River miles

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.
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.
Christa Jane Sadler, our trip leader, in one of her typical lecture poses. She is passionate about the river, the canyon and the geology.
The thorough and thoughtful botanist and boatman, Gary Bolton.
Greg Woodall Has been on the river for several decades and teaches a type of archeology that is heavy on ethnobotany.
Chris Denker came down from Alaska for his first time through GC rowing baggage.
The junior member of the crew and first timer Ben “Benovich” Anderson rowed bags also.
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.
Gary talking plant identification at Whitmore Wash.
Christa’s famous beach playdooh diorama lecture on the formation of Grand Canyon is a high light of every GCFI trip.
The Brittle Bush flowers give the Tonto Platform a yellow tinge in this view from the Inner Gorge.
Lots of wild critters running around. This little Collared Lizard was up Stone Creek.
Pulling into camp at Clear Creek.

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.
Linda Parr and CJ being cute on a hike.
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.
Somewhere in Grand Canyon this little pot sits undisturbed since it was set down a thousand years ago.
Marble Canyon reflections.
Bruce and Edna stunned to silence by another of CJ’s blathers.
Pat could make a good boatman…..with a lot of practice.
Mike Anderson (here with CJ) is a regular feature on GCFI river trips. He just retired from a career as Park Historian for GCNP.
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.
Denker gets lost in the foam right of the Ledge Hole.
CJ still afloat after getting slapped hard.
Gary coming out of the chute.
Greg getting whammed in the Vee.
Yolanda’s grin about says it all.

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12 Responses to “River miles”

  1. Parr Says:


    These pictures are terrific!! Thanks for taking the time to make them available to the campers. The more I think about this trip, the more I miss the river. It was a great good time. Take care.


  2. Fred and Susan Putnam Says:


    Many thanks for these excellent shots and narrative. We really appreciated the extensive knowledge you shared, answering all our questions with great detail, and for teaching us how to make pots the traditional way.

    Fred and Susan

  3. Kirk Says:

    Dear Joe- What a treat to find these in my email! I learned so much from you - the pinch pots, your readings, your stories, your inspiring words.

    I wish you godpseed and loving kindness with many thanks.


  4. Bruce & Edna Says:

    We concur with the others. We are especially impressed with the Lava Falls pictures!! We are sorry we missed seeing the little pot undisturbed.

    We have some jealousy in your repeating the experience - again - in June, but glad you will have your family with you!! Do well on Heritage Day and Stone Moving Day!!

    Bruce & Edna

  5. Mike & Florence Solan Says:


    These are great pictures! I think you are an artist with the camera also!

    Thank you for sharing your knowledge, experiences, and most especially for sharing your readings with us. It was joy to be with you on the river.

    Florence really likes her traditional pot that you taught her to make.

    Best regards,
    Mike & Florence

  6. Christa Sadler Says:

    Hi everyone! Thanks Joe for putting this up. I just got home from the San Juan with Greg. 95 degrees one day, snow flakes and flash floods the next. May in the Southwest! But these pictures remind me of our wonderful trip, so thank you for the reminder. I miss the canyon! Off to Alaska next (where Chris tells me it’s 75 degrees and sunny. And we just had snow. Go figure.)

    Love to you, CJ

  7. Pat Lucas Says:

    Hi Joe,

    Thanks for the lovely photos, brings back wonderful river memories! After being off the river for half a month, I’m ready for my next trip.


  8. Randile the Reptile Says:

    Thanks Pappa Joe. Wonderful warm photos. Especially appreciate the Lava closeups. There’s just no way of explaining the magic to someone until they drift downstream themselves. Until pushing off at Lees Ferry again ….

    - Randy

  9. Yolonda "Kolb" Youngs Says:

    Thank you, Joe, for these truly terrific photos! What an amazing trip. I’ll join in with the chorus of voices praising the cast and crew of our adventure and the canyon, that lovely canyon. You were a pleasure to boat with Joe and I appreciate the heart and soul you put into the trip. Makes for a very rich experience and all the more meaningful. Safe travels to you on your river journey this month and best of wishes to our floating tribe of canyoneers!

  10. Ambika B Says:

    It was good to see some of the folks from last year back on the river again ….. I am jealous :)


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