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The Dream Trip: Camp 10, March 9 “The Cold and Windy Day”

Saturday, April 17th, 2010

It is always hard for me to want to get up early when it is raining outside the tent. Staying in bed and talking is great morning stuff. Breakfast was cold rice pudding, (The coconut milk idea was a good one.) hot cocoa and biscotti. We finally got on the river by about 11 am.
I was proud of my totally dry run of Ruby Rapid and nearly dry run of Serpentine. Serpentine is a big and violent rapid. Our first trip through it in 1992 we were totally clueless and our boatman took us over one of the big ledge pour overs on the upper right side of things. I broke my tail bone in that kerchunk. It took most of the next winter to get right again.

As the day went on the rain got worse. Lee suffered from the cold even with her dry suit on so I put her to rowing so she could generate some warmth. It didn’t work out so well because the rowing was stressing he back so she went back into passenger mode. She didn’t complain at all and kept remarking on how totally beautiful the Canyon is in winter. It truly was one of the most beautiful days either of us have spent in the Canyon. I guess that rain and cold was the price of admission. It reminded us of a day in December 2002 when we floated along from the Little Colorado to Carbon Creek where the rest of our group had gone to set up camp and get warm while we hiked up the south side of the LC. We were spellbound as we watched the snow swirl around us in the eddies. It was magic. A lot of this day was like that. The clouds, heavy with rain and ice, hung low on the ramparts sometimes obscuring them and sometimes revealing them. The lost and found quality of the scenery was wonderful even when we had to row into driving rain laced with sleet. We kept remarking at how lucky we were to get to be there and do it on that day.

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This last image is of a rock on river right just above Bass Rapid that Lee describes as her favorite rock in the canyon. It is the one she wants in our back yard.
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After a short stop at mile 111 to look at some amazing fluted rocks we ran Hakatai, Waltenberg and Rancid Tuna Rapids as dry as possible on a cold and rainy day. Around the corner at about mile 113-114 I shot these scenes as the light and clouds changed.

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The fluting, did I mention the fluting?

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It was a day for craning the neck.
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After passing Elves Chasm with out stopping we started looking for camp in ernest in Stephens Aisle. There are some ledgy places there and I hoped we would find a sheltered camp big enough for one boat. No luck so we camped at mile 118 which is a big camp with a flat sandy beach. It does have some ledges but not close to the river and we were not excited about humping all our kitchen gear way up under the sandstone so we set up our kitchen right by the boat. By the time we got to camp Lee was in early stages of hypothermia. I set up the tent as quickly as I could and got her into dry long johns and the sleeping bag. Being out of the wind was a big help. I threw together a green chili stew made from a can of green chili with pork chunks and some potatoes and onions. She was very happy with that and cheered up a lot as we ate in the tent. Lee does not complain much about anything but I could tell her back was hurting and she was obviously very cold. I’d have been howling like a baby.
Sitting in the tent together was very nice. It was really nice to have a bomb proof tent. The rain continued through the evening as we journaled and read. It was a truly glorious day despite the weather. We both expressed how great it is to share a place like this with someone who sees it the way you do. Around every bend was another painting or photograph waiting for us. Even if we didn’t make any images the memories will be fresh for a long time.