It's time to get on the river. Angela and I are standing at the former site of Lee's Ferry, where approximately 100 years ago it was the only way across the river for hundreds of miles. It's still the access point of choice for people taking a boat through the Grand Canyon.
As you can see, we are both opting for the shaded-from-the-sun look right now. Angela later changed to a sunscreen approach on the river, but I pretty much stuck to being covered in the boats (I changed to shorts/shirt when hiking). It was hot, sure, but at least I didn't get burned.
On the first day, we passed under the new and old Navaho Bridges. Hours earlier we had walked across the old bridge as the bus taking us to Lee's Ferry passed over the new bridge. There are several California Condors living in the rocks near the bridges, released there as part of a program to bring the birds back to the wild.
Here's our campsite on the first night. Most of us slept under the stars (no tent); this night was a little chilly, but the evenings got progressively hotter as we progressed into the canyon. This night's camp was on rock, but all other camps were on sand. This is better for sleeping, but less pleasant for keeping sand out of our stuff.
The start of Day 2, our first full day on the river. This is Boulder Narrows, so named for the boulder blocking a good part of the river.
That's me, in the front of one of the four oar boats. An "oar boat" means the four passengers sit still as the guide works themselves silly. We also had a single paddle boat on the trip, where six passengers paddle themselves silly as the guide steers and paddles and shouts out commands on how and when to paddle. There were a number of good rapids on this day; Kim, our guide, is getting ready for some rapids in this picture.
Here's the folks in the paddle boat. As you can see, the paddler in front of the boat has lost his paddle at this moment.
Our first hike was rather early in the morning, up North Canyon. Look at the tiny people in the big, big canyon. And this is just a minor little side canyon of the Grand one...
A well camouflaged lizard.
The rather scummy pond at the end of our hike.
When we stop for lunch, all the guides and assistance gather around the table, doing their culinary magic. The food on the trip was fantastic; despite the paddling and hiking, I don't think anyone lost any weight while working our way down the river.
This pinnacle and the rapid below it are known as "Indian Richard". If you want to shorten the name, you do so at your own PC risk...
When we camp for the night, we took a steep little hike above the camp site to see some fossils and this Century Plant. It doesn't bloom very often; hence the name. Native Americans used to harvest the prickly part before the stem extended and ground it up into a sort of flour.
A nice view. I don't know where on Day 2, honestly, but what does it matter?
The start of Day 3. This is Faye, our fearless trip leader demonstrating proper technique for using the "facilities" while on the river.
We're floating down the river, seeing some of the caverns the river dug out thousands of years ago.
Our first hike of Day 3 started with a steep little climb, leading to this lovely view back up river.
This is the part of the side canyon we're hiking where you have to walk through the water.
The water was rather refreshing, really.
The very end of the hike required a significant scramble up this rock. This is Angela, working her way back down.
After arriving at the camp, most of us hiked up the canyon
wall to see a place where the Anasazi stored grain.
We sat up there for a few minutes, enjoying the cool of the evening.
On the evening of our third day, these mule deer stopped by to visit our camp. Apparently they realized we'd brought our own food and no hunting rifles. That night each camper grilled their own steak or other items for dinner, and Kevin (the king of the paddle boat) started reading us bedtime stories.
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