NEVILLS to ZOROASTER to PHANTOM RANCH - Mile 89
Morning on and in the Grand Canyon. We have just gone through Hance Rapid (rated 8 / 30 ft drop). A early wake up call.
Jimmy on Sockdolager Rapid (rated7 /19 ft drop). Just an ordinary work day for him. He would delight in seeing how many different ways he could point the boat as we went down rapids. Jimmy had total control.
We pulled off to the side of Sockdolager into an eddy and did this little action sketch of one of our boats plowing through the rapids. I get as much visual info and shapes as possible in and do a little touch up on value and texture as we float down the river
At about mile 79 way from Lees Ferry. This was the last place for a while that the canyon vista opened so much. The geology and rock here was about 1.1 billion years old and the various minerals criss-crossed all the cliffs and formations.
Entering Granite Gorge a truly spectacular canyon that seem to close in on us further we dropped into it. The walls got steeper and the red cliffs changed in color to black and white with streaks of iron orange.
Going along for the ride. Rain squalls meant the occasional rain suit.
Somewhere at around Cottonwood Creek these big vertical streaks of white granite drop into the Colorado. The water is clear enough that you can see the rock plunge to the riverbed. I got a chance to row up to these faces and run my hand over the smooth quartz rock.
I was rowing so Jimmy directed me in how to gently row into these walls to get a close look and draw this composition. Each oar boat took a turn grazing the walls. Its amazing when you realize that rock you are touching was so far under the earth before the Colorado cut down to expose it.
Barefoot Jimmy passing some stone idols stuck in the middle of the Colorado River
Drifting in the narrows after Vishnu Creek.
A fun little sketch of Dean rowing through a some class 3 riffles in a narrow section of the canyon.
David and I (us two "noobs" ) were always trying to talk our ways onto the oars on the non-lethal rapids focused on the objective of getting us down the river with flipping the boat and not killing us all. Jimmy seemed to delight in giving us great intel/lessons and then giggling at us while we "worked"
Dave and the cargo boat dropping down Grapevine Rapids
Sketching on the back end of the oar boat. Most of the drawings in this blogger journal were done in these small "Hand-Book" sketchbooks. Very reliable and sturdy. you could draw in them even when they were wet.
83 mile rapid
Jimmy taking a "break" while I guide the raft through "treacherous" waters. You either found a discrete location for relief , jumped in the Colorado or just crossed your legs and waited for tie-up.
Our view from north/upstream. Another rafting group kayaking past us as we set up camp at Zoroaster (exchange camp) where half of the group will get their gear ready to then be dropped off at Phantom Ranch, a few miles ahead.
Panorama shot across from Zoroaster Camp. That wall is a couple of thousand feet high and just looks as if all the rock was torn from the earth yesterday.
Cassie (in the red cooking mitts) describing the menu for the evening
Kyle cooking up something that looks and tastes like steak. Hard to believe all this equipment (and garbage) gets packed in those 6 oar boats for weeks on end.
Sunset, dinner and drinks
We also had a birthday party on the river! It was Erika B's B-day and it seems everyone got a chance to wear her tiara that was packed just for this event. From LF to RT...Cassie, Erica F. and Erika B.
Seems Jimmy got a chance to wear the princesses tiara. It seemed to fit him well and we didn't have to ask him twice to put it on.
This is the birthday (didn't ask her the date) girl.
Seems this was "show me your guide tattoo" party night. Much fun was had that continued from the afternoon into the night. I definitely hit the sleeping bag late.
David & Dave (Erica's father-in-law) break out the guitars after dinner and start up some strumming and sing-a-longs. We had a few beers (thanks to Jassiks forethought). Great evening
Breakfast at Zoroasters camp. Looks like eggs and bacon, coffee and orange juice on the menu.
Packing up gear and handing it off to get stored away on the rafts. Since some of the folks will be getting off at Phantom Ranch the personal gear has to be sorted carefully so they can remove it in a few hours.
Today we lose about half our passengers because 50% of our group will be hiking out when we get to Phantom Ranch. Most of them because of the need to go back to work or they other commitments. We all became pretty tight quickly over that week plus of time together. Super nice bunch of folks I have to say.
Upstream from Cremation Creek and at the end of Granite Gorge, right before it opens up to Bright Angel / Phantom Ranch.
Crossing under the Bright Angel Bridge and about to land across from Phantom Ranch. There is a South-to-North Rim of the Grand Canyon trail that goes across that bridge. The trail crosses to the "Ranch", a waystation for backpackers. You can reserve a bed and meals there. Now we change over to some new passengers and go hiking.
Tied up at Phantom Ranch at Pipes Beach. Its here we exchange some new passengers who hike down from the rim while other folks we have been with for over a week hike out of the Grand Canyon up the Bright Angel Trail.