Thursday, August 23, 2012

Grand Canyon River Rafting Aventure

This post has absolutely nothing to do with embroidery, knitting or anything done with a needle.  Although I did knit in the evening on a pair of socks, actually finished one sock.  Someday I may have to stitch a rock with some of the flowers and cactus like the above pictures.

First I must say I don't like to get wet, I don't swim, I don't like to camp out, I like modern conveniences. and I don't like hot weather, having said that I loved river rafting in the Grand Canyon.    

We have talked about doing this trip for a long time, we decided we must do what we can when we can because you don't know when you won't be able to do it.  Everyone should take this trip, but do it when you are young.

I had been river rafting once before on a small river in Washington, but the Green River and Colorado Rivers are the big daddy of all rivers, at least in my mind.  

We loved running the rapids with Arizona River Runners.  Our boatmen, Lindsey and Riley, were great and the swampers, Matt and Tim, were very helpful.  They took us from Lee's ferry to Lake Mead in 8 days.  Some of the dinners were salmon, lasagna, steak and pork chops were some of the dinners we had, all were very good!  Breakfast was pancakes, eggs, bacon, French toast just to name a few.  Lunch was usually deli style sandwiches and the avocado and lots of fresh veggies and fruit.  We learned some new sandwich combinations, peanut butter on chocolate chip cookies too.  We were told we need to eat and drink lots of water, they suggested a gallon of water everyday.  Payday candy bars became a favorite, salt and sweet, don't tell my WW leader.

Lunch time . . .

And then dinner time . . .
The above picture is where we washed our dishes, before we ate and after we ate.  The first bucket had cold river water, the next one had hot soapy river water, the third one had hot river water and the last one had cold river water.

The white box contained ice, that was a real treat at the end of the day!

 Camping was my least favorite part of the trip.  Arizona River Runners supplied tents, sleeping bags, sheets, pillow, cots, duffle bags to hold the camping gear and our personal bags.  They also, supplied day duffle bags, we used these for our cameras, rain gear and anything else we needed during the day.  Everyone had to set up their own camp, first we had to find a almost flat location and put our day duffle bags to save the place.  Then it was back to the rafts to unload everything, we would form a line and pass items up from the raft to the beach.  We each took our duffle bags, tent, cots to our camp site.  After 6 nights we got pretty good at setting up the tent and cots, we camped 7 nights.  The weather was very hot, about 110 degrees, we needed AC in the tent.  I did sleep most nights pretty good, the temperature would cool off a little in the middle of the night, but not always, the last night was very hot all night.

Every camp site had lots of sand, it must have been about a foot deep and most of it was in my shoes.

The rapids were scarey  . . .  Hermit Rapid was a 17 foot drop, as we went through this rapid I looked a the back of the raft and thought this was going to be the end.  The back of the raft was straight up in the air, this was the only time I really got scared.    About 4 miles later we came to Crystal Rapid and almost hit the rock wall, we missed if by inches, not knowing at the time what it would be like to hit the rock wall I wasn't worried.  The gems were the next rapids, Agate Rapid, Sapphire Rapid, Turquoise Rapid, Emerald Rapid, Ruby Rapid, Serpentine Rapid, there was one without a name so our boatman, Riley, named it Amethyst for her birthstone.  There were many many rapids, but the next memorable rapid was Lava Falls Rapid.  We only had 13 passengers, two boatmen (which were ladies) and two swampers.  Lindsey went through the Lava Falls Rapid first and the passengers and swampers who wanted to go again walked back and got on our raft to run it again.  

There is a video on Dropbox (I believe you will need an account to see it) showing how our boat went through the Lava Falls Rapid.  At the end of the rapid our motor flooded and when the boatman tried to start it again the pull cord came off the motor.  You will hear Lindsey yelling at Jerry, he was taking the video, to get in the boat.  They came and saved the day!  Each boat has two motors, so Lindsey and Riley, the boatmen, changed the motor while the guys watched.  Actually Tim was in the other boat with the motor running, we were attached to it and he kept us from floating down the river without a motor.  

The same day we were hanging on running another rapid, our boatman said hang on tight, we were headed for the rock wall.  We hit the wall, everyone stayed in the raft and no injuries and the raft survived, but that was scarey. 

Critters - there were fire ants at every camp site, when they bite it hurts, I was lucky not to experience the bites.  We saw several different kinds of lizards, lots of flies and  black ants.  We would see bats flying around in the evening, I am sure they helped to keep the bugs under control.  We saw sheep when we were on the river and lots of different birds.  One day we stopped for a hike, we didn't go hiking so we were sitting in the shade and a couple crows landed on the rafts.  They knew where to find something to eat and came up near where we were sitting to enjoy their treat.  One evening after dinner, we heard one person say there is a rattle snake.  The boatman came and looked at it and said "isn't he pretty" and went back to the raft where the crew slept.  Well, I don't have to tell you that was one night without a lot of sleep.  I kept hearing the snake under my cot, it was all in my head.  Turned out it was a Grand Canyon rattle snake, I am sure he was more afraid of us than we were of him, we never saw him again or any other snake.  

We saw this poor little bat when we walking.

More about camping or maybe just picture worth a 1,000 words . . . 

These are some of my favorite pictures of the Grand Canyon, water falls and blue sky . . . . .

This is a picture of Matt our swamper wearing his favorite pants . . . maybe I need a pair just like them?  He saved them for the end of the trip.

When we got to Lake Mead  a jet boat took us to the bus to take us back to Las Vegas.  We got to go across the new bridge, we didn't stop so the picture is not very good, but you can see Hoover Dam. 

Joshua tree on the way to Las Vegas . . .
The things I missed, napkins, a table when we were eating, ice tea and AC.

If you want to plan a trip and follow along purchase "Belknap's Waterproof Grand Canyon River Guide."  And "There's This River... Grand Canyon Boatman Stories" is a fun book to read.

I hope you enjoyed reading about out latest adventure!  We loved our adventure, but if I go again I would want a motel at each camp site.
Comments and/or questions are always welcome!  





Karen T said...

Great pics and enjoyed your narrative, Denise! I'm glad you enjoyed parts of your trip. I never had any desire to do a camping trip of any sort, and reading this has reconfirmed my long standing aversion to "roughing it". So thanks for the beautiful pictures!

Sandy Shaw said...

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