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 eighth installment in this series, written by Bob.
“Day Seven – Tuesday, May 31—Quote of the day: ‘If you see your boatman take his dark glasses and hat off, you better hold on,’ Brock’s advice for when we get on the river today.
A really delicious breakfast this morning: eggs benedict, except they used a piece of thick bread – it seemed like French toast – with a hole cut in the middle and the egg in the hole fried over easy so the yolk runs a little, drizzled with hollandaise sauce — is that what they use on eggs benedict? I think so. Whatever, it was gourmet good.
Ran some great rapids then stopped at Deer Creek Falls for lunch at mile 137. Big sandwich as usual, but first, photos of these spectacular falls, at least 150 feet high. After lunch hiked up and around the falls, about 300 feet above the river, and along a ledge high above the creek buried deep in a slot canyon it carved. About a mile to a resting place, then another half mile to campground under some cottonwood trees. Returned and lazed around in the shade on a shelf of rock by Deer Creek and watched people, ours and a bunch from another party. Back down to the boats and on down river a mile to Back Eddy Campground, all strung out along the beach at the base of a 200-foot wall, mile 137, a 17-mile day.
Hamburgers for dinner, grilled rare with all the fixings, then a big meeting afterward: Brock says he needs six people who want to paddle in the paddle boat. He got them, after a lot of discussion and later while enjoying my red wine and some Capt. Morgan spiced rum, a strange preacher-man wandered up and stood in the dark outside the circle and began shouting imprecations: ‘Beware the paddle boat, brothers and sisters, beware the pits of hell and damnation, for ye shall be thrown into the evil waters of the rapids and sucked under and suffering eternity in sulfurous hellfire and brimstone shall be thy fate. Stay off the cursed paddle boat brothers and sisters for it carries thee to thy doom, the wrath of the river’s demons knows no mercy…’ and some other quotes from Timothy and Thessalonians and Jeremiah, or maybe it was Leviticus, then returned into the dark from whence he came. Next morning the preacher didn’t remember saying any of that, or denied it anyway.
Got a cup of ice water and departed the party and found my way back to bed.”