The Dream Trip: Camp 11, March 10

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Stephen’s Aisle is named for a Moorish guy named Esteban who traveled with the Spanish who came into the American Southwest. I don’t think he ever got to the Grand Canyon, in fact he was killed by the people at Zuni Pueblo. Conquistador Aisle is similarly misnamed but who cares?
We were not contemplating these ideas as we arose on the day after the cold and rainy day. We had slept somewhat poorly. We went to bed at 8 pm and went right to sleep. We were awakened at 11:30 pm by a strange crashing noise. I scrambled up and ran down to the boat to make sure all was well. I couldn’t find out what made the noise but it set me on edge and I didn’t relax very well after that. We didn’t get on the water until 11:30 am. The weather was improved but not warm and sunny.
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Right on the corner where Stephens Aisle turns into Conquistador Aisle Lee spied a cool garden of mosses and saw grass. We pulled over and I spent some time getting shots of the plants for her to paint from at home.

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As we floated down Conquistador Aisle the clouds kept pouring down over the Kaibab rim to the west as the sun was trying to make headway in the eastern sky. I was doing my best to keep Lee dry as we worked our way through the small splashy rapids in that section. Years ago she and I were floating through Conquistador Aisle not paying attention when I was bucked out in 122 mile rapid. I had drifted in sideways and rolled right out of the boat, Of course Lee jumped to the oars and handles the boat until I could pull my soggy bottom back into the boat.

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We stopped at Randy’s Rock for lunch and decided to make it camp as the sky darkened and snow poured over the rim into the canyon. Randy’s has nice sandstone ledges that overhang the camp and make for a nice sheltered kitchen and sitting area.

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Randy’s Rock is one of those pieces of real estate in Grand Canyon that is named for a hapless boatman who messed up there. Here is the story of Randy Breckenridge. The version of this story that I am familiar with was not written by one of Randy’s friends and has Randy handing the oars over to a passenger and then going to sleep as the peop takes the boat left at the infamous rock.

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After setting up camp, which was a grunt because of the distance from the boat to the ledges, we had lunch and Lee convinced me to go for a walk up through the Tapeats ledges onto the Tonto platform above. We got some great views up and down stream and I found a like new pair of NorthFace gloves….river booty. By then the snow had pulled back and it was OK for an overcast day.

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After the hike Lee made her favorite pasta dish which consists of fresh broccoli with spaghetti, garlic, hard cheese and olive oil. We supplemented the dish with some spicy precooked chicken sausage. This was day thirteen and we were still able to have fresh broccoli without ice. That is one of the nice things about winter trips.

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5 Responses to “The Dream Trip: Camp 11, March 10”

  1. Lost Coyote Says:

    Looks cold

  2. Bill Merrow Says:

    Great shot of the turn into Conquistador Aisle - love this area and the way you framed the Tapeats cliff coming out of the water behind the saw grass is really nice.

  3. Kevin Nelson Says:

    I was scanning the Internet and happened to see your post on Randy’s Rock. I was a friend of Randy’s and I appreciate the link to my blog on what happened that day. I should know because I was on the raft when it flipped and I was an eyewitness. However, your comment that Randy was a hapless boatman is a careless distortion of his legacy (he’s dead now). Randy was a great, great boatman who rafted the Colorado and many other big rivers with courage and skill. As good as he was on the water, he definitely made a mistake that day, but who among us has not screwed up every now and then? Take care. I enjoyed your blog.

  4. Joe Says:

    Hi Kevin,
    I hope that nothing in my characterization of Randy Breckenridge would be construed to mean that he was not a good boatman. Hapless means ill-fated, unlucky or unfortunate. Having rowed the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon 45 times now I can tell you that anyone who does that has my respect. Anyone who has done it very many times will agree that luck, good fortune, call it what you may is a big part of what gets you through. Randy was unlucky that day, but certainly not a poor boatman. BTW, I like your blog.

  5. https://sites.google.com/view/reversecommissions Says:

    You are my inspiration , I own few web logs and rarely run out from to brand.

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