Archive for April 15th, 2010

The Dream Trip: Camp 9, March 8

Thursday, April 15th, 2010

We were slow leaving our little ledge camp in the schist and granite. It seems that as we went down the river the one-boat camps just kept getting better. Maybe we just got better at spotting them. This one was a jewel.
Granite Falls was our first rapid and happens to be my favorite one to run in the canyon. Our run on day eleven was no exception; big waves and lots of adrenaline.
library-14168.jpg queen_of_the_colorado.jpg library-14172.jpg

Looking down stream towards Granite Falls in the morning. Lee enjoying a boat washing ride through Granite Falls with Mike Levitt on our Tour West charter trip in 2008. Do you think this woman likes riding through big water? (photo credit Howard Bennion) Looking back upstream at Granite Falls.

After Granite it was Hermit Rapid which I mostly cheated on the right and Boucher Rapid. We pulled in and scouted Crystal Rapid not wanting to mess up there. We were on weekend water and it was low which usually indicates a left run. I have gotten into trouble a couple of times over on the left and decided to make the center to right momentum run that I usually do. I was concerned about one nasty looking fang rock barely below the surface just upstream and toward the shore from the lower right hole in the rapid. We had a pair of electric bilge pumps mounted in the rear of the boat between the rear drop bag and a beavertail. I executed the pull to the right OK but pulled back a little out of concern about hitting that rock and possibly damaging the pumps. Well, the river shot us right back into the main stream and I could see that we would hit the hole dead center so I straightened out and pushed into it telling Lee to hunker down. The boat tacoed and filled with river. I usually push left of the rock island when running right in the upper rapid. This time, with a boat load of water, I limped along the right side which was pretty bony with the low water. I was more glad than ever for those pumps. I had switched them on going into the rapid. Below Crystal I eddied out and waited for the boat to drain. It took a loooong time.
Below Crystal there is a little break in the action and then it is Tuna Creek, Nixon Rock and the “Gems”. Nixon Rock is named that because it is “a little right of center and crooked”.
The sun was on and off all that day so we staked out a patch of it on river right below Nixon Rock and had a lunch of cottage cheese, canned pineapple and assorted snacks on the boat. The early Gems were uneventful except for the fact that I cheated most of them. (Lee loves that.) Below Turquoise we pulled over and made camp on a tiny beach with a high bedroom at mile 102.5 on river right.
library-14179.jpg library-14191.jpg library-14206.jpg

Upstream view from Hermit with snow on the high country. Looking up stream at “Nixon Rock from our lunch spot. In the Gems above Turquoise.

library-14216.jpg library-14218.jpg library-14220.jpg
Lee asked me to pull over in the Gems and get some images of this little moss garden she spied.
library-14226.jpg library-14249.jpg library-14243.jpg
It was a nice day, excitement at Crystal notwithstanding. I love the granite dikes running in clusters all over the place through this section. The lost and found sun light made for some dramatic scenes.

library-14260.jpg library-14253.jpg library-14254.jpg
Our camp at 102.5 was very quiet, a quality Lee favors. If I am with a group I like a noisy rapid so I can retire early and not be kept awake with all the talking. If no one else is around the silence is golden. We had leftover lasagna and the last of our green salad. I whipped up a rice pudding using coconut milk for dessert. We were early to bed as the night chill set in. The stars were brilliant at bed time and I wanted to sleep out under them but Lee won that argument handily. Of course as soon as were settled in the clouds rolled in and it rained all night.