Day Seven

September 1 - Friday

5:45 AM

Another clear night, although I didn't start off with a good sleep because I'd decided to lie with my head downhill (opposite from Dad) to keep my face nearer the cool breeze of the door and away from the fine sand coming through the back window. We had some big wind last night just as we were all going to bed. But I woke up at 11 PM with a bad headache, completely full sinuses, and just an overall crappy bad-cold-like feeling. However, I sat up and I could actually feel all this stuff drain out of my head. I rearranged all my stuff and slept OK the rest of the night. My bottom lip feels like a little split is coming on, and I think it's too late to prevent that. My skin feels dry all over and my fingers look terrible from dryness. Nonetheless, I'm still not too bad off for a week of camping in the Grand Canyon. Bear has taken good care of all of us.

It is very nice to sit here in what's now a perfect temperature and enjoy the pre-dawn lighting and not feel unbelievably tired like I'm used to at this hour. Maybe I should start going to bed earlier for those early tee times, I'd love to feel this refreshed for them. I guess I got near 9 hours of sleep again last night.

6 AM

A big difference in light for just a few minutes. There are still a few little bats flying around. I took a picture of the moon and a nearby planet (not able to tell which one) with Dad's camera (which apparently didn't turn out) and a picture of a sleeping Bear with my night cam PIC. The night cam has 26 pix left, the most of any cam we have, so I'm going to use it to sort of document camp life.

George's Car Information Advice - AllData

12 Noon
Lunch stop
MILE 202

We found a place for lunch just upstream from a nice canyon, but we're in the sun. Our other spots have all been in the shade, and this time we had to break out a big umbrella that I didn't even know we had along. This our last lunch on the river, the first in a long string of 'lasts'!

This morning was Lava Falls morning - after an 8:30 push-off we were going over the falls at 9:30. We waited for the other boat and let them climb on the bank next to the falls for pictures. PIC Then we went through - I took a pic with the wet cam on the way in. Kathy and I sat in the very front, and Ray, Mike, Dad, Gary, Douglas, and Horst (in his normal spot) sat arrayed just behind us. There really was a lot of water, and you could see how it would be very dangerous for an unskilled guide or a boat with no power. There were some really big waves. We hit a couple - a lot of cold dirty water all over us. My sunglasses held the water for what seemed like forever - then the water would drain some and I'd see the face of another wave we were about to hit. Bear pulled us out into an eddy and we stopped for pictures of the other boat when it came through Bear popped a bottle of champagne and we all shared a toast to the rapid.

Then, the other boat came through and we took pictures that show the size of the waves and the contortions of the raft. (On the way in, almost done, and out!) Our photography platform wasn't that steady - we were tied to the bank but stayed on the boat as some small waves made us feel like we were at the beach.

(Some Lava Falls-related pictures by Dad: Vulcan's Anvil stood in the middle as the ominous precursor to Lava Falls, a nice shot of the morning light on the Canyon walls, and four better-quality pictures of the other raft: entering in the distance, hitting one of the first waves, almost hidden by water, and on its way out.)

We stopped at a small spring and collected quite a few gallons of the clearest water we've seen in a while. We were soon off again. (Here's Kathy suited up as we join the river again just below Lava Falls.)

Today we saw our first views of the giant lava flows that had closed off the Canyon from time to time. One more type of rock! For the most part, we have motored along in flat water with only an occasional small rapid. We still manage to get wet on the front, nonetheless. The sun has been hiding behind clouds every now and then but I put on a lot of sunscreen since it is generally doing a good job of frying us. And the breeze blowing through the canyon is keeping us too cool to know how burnt we might be getting.

5:15 PM
7th Camp Stop
MILE 223
About two miles upstream from Diamond Creek

Picture from this campsite & my sketch

The wind surely has been tough all afternoon. It turned tiny splashes into full-boat sprays since we were going right into it the whole way downstream. It has blown tents around and is blowing sand everywhere - but hopefully not into the steaks Bear has cooking on the grill!

The wind also blew my camo hat off while we were on the river. I was trying to climb from the back of the boat to the front (and directly into the wind) and it just got yanked off my head and gone into the water in a heartbeat. I had the tie under my chin, but I turned my head around for a second and that's when the wind took it. That was a shame. I really liked that hat. I was going to use it for my golf hat.

We have another good camp site, although this one was a little thin on great tent sites. Rita and Ray have a cool one right on the water on a small peninsula near the kitchen. Dad and mine is in a small opening in some 7' to 8' tall brush that is all around this site.

We passed back and forth with the other boat and had a short-lived water fight. They stopped at an overhang at MILE 213 and climbed up to jump off into the river. It was about a 25' or 30' drop. We watched a few do it and then we went on ahead. No one in our group was too interested in doing it.

We were all just covered with river dirt as we pulled in. We had all been splashed all day with the sand-filled water and had been using it to wash our hands and clothes with for a while. When Bear pulled in a little early, I think everyone decided to take a bath - in that same dirty water! I took one, too - my first one in a few days. I certainly feel better now. I took a piece of soap and my shampoo out into the river and washed my hair and scrubbed down. It may be my imagination but it seemed like th water was a little bit warmer. I do feel cleaner and I think I smell better. Now it's time for a steak dinner - our last in the Grand Canyon (at least for 1999!)