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 seventh installment in this series, written by Bob.
“Day Six – Monday, May 30, Memorial Day – Quote of the day: ‘Let me entertain you…’ sung by Donna, one of the primo acts up Blacktail Canyon this afternoon.
The early coffee group recognized veterans in honor of Memorial Day. Very cold this morning, wearing my fleece and Vienna was wrapped in her sleeping bag. Haven’t worn any of the woolens I brought except one pair of wool socks which I wore once but are too hard to get on and off. The fake wool ones are working just fine.
Eggs, sausage and English muffin for breakfast, packed up and loaded boats – we get an assembly line going for unloading and loading the boats and it goes pretty fast. After a few mild rapids, walked up to Elves Chasm to a beautiful waterfall, got photos of five or six people who wanted their jump documented: Bob, Mary Lou, Vienna, Maria, Bruce and someone else.
Lunch at Big Dune, mile 119.5, steak sandwiches; a photogenic raven perched on a rock ledge above, waiting for an opportunity to snag something. Made camp early, 2-ish (people are joking, ‘Why do you care what time it is? We’re on river time; it’ll happen when it happens.’) at Blacktail Campground, mile120.5, went 11 miles today.
Got ‘home’ situated on a semi-level patch of sand with dead grass and a little shade from a small salt cedar, set up cot and a bunch of us hiked up Blacktail Canyon, a beautiful box canyon maybe 10 feet across in places, ended at a small falls, more a seep, but really cool here in the shade of the deep box – unlike out on the beach where it feels like 100 degrees.
Sat around in the shade, on a shelf of rock, demanding entertainment from all who passed – except a few from other boating parties who just looked at us strangely. Donna, Vienna, Frosty, Rick and Van took center stage until Chris showed up with his baritone ukulele and made some serious music, singing the blues; acoustics in the canyon are phenomenal. Got chilled and walked back to camp for my red wine and before the light faded took Maria and her camera back for more photos.
Spaghetti and meat sauce with vegetables for dinner.”