Grand Canyon Day 2: Jackass Creek to North Canyon


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(If you’re just checking in for the first time, I am posting my daily journal entries from my month-long rafting trip leading 16 friends down the Grand Canyon.  You may want to go back and start at the first post of the series and work your way forward.)

An exciting day!  I got up around 5:30 AM, just before sunrise.  Around 6:30 AM the wind suddenly picked up, gusting over 20 mph.  Then the rain came and it poured.  Ariel put on her drysuit before she even got out of the tent.  Best rain gear you could have!  It’s a good thing I had packed the gear back in the drybags before going to bed.  A few people left stuff outside and it’s soaked.  David C. didn’t fair so well.  Yesterday evening his tent blew down the hill in a wind gust like a tumbleweed.  Someone recovered it just before it went into the river, but it got torn up a bit.  He’s gonna get wet if we get more rain on this trip.  It’s a good thing everything dries so quickly in the Canyon.

We packed up camp in the wind and rain and were ready to go by 9:00.  Then the rain and wind suddenly stopped.  This is so much like those Florida summer rain showers.  The big difference is you can’t see what’s coming because the Canyon walls block the view of most of the sky.  You don’t know what’s coming until it is right over you. Then just as we prepared to push off from shore, red-brown water started flowing down the far bank of the river in the main current.

Watching the river turn brown as we prepare to depart Jackass Camp

Watching the river turn brown as we prepare to depart Jackass Camp

It gradually started filling in the eddy where we were parked, then finally filling in the middle of the river until it all ran brown.  A flash flood had come pouring down the Badger Canyon just across the river from us.  Amazing how the muddy water shows how the water flows within the river like smoke does in a wind tunnel.

Muddy water coming in from the Badger Canyon

Muddy water coming in from the Badger Canyon

Fortunately breakfast didn’t require any cooking.  I stuffed myself last night on stir-fry dinner, so I just had a bagel.  We skipped lunch because we were so close to the intended camp that we thought we would just push on and do lunch at camp.

This afternoon we ran our first class 7 rapid of the trip: House Rock.

Scouting House Rock Rapid at river mile 17

Scouting House Rock Rapid at river mile 17

I thought I was far enough right as I entered at the top, but I still got drawn into the big wave-hole at the bottom on the left.  the current really pushes hard into the left wall.  As I hit the last wave just before the wave-hole, I lost my grip on one oar and ended up hitting it sideways!  As vertical as we got, I’m not sure how we didn’t flip.

Commodore running House Rock Rapid

Commodore running House Rock Rapid

The grips on these oars are just a bit too fat.  I’ll try rowing without the gloves and see how that goes.  We reached our target camp at Upper North Canyon by 2:30 PM, River mile 20.8.  Some people rushed off to set up their own gear before the rafts were unloaded.  In the end it worked out OK.  I know they were anxious to get things dried out from the rain this morning.  Before dinner we all hiked up the side canyon.  I remember doing this hike at lunchtime last time I was here.  A big group of us did the hike.  I got a group photo at the upper end.

Hiking North Canyon - r to l: Lucy, Gary, Craig, Kika, Kevin, Captain Natalia, Ariel, & Commodore Dave

Hiking North Canyon - r to l: Lucy, Gary, Craig, Kika, Kevin, Captain Natalia, Ariel, & Commodore Dave

North Canyon

North Canyon

Dinner was at 6:00 PM, just as it got dark.  I want to eat earlier so we aren’t eating and cleaning up in the dark.  After a dinner of salmon and salad, we had a campfire and some guitar music.  I have been having a meeting in the evening for everyone to share stories about the day and talk about what we want to do the next day.  The veterans tell me they like the AM & PM meetings.  Good to know.  I am finding my Toastmasters skills quite useful too.

Last night I woke up when it rained briefly around 3:30 AM.  Never really got to sleep after that.  It’s not quite 9:00 PM and I’m falling asleep while writing.  Good night.

Next Post: Day 3
Previous Post: Day 1

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Posted on December 15, 2011, in Grand Canyon 2011 and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. Great narrative. I’m amazed you remembered all this by evening and had the energy and motivation to record it. I am really enjoying re-living it.

  2. Thanks Chris.Actually, the reason I was so diligent at maintaining a daily log was because I knew I would forget most of it. Sometimes I was too tired to write in the evening so I didn’t write until I woke up in the morning and even after just one night I would forget many details. The days quickly become a blur, perhaps because I was so living in the present.

  3. Cissy Vincent Bassett

    Excellent story so far David! Keep it coming-we are enjoying the adventure along with you!
    Thanks.

  4. Thanks Cissy. I’m glad I could bring you along on the trip. Your comments are all welcome. Without it, there isn’t a way to know if people are enjoying it, though based on the dramatic growth in readership is a good sign too. Don’t be shy about asking questions along the way. If you are wondering about something, I’m sure there are at least 10 more who have the same question. A dialog adds much more to the story. While I’m at it, if you like what you’re reading, share it with a friend. By the way, don’t think this tale is without its drama. 16 people, 21 days in the wilderness with no connection to the outside world. Think reality TV show ‘Survivor’ but without the option to vote people off.

  5. This is really fun to read, especially because I had my short trip down the canyon this summer…you’re so lucky you could take the time for a longer trip.

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