Archive for May 18th, 2008

Dory Rescue

Sunday, May 18th, 2008

On or about April 22 a dory was parked in the right side of Deubendorf Rapid in Grand Canyon. We arrived there to camp just as the park rangers were preparing to extract the craft. Apparently the boaters and other rangers had tried unsuccessfully to get the boat out at the time that it was pinned. When we got there it had been on the rock for about ten days.
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Evening of May second with 15K cfs running through the dory.
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I think I heard a math whiz say that the boat had something like 40 tons of pressure on it from the river. If that is the case the Aluminum dory gets the prize for durability.
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In the morning the parkies got busy pretty early taking advantage of the lower night time flows.
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Cool hi-tech dry suits and radio equipped helmets.
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The whole operation was conducted with the utmost attention to safety. The guy down stream has a river board, throw rope and is patched into the radio system.
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A tight line is used to move people and gear between shore and the wreck.
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The boat’s owner, who has had to extract this thing before, suggested to the park service that they use a pry bar with their winch to jiggle the boat off the rock.
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The rangers hooked the stern to a big battery operated winch pulling directly toward the shore.. The bow also had a manual winching system pulling up stream.
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When the hatches could be opened gear was hauled ashore on the tight line.
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The ranger on board holds up the prize. It is not known if the rescue operation would have been attempted if this beverage was not known to be on board.
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As soon as they could get the up stream gunwale out of the water the boat was bailed out as much as possible using buckets and a hand operated bilge pump.
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After unloading and bailing the dory was winched the rest of the way in to shore.
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It was a truly strange sight to see this great old boat flying out of the canyon.

River miles

Sunday, May 18th, 2008

Just back from another Grand Canyon Field Institute trip through the GC on the Colorado River. The past week has been a blur of glazing pots, loading the kiln, firing and planting more garden. Then there are the honey-do’s. I am taking a much needed day of rest (Sunday) and will be starting the firing cycle again on Monday in preparation for the Heritage Day sale on May 24. After that we will be moving Lee’s studio over here from our old place, more gardening, a big stone moving party on May 31 and starting to prepare and pack for the next GC trip which will be our charter.
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Rigging at Lee’s Ferry April 22.
THe GCFI trip was great as usual. I worked with people who I love and respect and the guests were above average. The Canyon is always terrific. The people are what makes the trip. The flowers were outrageous after the winter rains. The wind was hard and usually up-canyon, but what do you expect in April? It was a fairly cool trip temperature wise. I think I slept inside my bag every night and wore a cap to bed a lot of the time. The Canyon is always wonderful.
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Christa Jane Sadler, our trip leader, in one of her typical lecture poses. She is passionate about the river, the canyon and the geology.
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The thorough and thoughtful botanist and boatman, Gary Bolton.
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Greg Woodall Has been on the river for several decades and teaches a type of archeology that is heavy on ethnobotany.
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Chris Denker came down from Alaska for his first time through GC rowing baggage.
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The junior member of the crew and first timer Ben “Benovich” Anderson rowed bags also.
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THe trip, as mentioned, was a GCFI class so there were lots of lectures every day. Here Greg is going on about old time Indians at Hilltop Ruin.
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Gary talking plant identification at Whitmore Wash.
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Christa’s famous beach playdooh diorama lecture on the formation of Grand Canyon is a high light of every GCFI trip.
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The Brittle Bush flowers give the Tonto Platform a yellow tinge in this view from the Inner Gorge.
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Lots of wild critters running around. This little Collared Lizard was up Stone Creek.
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Chuckwalla
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Pulling into camp at Clear Creek.
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Smoke on the water and fire in the sky…April 29 some campers let their fire get away and 2K acres burned on the South Rim. As we rowed against killer upstream winds into Hance Rapids the sun was obscured giving the whole scene an otherworldly feel.
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Linda Parr and CJ being cute on a hike.
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In early March the BuRec released 40K second feet of water in an attempt to build beaches. This one at Little Nankoweep was a success. At other places camps were diminished or rendered too steep to use.
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Somewhere in Grand Canyon this little pot sits undisturbed since it was set down a thousand years ago.
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Marble Canyon reflections.
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Bruce and Edna stunned to silence by another of CJ’s blathers.
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Pat could make a good boatman…..with a lot of practice.
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Mike Anderson (here with CJ) is a regular feature on GCFI river trips. He just retired from a career as Park Historian for GCNP.
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Blacktail.
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Big water is not the primary reason I return to the Canyon but it sure adds to the experience. Benovich breaks through the Vee Wave at Lava Falls here.
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Denker gets lost in the foam right of the Ledge Hole.
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CJ still afloat after getting slapped hard.
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Gary coming out of the chute.
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Greg getting whammed in the Vee.
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Yolanda’s grin about says it all.