August 27 - Friday
At 4 AM this morning I felt few a drops of water. I took a few seconds to figure out that it was sprinkling. I turned over and tapped Dad a few times and then he realized what was happening and we moved pretty quickly. We put all (we thought) of our things in the two waterproof bags we had, including his sleeping bag and the sheet I'd been using. We pulled his ground sheet over us and we lay on the air mattresses of theirs. Dad had to use his air mattress as part of our 'tent'. The rain came on pretty strong - a good shower. Our hair got wet and a few spots under the tarp did, too.
After about ten minutes it stopped. We hadn't brought our toiletries bags in but otherwise we were pretty dry. However, we were wide awake at only 4 AM. Lighting and thunder struck both up- and downstream. We were expecting more rain. But never got it.
The potty trip wasn't bad. There's a seat, some privacy, and ready river access to pee. We are supposed to only dump in the 'box' we sit on, and pee in the river. I don't remember paying such attention to what's going on during a dump before. They have some anti-smell in there that makes the whole thing not bad at all.
My sleep, I guess, was fitful. I woke thinking that the night was almost done - I felt rested and had had a full dream. I looked at my watch - IndiGlo rules! - and saw that it was only 9:45 PM! I had gone to sleep, I guess, around 8:45. It was dark at 8:15, and I literally watched the stars come out. As I looked away from one spot to see stars in another, more would come out. However, some clouds came and the moon rose, so that the very dark sky that I was expecting and hoping for never came. Instead, the full moon came out and once it peeked over the wall of our canyon, it was almost like day. Everyone noticed the 'spotlight' we had slept under. Dad didn't even need a flashlight to go to the riverside in the night. I woke up a few times and thought that dawn was breaking.
I guess I woke up five or six times in the night, and each time was surprised at how little time had passed. I seemed to have a full dream each time. But I think the reason was temperature - I would get too hot and sweat and give myself some air, and then wake up later to cover myself up again. That happened a few times. But my pillow system was fine and I got to use Dad's extra air mattress. I feel rested, at least.
The fisherman, mainly Mike and pilot and helper George, haven't had much luck. Just one little fish, I think.
Breakfast was scrambled eggs with sour cream mixed in, toast, cantaloupe ,and bacon. I had hot tea and thought of Ali.
Being awake well before dawn meant that we got to see sunrise of sorts. We will not see the sun for a while, but we can see the bright light on the higher parts of the Canyon walls. In fact, the moonlight had done the same thing earlier.
We are about to leave camp for the day - some people's things are still wet - and will soon take our first group hike. Ray the ortho and I may be frustrated by the speed - I think we want to go fast. The group may not go too fast, though.
OK - let's start the day. 7:15 AM
On the riverbank
We just had to push the raft off the bank - the water level dropped around four feet since we first stopped. The drop moves at 6 mph. We're at 19 miles, plus 16 from Lee's Ferry to the dam, for a 35 mile total and about a 6 hour delay. So, the low water now at 7:30 AM makes sense. We should see highest water around 7 at night, then. We'll see if that holds true.
In Redwall Cavern
As we came around the bend towards this cavern, I recalled Powell's estimation that 50,000 could fit in the Cavern. As I first saw it, I was disappointed. By its size in the wall of rock in which it was carved, I thought to myself, 100 is more like it.
But then I saw some boats and people at its bottom and I felt embarrassed that I'd so quickly forgotten the Canyon's scale. It really is big. I got off the raft first and walked to the back. A mound of sand prevented a direct picture including the people necessary for scale. I walked to the side some and took 4 pictures that will hopefully form a panorama with the day camera. (Can you see people's heads and shoulders in the bottom left of the opening?) I had been looking forward to this landmark since I saw the National Geographic picture with the opposite cliff just framed by the Cavern's ceiling. (PIC from book) I am sitting in that spot right now. This cavern is really neat. Not a disappointment.
We also recently passed South Canyon with Stanton's Cave soon after (with an iron grate over it) and then quickly Vesey's Paradise. That did look odd - fountains from the rock and lots of green down to the river. No blooming flowers, though, which would make it really beautiful.
Very small version of the Redwall Cavern. We also just picked up a monitor, I guess she'd be, for the National Park Service. She'll be with us for a while, I guess - her name is Sandy.
We may have a thunderstorm soon. It definitely looks like it, but what do I know about the weather here?
The river is green - I don't think I've mentioned that yet. I think the reason is because of the feeding streams since the dam have chemicals (natural ones) that make it that way. It is noticeably green - Gary just helped me come up with a description - a milky pea soup, or watery-with-milk-added pea soup.
Dad just took a couple of pictures of me - one in a writing pose near the kitchen table, and one from a point out in the river back towards the lunch spot.
The day so far - we got in for 100 yards and then disembarked at North Canyon. We all 14 started the hike but two of the women stopped soon after. Horst, one of the Germans, has a fused knee (it doesn't bend) that is the result of a mountain climbing accident. His gait is odd and you'd think some spots would be too much but he keeps on. Very impressive.
We hiked up the canyon mostly following the dry stream bed. The canyon walls were pretty close and we took a few pictures (I'm wearing my camo hat today). At the top, the rocks were very smooth and the small amount of running water cut a tiny smooth channel. At the end, there was a pool that Gary and I crossed and Dad and others soon followed. We got to go about 100 yards more until a dry waterfall stopped us. The canyon walls were even closer and we took more pictures (can you find me?). (I had no shirt or hat on) Mike, Dad, and I found paths about this waterfall but turned back at Bear's request.
We ran the North Canyon Rapids soon after with Dad fully rainsuited in the front and me with only my rain top in the Cadillac Seats. There seemed to be high demand for the front. I took a picture on the wet camera as a big wave crashed over. I hope it turns out well. (Editor's note: It did -- try to find Dad in yellow on the front - you just about can't see him at all!!) Dad stayed in the front with Ed and Ray (who had no suit on) through the next few as well - "The Roaring Twenties." I took another picture with the wet camera on the other big wave at the 24 and 1/2 Mile Rapid. You should be able to see Dad's yellow head in the left front. After that, Ed and Ray moved back from cold and I moved to the very front. No new rapids but beautiful stark and very tall cliffs went up from each side. We soon stopped at the cavern and now we're here at lunch - sandwiches again.
I still feel rested, though some of the others want naps now. We hear a little thunder and it's cloudy. What will rain be like?
(Lunch stop pictures by Dad: a nice white flower and a canyon arch)
2nd Camp Stop
MILE 59 (just downstream of Awatubi Canyon)
Sitting on the raft. Dinner's about to start
Picture from this campsite & my sketch
(Some afternoon river pictures by Dad: a neat-looking huge overhang caused by erosion, a big side canyon)
It didn't rain too much, but enough to get everyone's rainsuits on and worries going. It's clear now, but with enough clouds to get our tents out for everyone.
I now know what it takes to take a bath in 48 degree water:
I took my time and washed myself from head to toe and put on fresh (not necessarily clean) clothes. It feels pretty nice, and wasn't that bad. I'll do it again in a day or two.
In the tent by flashlight
Just a short note - the late beaching (~5:15 PM) led to a late dinner. Maybe later - more like 5:45. So I won't get a chance to write more tonight. It is very hot here in the tent. We'll see how a full night goes. And in that bath I took, I forgot to wash my face! (Ali!!)