm not even close.

My usual set up. Really enjoyed sleeping on the natural sand mattress with a little padding. The rapids provided a "white noise" to lull yourself to sleep. Excuse my messiness...I'm usually a little more tidy.