Bob Zache, a longtime Arizona resident, went on his first Grand Canyon whitewater rafting trip in May 2011. The 75-year-old adventurer kept a journal of his 10-day oar-powered trip through the heart of the Grand Canyon. He and Grand Canyon Whitewater would like to share this story with you, from the days before his launch all the way through to the sorrowful goodbyes at journey’s end.
Here’s the eleventh installment in this series, written by Bob.
“Day Ten – Friday, June 3 – Quote of the day: ‘Parting is such sweet sorrow,’ somebody paraphrasing Shakespeare, taking leave of a new friend at the Bar 10 Ranch.
Up early to repack our stuff into our own duffle bags and put all of Grand Canyon Whitewater’s stuff into one of their water tight bags — all but the life vests because we still have two miles on the river.
Then an excellent final breakfast of a Dutch oven omelet sort of thing with muffins, chopped ham, pineapple with cream sauce and apple slices. Sat around an hour visiting, talking, taking more photos, saying more goodbyes. Finally, got on the boats and floated the last two miles to the at Whitmore Wash, got checked in, luggage flown out first, then six at a time, flew out on the chopper to Bar 10 Ranch, nine miles north from the North Rim. Checked in there and got our flight pass on Vision Airlines, departing at 10:40 a.m.
We have an hour to take a shower – in water just slightly less cold than the river — make a sandwich, buy any last minute souvenirs, take more photos and say our goodbyes. These 21 people, mostly strangers when we started, have become friends in the past 10 days and some of the goodbyes are touching, hence the ‘Parting is such sweet sorrow,’ line from Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, a little out of context but understandable.
Our turn in the van came and we were driven to the air strip less than a mile away and shortly boarded a Vision Airlines twin-engine commuter plane for Marble Canyon. Others are flying to Las Vegas for their return home.
Back at Marble Canyon Lodge, Becky and Allison’s car needed a jump start, then Steve and Donna, Bob, Mary Lou, Frosty and I piled in my van and Bob drove most of the 296 miles back, Frosty and I craftily having had more than one beer each. Already we’re missing the river.”