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 fourth installment in this series, written by Bob.
Day Three – Friday, May 27 – Quote of the day: “I have explored only one hair of this cat called the Grand Canyon.” – An observation by Brock of a Northern Arizona University professor who had hiked some 20,000 miles in the Grand Canyon.
Coffee call at 5:30 a.m., breakfast at 6 or so, eggs over easy – or however you like them – cooked on a big griddle by Julia, the motorized mother ship captain, with sausage, cantaloupe and grapes.
The “groover” is visited by almost everybody before or after breakfast. It’s set up about 100 yards from camp in a secluded area and you need a “key” to use it: a blue float cushion. If the cushion isn’t by the wash station you wait; when the person using “groover” returns, you take the key with you for your turn. This system seemed to work pretty well; nobody was embarrassed that I know of.
A smooth, mild river today, only got drenched once. Hiked a mile or so up Saddle Canyon – 47-plus miles downstream – to a really beautiful waterfall, waded in butt-high water up a box canyon to get to it. Lunch when we got back then on down to the Little Colorado at 62 miles. Hiked up almost a mile and, using our life jackets as diapers, shot some neat little rapids into a deep pool. The water is a brilliant turquoise blue, warm enough to swim in. Got lots of photos, stayed until about 5 p.m., then on down river to Crash Canyon Camp at 63 miles. This one is a small, rocky, very crowded area. Set my cot up on a bunch of drift wood stuff, but it’s semi level.
Rode with Brie today and she let three of us row awhile in fairly calm water. I rowed for about an hour and have a new appreciation for Brie – and the other boatmen. She’s very strong, advised us we’d lose if we arm wrestled her and I believe it. She’s not all bulked up muscular, just very strong.
Chicken Cordon bleu for dinner.