colorado river / grand canyon, AZ

Grand Canyon Travel Blog

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cheers... nothing like a cold one with one of your best buds!

prior to rafting the colorado river, i had visited and hiked around the north and south rims of the grand canyon... the north kaibab trail, and descended once...about 3/4 of the way down the canyon from the south rim (along the bright angel trail). 

never did i imagine those experiences being measured so inadequate against the colorado river rafting trip of may, 2008.  23 rafters, 2 rafts, 4 guides, 8 days, hikes and hikes over 225 river miles.   

some of it seems so far away now,... but i remember THE PEOPLE, details and smears of color and texture, pattern, and flow... as if i were still sleeping on top of it all... and now they've been made a permanent part of my pillow.  rafting in May brought the full moon to our dusk camp,.

group hike overlooking a long stretch of the colorado river
.. and the canyon silhouette was the most dynamic frame of the cosmos i have ever seen.  we never could have anticipated the weather being as unpredicatble as it was (rained on and off for 3-4 days, and snow flurries actually reached the river!), but it all just added to the adventure.  we were all lucky to be in the canyon at that moment, and we knew it.

each day started with a tall boy of cowboy coffee, some gourmet b'fast by guide workhorses molly, jed, crystal & john,... day bag prep based on anticipated hike agenda, & general camp break-down and boat loading.  most days we averaged 10-13 hrs. from wake to camp dock which usually included about 30-35 miles of river rafting, lunch of course, and about 2 small/medium hikes or so.

lees ferry, colorado river drop-in
  much of the calm water floats got filled up by the guides with intriguing ol' john wesley powell stories, poetry, or tales of brave cowboys who got swallowed up by the river.  it didn't take but more than a day or so... my first night sleeping under the stars and alongside the GC white water band, to feel the canyon's full embrace, the river, and everything in it. 

looking back on day 1 and 2, i recall serious awe time on the water for all early on.  cameras were firing away... i think the feeling of complete immersion had begun.  off raft we spent a fair amount of time getting ourselves organized as a group... our trip leader held mini "orientations" where responsibilities were identified and ground rules were established.

  we also had some time to get to know each other.  unfortunately, we weren't allowed to gather around a campfire... new rules, ...a HUGE disappointment for me though.  just never imagined the trip without a campfire...and the opportunity to meet the people under that light...but i'm glad to have had no distraction from the moon and stars.

By day 3 or so, i realized i was going to have to be deliberate in carving out time for sketching everyday for the rest of the trip... we were kept so busy with the rafting and hiking that there wasn't much room for down time.  i appreciated that the guides were pushing us to experience as much as possible, but i definitely wanted to make sure to fit in the meditation, sketching...

slot canyon music...
and the breathing.  this, after all, is what really seems to give memory its color.  quickly figured out that the best i was going to do was use the time when the guides were preparing lunch and all the rafters were drying out.

we didn't see as much in the way of wildlife as i had hoped, but enjoyed close-ups of big horn sheep, falcons, bats, various desert lizards, toads along the slot hikes, turkey vultures, ravens, mule deer, and a nice condor flew over us as we were staged to start our trip.  what a gift that was.  the flora in the cayon was also surprising.  beautiful flowering plants and cactuses...  and a peculiar smelling brittlebush which i just had to try and smoke.  the mesquite plants were the canyon equivalent to a mangrove,... it seemed to me.  i also really enjoyed the sculptural nature of the agave plants which had such a strong gesture and color in the landscape. 

 

 

...to be continued...

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cheers... nothing like a cold one
…
cheers... nothing like a cold one…
group hike overlooking
a long str…
group hike overlooking a long st…
lees ferry, colorado river drop-in
lees ferry, colorado river drop-in
slot canyon music...
slot canyon music...
full moon on the colorado
full moon on the colorado
waterfall & swimming hole
waterfall & swimming hole
enjoying a wash...
enjoying a wash...
mary, randy, and I at the edge of …
mary, randy, and I at the edge of…
visitors...
visitors...
sketch at lunch time across rapid
sketch at lunch time across rapid
T, me, & rob... enjoying the crazy…
T, me, & rob... enjoying the craz…
a sketch relax... driftwood
a sketch relax... driftwood
the endless trance of stone patter…
the endless trance of stone patte…
edge of Redwall Cavern
edge of Redwall Cavern
evil schist layer...
evil schist layer...
sketch... mighty edges
sketch... mighty edges
desert stroll along a stream bed...
desert stroll along a stream bed...
waterfall along a slot canyon hike
waterfall along a slot canyon hike
agave plant... tequila!
...by r.b.
agave plant... tequila! ...by r.b.
an exposed section of the earths …
an exposed section of the earth's…
big, cold, and beautiful white wat…
big, cold, and beautiful white wa…
another unique perch in a slot dra…
another unique perch in a slot dr…
electric skies and rapid approach
electric skies and rapid approach
ancient puebloan granarie
ancient puebloan granarie
ancient puebloan granarie
ancient puebloan granarie
sketch...north rim
sketch...north rim
beautiful edges...white water ahead
beautiful edges...white water ahead
diamond peak...represents the esti…
diamond peak...represents the est…
floating in the little CO river
.…
floating in the little CO river …
rivers collide...CO & little CO
rivers collide...CO & little CO
quartz ribbon running through camp…
quartz ribbon running through cam…
side hike...
side hike...
composition 1... by r.b.
composition 1... by r.b.
composition 2... by r.b.
composition 2... by r.b.
136 km (85 miles) traveled
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photo by: Sunflower300