Getting comfortable in our new homeIt had been two years, and Ryan (Fish) Cole and I were due for our Grand Canyon fix. This time Fish pulled the permit for our warmest trip yet, we would depart in the middle of February. Our journey would take 28 days and, as always, would be packed full of good friends and fun adventures.
Project Mayhem getting packed up in Granite COThe participant list grew, shrunk, and changed multiple times. It was amazing how hard it was to lock down rafters for a full month, even if it was for the Grand Canyon. The final blow was Rachel Day epic-ly crashing her bicycle with less then a week from launch date.
Mustache March in full force Here is a quick blow by blow of the trip:
we got to observe a full lunar cycle
Day 1, Fish’s bus arrives to Lee’s Fairy, we unload a TON of gear and pack it into seven rafts.
Koreen Padken, taking a dive at House RockDay 2, Only seventeen miles into our trip we had our first swimmer. Koreen Padjen ejected herself at House Rock. Coincidentally, I had removed myself from my raft there almost exactly four years previous.
Austin Nickle, Jed Policky, Ryan Cole, Joselin Reeves jamming out at Redwall Cavern
Vasey’s ParadiseDay 3, Vasey’s Paradise, and Redwall Cavern, we stayed at Redwall until the sun dipped back behind the towering canyon wall.
Jake Rehn enjoying some winter weather at Red Wall Cavern
Day 4, Camped on a tiny spit of land, the wind picked up, and my tent and sleeping bag went tumbleweeding into the river. Thankfully, the tent and DriDown sleeping bag dried out completely in only a few hours.
The peninsula that I called home
Nankoweap the classic view
Nankoweap in the evening double click to check it out in full screen, I like the moon in the corner
Day 5, Lay over and photo session at Nankoweap.
Just another evening in the ditch
Bocce!Day 6, Windy 18 mile day, amazing super tall red walls at camp, lots of bocce ball.
pretty cool what are eyes can’t perceiveDay 7, First flip. Basalt hole at mile 69 1/2 has a rather large hole on the left hand side. Luckily, I was less then 50 feet away and got a great view of Chad and Annika as their boat rolled over.
Great Grey HeronDay 8, Close calls everywhere, Koreen almost flipped end over end onto my raft in Sockdolager. We stopped for a quick post card exchange at Phantom Ranch and were dejected by the clerk who was sold out of stamps.
Austin Nickle making his way into Horn CreekDay 9, Second flip, Koreen got spun entering into Horn Creek lost her angle and went huge in the hole at the bottom. To add more entertainment, Jake and Josolin hit the bottom hole almost perfectly sideways and cleared all the water out of the hole… I still can’t figure out how Jake’s boat stayed right side up.
Jake Rehn and Joselin Reeves miraculously stayed upright
Jake Rehn and Joselin Reeves with a cleaner lineDay 10, Crystal claimed our third flip, as all of us ran left Kelly caught a big part of the left wall and flipped.
Kelly Bergdolt enjoying one of her rescued beers after her flip at Crystal
Stanley Low Life’s for life! Day 11, WILD! Lower Bass camp entertained with horseshoes and bocce ball.
Jed Policky making his way through HermitDay 12, The guide book says to go right at Bed Rock… Good thing I don’t have a guide book. Jed, Austin, and I all charged left for the sporty line.
another adventure of a life timeDay 13, A 10 mile day with Deubendorff, everyone’s lines were distinctly different, and everyone came out laughing about “the big hole they crushed.”
Snow, cactus, and the Colorado river
Hiking up Thunder River
Thunder River as it falls out the side of the mountainDay 14, Thunder River is a beautiful hike with supper diverse ecosystems. There is rumor that you can access a cave that is the headwaters of the river. Upon inspection, the final rock climbing move looked incredible sketchy. We chicken out and the “DRAGONS” of Thunder River live on.
Deer Creek WaterfallDay 15, Deer Creek waterfall is gorgeous.
Kelly Bergdolt in Olo CanyonDay 16, Olo canyon, another sketchy climb brought us into a fun Matkatamiba style canyon. Upset Rapid almost upset all of us as we came blue angeling in. Upset is definitely class 8 at low water.
Kelly Bergdolt and Jed Policky working their way up Olo Canyon
Party boat in the bright blue travertine water of Havasu CanyonDay 17, Hiked Matkatamibia, and Havasu, such a neat place with the travertine water running bright blue.
Koreen Padjen and Jake Rehn playing in Matkatamibia Canyon
Day 18, Another layer over, hiked National Canyon and got wild for “Tutu Tuesday.”
Natural artDay 19, Honga Springs, small camp, with a small eddy. While setting up the groover, my boat was bobbing rather precariously and became unsecured… The raft started floating away from me and up the eddy. Austin took it upon himself and jumped in to save it. In the process of diving into the water after the boat Austin lost his boxers. Not the first skinny dip and certainly not the last.
Jake Rehn and Joselin Reeves crushing in Lava
Fish and Jed Policky leading the charge into LavaDay 20, LAVA!… Actually it was rather boring. There wasn’t a single swimmer. We did meet the “Pirate” group at Tequila Beach and made such good friends with them that we pushed down stream to party at their camp.
Tequila brings out the best in everyone
Rainy evenings bring amazing sunrisesDay 21, The next morning I awoke to the beach looking like a bomb went off. Both groups had tents set up everywhere. Coffee was necessary, and a late departure from the beach was emanate. Amazingly we pushed hard and made it all the way to Granite Park.
all it all is… erosionDay 22, Layover at Granite Park, maintenance day for everyone, until the Pirates showed up, PARTY!
ouchDay 23, The Pirates were running low on bread and we made them a fabulous offer, our bread for their whiskey and bacon. I couldn’t believe it, but the barter system worked! That afternoon another trip floated by and we watched them enter Rapid 209. To our luck, they had no idea about the hydraulic and we got to watch two of their boats flip.
team junk show, showing us why 209 is a more then worthy rapidDay 24, Pumpkin Hot Springs was our lunch stop. The weather was cooperating so well that we made it to the cliff jump and five of us thought it was warm enough to take the plunge.
Jake Rehn taking the leap
Diamond peak, nearing the endDay 25, Passed Diamond Creek, the Grand Canyon was technically over. The sad note was our beer supply was running dangerously low. Worst note, our winter trip was getting warm enough to create a ton of very hungry sand flies.
Jed Policky crushingDay 26, Last day of rapids, super fun rowing in shorts and a cotton pearl snap. Aiming for the biggest features trying to stay cool.
the Bobcat wasn’t as excited about our appearance
Party Barge Day 27-28, Party Barge, all of the rafts were clipped together and some ingenious “tarpology” was put to use protecting us from the sun. We slowly traveled 40 miles to Pierce’s Ferry.
Lot’s of gear to pack into a bus Take out, pack 28 days worth of stuff back into Fish’s bus and head to In and Out Burger.another adventure by Chris Baer