Day Six

August 31 - Thursday

6 AM

Another good night's sleep, from 8:45 last night until 5:45 this morning. Only woke up a couple of times, so basically another 9 hours in one night. This is a vacation. I slept with my head near the open tent door like Ray had suggested and that helped. I slept in the sheet all night, but I was starting to get a little cold. I seemed to have a full-length dream between each awakening, so I must be getting pretty good sleep. It's also a sign that my brain is having plenty to do when I'm awake and is staying active and sorting things out. Cool.

The sky was clear all night, but I think everyone used their tents after the rain we went through yesterday. I see Gary stirring - I think I'll get going, too.

7:30 AM
After breakfast

We're running a little late today - everyone has wet stuff that they're trying to dry a little or find a way to stow for the day. Breakfast was a sort of breakfast casserole with eggs, onions, mushrooms, cheese, etc.

Every one still seems to be getting along very well, and I think that the stressful parts of the trip are behind us.

1 PM
Lunch stop
MILE 158

A late lunch after a late start this morning - probably didn't push off until 8:45 or so. Most of that had to do with the wet gear. I just wore the same shirt from yesterday (Ole Miss) and changed to the blue shorts to help with picture taking. I'm also in the same tan hat.

Rita got stung by a scorpion last night, apparently on her butt. Ray even managed to catch it when Rita saw it after daylight. It was no bigger than my little fingernail. I couldn't believe it was so small. And Rita said it hurt pretty good all night.

I sat in the back with Bear and George again (and Dad came way back for the first time, too) for Fishtail, Kanab, Matkatamiba (which is the boat's name), Upset, and Sinyala Rapids. I got to talk to Bear a bit - it turns out he drives an old S-10 Blazer six days a week and a Cadillac on Sundays and long trips. Sometimes the car you drive says something about you, sometimes it doesn't at all. For Bear, I think it's perfect. I would expect to see him in that old Blazer and having a ball, but with a change every now and then into something more comfortable. Hey - he deserves it.

We stopped for a hike up Havasu Creek, which did not have its well-known turquoise water (the Havasupai Indian name means "the people of the blue-green water") but instead was a very muddy red. The sides were very green, and would make it quite the oasis in normal times. But last afternoon's rain brought down the silt. We had to cross the creek a couple of times at wide and waist-deep crossings, which we don't normally do. Mike, Ray, Dad, and I also went through a small cave to continue upstream to look at a little more. Although nice to see the creek in the unique red state, I would have loved to have seen the blue-green with all the greenery around.

We just saw a hummingbird flying around, and Rita mentioned that that's as close to Georgia as she's been all week.

The other raft stopped to hike at Havasu Creek also, and we basically went up together. I think it's a very good thing that we are with our group and not that one or one like it. I would have been able to cope much better than Dad with the other people, but he might not have found other people to talk to and so would have relied more on me. I doubt the other group is nearly as organized, but they are all family an so might handle some things better. They have three adult couples and eight kids, and the kids have dyed hair (I'm one to talk) and earrings and punk clothes. The adults smoke and are louder than our guys. At least at first glance, I think our trip would have been much for the worse with them. Maybe not. But it makes me appreciate our group more.

5 PM
6th Camp Stop
MILE 175
Picture from this campsite & my sketch

We're only about 4 miles upstream of Lava Falls tonight - not close enough to hear it, but close enough for some of us to get excited about going through it / over it tomorrow morning.

We pulled in about 4:10 and most took camp spots along the river - we're learning that is where the cooler air is. Dad had the idea of watering down our dry sand (and hot sand) with river water using the buckets. So far, so good on that experiment. It's made the sand cooler and also firmer. We'll see what the final verdict is tomorrow morning.

The river is just plain old muddy now. We do our regular dousing of the boat to get the dirt off and it really jus spreads the dirt around. We all feel this invisible dirt layer on everything, and washing wouldn't help because we have to use river water for bathing. Rita and Ray gave it a try tonight - I guess it'll remove the odor (which definitely help) but I don't think I'm that bad off right now.

We also use the river water to wash our hands and our dishes, so the dirt layer is pretty much everywhere now and we won't be able to do anything about that for the rest of the trip. We had no idea how good we had it when the water was nice and green. And we just try not to think about where all our pee and every other boat's has been going!

The rapids were very tame today. This afternoon I went through a few riding on the nose of the side tube. There were no big splashes at all. I also spent a little time sitting on the back of the Cadillac section with Gary. That's a nice place to ride.

There were quite a few miles of calm water that we motored through, even though the canyon walls were near. Today was the first time I considered us a motorboat on the river rather than a river raft with a motor. We flew by some oar rafts today and we were also concerned with hitting some of the logs and other crud in the river with our propeller. The motor noise seemed a bit louder, too. Rather than sit tight over the middle of the raft and low, everyone sat all over - on the side tubes, on top of the coolers, standing in the front - and absorbed some of the late-afternoon sun. We came straight here to camp after our lunch stop.

(By Dad: the dark stains on the wall are from travertine from above)