River Life – an overview

co-river1 . . . and so we begin our 11 day, 10 night adventure on the Colorado River. We’ll eat, raft, hike, eat,drink, eat, sleep  . . . EASY!!!        Here is an overview. 036  As we head out everyone claims a space. . . we won’t see any signs of civilization for 6 days . . .037  until we pass under the bridge near Phantom Ranch.038  One of the main concerns will be to STAY DRY as we pass through over 200 rapids during our journey. When you get hit by a ‘wall of water’ it finds a way inside even the best rain suit and the water is VERY ‘COLD !!!! No rain booties, here’s a way to improvise!039  Although we didn’t see any signs of ‘modern life’ we did see building ruins and graineries such as this one left by ancient dwellers who made the canyon their home.040  We had 24 rafters spread across two rafts. Eight of us from WI and sixteen from a hiking club out of Surprise, AZ. Nice people!!!041 During the day the sun could be EXTREMELY hot as we floated down the river, experiencing very little shade or breeze. It was a constant battle to stay dry from the rapids and yet keep your skin protected. Here Johnny demos the latest in complete river wear.042 Lots of geologic wonders including this lava tube formation, all that was left from an eroded volcano.  043Between the 8 of us seniors from WI and the 16 seniors from AZ there were lots of ‘potty stops’. Peeing was always done in the river NOT in the toilets. The ‘rule’ was, when we stopped the men went downstream from the boat to pee and the women went upstream. Although it seemed like the men just went wherever they wanted and was the most convenient!!! By the second day most modesty of any kind was a thing of the past!!!  044 Here was a ‘natural’ hot tub we passed along the way. You can spot it on a satellite view from space!045  Our five guides were up from dusk, when they yelled the ever awaited “Coffee!!!” at 6:30am,  until well after dark everyday. Once in a while while we hiked they might catch a cat nap.046  We did see a few other outfitters on the river. Here is a ‘J’ boat made up of tubes lashed together. The rafters sit much higher than we did and these rafts tend to produce ‘swimmers’ when crossing challenging rapids.

. . . what can cause you to become a swimmer . . .watch this!!!

Sometimes when the smaller rafts flip in the rapids they may lose something that has not been tied down.

Here is a thrilling rescue!!!


Actual carvings in the rock left from the John Wesley Powell expeditions.048  Each morning, and sometimes several times a day, we would have a geology lesson regarding what we were seeing along the way. VERY helpful and informative.049  Dewey explaining what’s up ahead.

Here is a live example050  Everyone wore a life jacket while on the boat and each had the name of a geologic feature along the way as a helper for you to remember which was yours.051

052   053  Lets stop for lunch . . . 054

1 down, 199 more rapids to go!!!

How about reversing direction in mid rapids!!
Our guides would describe each rapids as a One Hander Or Two Hander, meaning hold on with one or BOTH hands in order to stay on the boat!!!055   056  A mini example of how water and wind cut the Grand Canyon. Although this 6 foot example was probably cut in one day, it took 5 million years for the Canyon to achieve it’s current depth. Wind and water erosion removed only a paper’s width of a layer per year . . .057   . . .  and this is the result.058 Along the river John would read us passages from the Powell Expedition of what they had observed at particular points. Not much has changed since those early explorations. 059  There we areas of ‘green’ but not much. When we found one big enough, it usually became our camp for the night.

060  Oh boy . . . 061 An example of an area we might stop at for a hike lasting anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour.062   063An example of a GREAT lunch stop . . .064   . . . a natural amphitheater!!!065An hour late we would be back on the river . . .066 . . . taking in the views.