Grand Canyon - Day 3 - Friday 4/23/21

Woke early to try and get some star shots. Couldn’t get star mode to work on my camera, I’ll give it another try at Scout Summer Camp. Moonlight all night for the rest of this trip. Decided since I was up, I’d go back up to above the tree line to grab some more river and canyon shots. Heard the Shofar call announcing hot coffee and orange juice and scurried back to camp just in time for blueberry pancakes, sausage and real maple syrup. 

We packed up in preparation for the day, and rounded a few bends in the river and turned into a beach at the confluence of the Little Colorado River. 

Words nor pictures can fully describe the turquoise-blue river, its white banks and its beautiful setting. We spent the entire morning frolicking along it’s banks, body rafting it’s little rapids and climbing it’s step-like canyon walls. 

I swam the rapids 4 times, including a trip down the rocky side bumping my bum half way down to the exit pool. At 70° the water was a wonderful change of pace from the 45° Colorado splash water.

We then returned to our rafts for a short trip to a lunch spot across the river from the sacred Hopi salt deposits. Southwest wraps and chips were served as we explored the rocky beach where we found lizards and saw bats in small caves along the steplike walls.

On returning to our rafts we immediately dropped into the biggest rapids (6 out of 10 scale) we’d seen thus far: Carbon Canyon, Lava Canyon, Tanner, and Basalt. Most rapids are at the entrance to a wash or canyon where debris flows into the Colorado leaving rocks / boulders to give the water a reason to form rapids. 

The next rapid, Unkar, through my feet out from under me as the raft rose up out of the water. I fell flat on my face (what they call sucking rubber) only to find that Lauren, our 110-120 lb guide had jumped on top of me to keep me from falling off the raft. She’d thought I’d lost my hand holds ... like she’d be able to keep a 200 lb man from flying off the raft. I’m sure that was a sight to see. Ha Ha!

After a riffle and Escalade Creek we camped above Neville Rapid. The campgrounds as a windy beach, but we were able to setup camp behind a long sand dune. Steph, Don, Edwin, Rich, myself and our new friend Don H. Had room enough to setup a little cot enclave. Rich put up a clothesline using driftwood and rocks as not even scrub trees were available. I used my tripod, drybag and cot to do likewise.

As we were getting a bit ripe, and the salts from the lil’ Colorado were abrasive most everyone took 45° baths using camp soap and a few good dunks. 

Dinner was Burgers, Dogs (best darn sausages)  a continuation of great food and Dan’s awesome Dutch Oven Deserts. As always, the open air latrine was placed in a scenic location ... I’d have turned it around to get a better view of the river.

Getting an earlier night of sleep as tomorrow is Rapid Day because 40 rapids in 3 days is too slow a pace .... hmmmm!