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 Four – Saturday, May 28
5 a.m. awake and moving and down to the kitchen for coffee, oatmeal and cantaloupe for breakfast. Breaking camp, packing sleeping bag, pillow and tarp into water-tight bag, and other stuff from my duffle, I realize I’ve brought two or three times more stuff than I needed. (ie, six pairs of socks instead of two, didn’t need the long johns or wool pants and shirt.) I rinse the sand out of my socks in the river every night and they are dry by morning.
Today I finally wore the rain suit to go through Hance Rapids, our first class 10 rapid – exciting. Nooned out below Hance Rapids for lunch, shot some photos of Maria contrasted against some big beautiful rocks she wanted me to identify for her (some schist and granite, I think). I had taken some photos of her in the Little Colorado River with her Nikon D-90 and she liked them, so I have shot more of her in various places. Hiked a mile up to Clear Creek Falls, more photos of Maria, and made camp 4:30-ish about a mile below at Zoroaster Campground, 85 miles downstream. Mary Lou still wears her watch and, out of habit, I keep asking what time it is – soon we’ll all be on river time and I’ll stop asking.
High winds today, at times gusting up to estimated 40 miles per hour, blowing Brie backward upstream a couple of times. Camp is in a nice location but the sand is whipping through in a high wind so we joined some others in a tent – Laurie, Rick, John, Vienna and Marie – for cocktail hour and story-telling. I brought wine: Bob’s chill-able red since his box got wet and we threw it out.
Later the wind died down and we have beef stir fry for dinner, then sat in the social circle, singing and listening. Before it got too dark, Brock read a story about a dog found in the Grand Canyon. Then the circle thinned and the hard-core party people continued; I left a little later and slept better than any night yet – it had been a long day and the libations relaxed me even more, I guess.