For those that wanted to get up early, a group left at 5 a.m. to hike up to the granaries. I wanted to go on the hike, but I needed the sleep more so didn't set my watch. I woke at 6 a.m. and could see them about 2/3 of the way up. I should have just left then because we stayed at camp for quite a while.
The ravens had been vicious during the night. They ripped apart two different trash bags, one with trash, which was sitting on the kitchen table, and one, which was stashed in one of rafts. Then this morning Maddy told me that a Raven also got into her camera bag and was ripping at the plastic bags holding her film.
Breakfast was Huavos Rancheros. Joel and I helped Ben prepare it. The eggs were kept in a plastic jar and frozen. Unfortunately they were still frozen when we were trying to cook them, but Joel found a method of smushing them to make them cook into a semblance of scrambled eggs.
|Little Colorado River|
I should mention that the self-bailing boats are a modern miracle. Last time we went down the river, we rode a manual bailing boat. In a rapid like Kwagunt, we would have been on the floor in a pool of water bailing as fast as we could to keep the raft light and maneuverable. The self-bailing rafts have an inflated floor, which is only lashed to the sides, letting water drain out quickly. The downside, of course, is that there is always an inch of water between the bottom and the sides.
We spent the rest of the morning rowing down to the confluence with the Little Colorado (mile 61). It was beautifully clear, an unearthly chalky blue. The color is so perfectly blue that it seems almost artificial. There were many groups already there when we landed, probably about six in all. Needless to say there were a lot of people along the banks of the river, breaking the solitude and tranquility, which normally accompanies us as we journey down the canyon.
We walked up the river to the rapids. On the way I saw a large fish leap all the way out of the water, not once, but twice. Despite the crowd the river was a lot of fun. The main activity was to jump into the Little Colorado River and ride downriver over little tiny waterfalls and between stones. It was like a natural water slide and water ride combined.
The technique was to take our life jacket and wear it with our legs through the armholes so that the main part of the life jacket is actually cradling our ass. This allowed us to easily go over partially submerged rocks or fully submerged rocks without bumping ourselves since the life jacket absorbed all the force. It also seemed to position the body more conveniently for sitting V-shaped in the water as we rode down the little waterfalls.
The first time through, I got water up my nose at the swiftest part of the rapids. The next time I held it and it was much better. What a blast. The only downside was that the sun had gone down behind some clouds while we were in the water, and although the Little Colorado River was warmer than the main river, it wasn't bathtub temperature by any means. And we got a little cold.
We had to wait for the kayakers to get there before lunch. They hiked up to the granaries after breakfast. When they had come back we floated down the river almost all the way to the boats. Joel and I got to the boats before the others, so we started getting lunch out. Paul also helped since he had been reading on his raft.
By the time we finished setting it up the others had arrived, all but Charles and Dave Y. Dave Y. had fallen asleep a mile upstream. They finally made it back as the rest of us were finishing. Lunch was smoked turkey legs. Kind of a strange lunch, but yummy.
|Sacred Hopi Salt Mines|
On the way down to the camp we saw many interesting geological features. The first was the sacred Hopi Salt Mines. These were seeps in the Tapeats sandstone that mostly had evaporated before the water reached the surface. The water however brings the salts from within the rocks to the surface. We passed several miles of these salt stains.
|First viewing of the Great Unconformity|
Lava creek is also interesting. The area looks blackened, I'm assuming from lava. The area is also at the intersection of a couple of faults. In several places you can see the uplifting of the rocks. On one fault that can be seen across the river there is a small mine, with a small gray talus slope below it.
Joel - "The characteristic alternation of the cliffs and sloped sections of the wall is obvious in all pictures of the Grand Canyon, including our own. What is less obvious, is that that same pattern is reflected at river level as well. As the river cuts through layer after layer moving downriver, the sides of the river also alternate between cliffs and slope. Marble Canyon, as we passed through the redwall, was the most obvious large section of cliffs that we passed so far. But where we camped last night, at Nankoweap, was a sloped section where the sides of the river sloped upwards to the walls of the canyon. Now, and just below the confluence of the Little Colorado River, we have once again traveled in a section of the river where the sides are cliffs."
|View at the top of Lava Creek|
|Old Fossils (including Fossilized algae)|
When Joel got back we had a dinner of grilled salmon and some fresh trout.
The bats came out early tonight, and there were tons of small insects for them up above the mesquite trees. A cool wind started blowing after the sun set. Today was a gorgeous day, a few clouds but mostly sun.
|Views from camp in the evening, at night, and in the morning|
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Please contact Daphne Gould for comments or problems.