We moved camp again on day twenty three, taking a quick breakfast of cold cereal and apples before pushing off at 9:30. The night had been warm and clear with no wind so we slept out.
On the water we floated down to Spring Canyon at mile 204. We filled our six gallon jug in the clear side stream there and commenced a hike up the canyon.
The first quarter mile of Spring Canyon is a jungle of willows and bramble infested with snakes that come to feed on the abundant rodents living in the brush. It is slow going and weeds out all but the most curious boaters. Past the water source things open up and the vegetation returns to its usual desert flora. We hiked a ways and stopped to rest, eating what snacks were left in Lee’s day pack. We had not consciously taken any food thinking that the whole hike would be two hours or less. We kept thinking we would go just a little farther to see what was around the next bend and things looked so good that we would decide to go a little more. It began eating up the whole day. Below are some of the small wonders we ran into.
About the time we thought we would turn around we came to a fork in the canyon and just had to see what was up the right side. Almost imedeately we entered into some very nice narrows in the Bright Angel Formation. It was a wonderland. I still can’t get over how beautiful it was. We had not expected anything this sweet up Spring Canyon so there was that sense of discovery again.
Back at the boat we ran Mile 205 and had a late floating lunch as we drifted toward 209. We had planned to stop at 209 (Granite Park) but there was a group there so we floated down to 210 and made camp. Our bed was very near this Sand Verbena and the smell was heavenly as we bedded down under the stars again.
Day twenty four was Sunday and a layover. We had been affording ourselves the luxury of a Sunday layover all the way along, but with as much slack time as we now had they were becoming more frequent. As mentioned above many trips by this point in the canyon are :smelling the barn” and moving through at a pretty good clip, partly because the trip is winding down and they are focused on home and partly because, at least in the warm weather, it is beginning to be pretty hot that far down the canyon. For us it was finally getting warm enough to really enjoy.
After a grand slam breakfast of eggs, blueberry pancakes, fruit and Spam we held a devotional service of sorts and went for a walk up the side canyon coming in at mile 110.
As we moved up through the BA layers we came to a dramatic pour over in the Muav that formed a bowl with amazing acoustics where our exploration terminated. We stayed there for a long time eventually eating a lunch of dried meat, fruit and nuts. We watched the light change as the day flowed by talking, not talking and reading from the Butchart book. It was a very nice way to spend the time in our “fun bank”. Of course naps were in order.
Heading down there was no need to hurry so we lolled around checking out pools from last week’s rain and taking lots of photographs. I was agin impressed by the endless variety in the Bright Angel in this lower end of the canyon.
Endless variety in the jumble of geological decay as the forces of gravity have their way on the material laid down and lifted up over the past…wow, and wow again.
Back in camp we bathed and made two pizzas, one with red sauce and one with caramelized onion and pine nuts. We made sure that there would be enough for the next day’s lunch. Even with Lee’s pizza appetite is the best sauce. Later we read by fire light, burning a piece of pinyon we had been hoarding since the eddy below Badger Creek at mile 8. The stars came out in force and chased us up the hill to bed next to the Sand Verbena.