Sunday, October 10, 2010

Rafting the Grand Canyon - Part Five

Today we journey only three miles on the river so we can devote the entire day to Havasu Canyon!  A group of our heartiest hikers set out for Mooney Falls, seven miles from the river while I opted for the shorter four-mile trek to Beaver Falls.  The narrow mouth of Havasu Canyon contains a small waterfall which requires a clamboring bypass.  Beyond that you're resigned to simply enjoying one of the most beautiful places on Earth...and, again, going at my dawdling photographer's pace, I was alone for much of the day.

The view beckons...

Wild grapes grow in profusion along the trail.

Back in '93, a flood uprooted a tree and created a tunnel.

The final leg to Beaver Falls requires another clamboring bypass.

Beaver Falls is the upper-leftmost cascade.

The photos don't do justice to the 25-foot drop.
We ate lunch while wading in these cool travertine pools among the trees.

A large travertine dam just below Beaver Falls.

A parting shot from near the end of the day.  It would be weary group of folks making camp that night but well rewarded with a meal of fresh New York strip steak or boneless chicken breast...with all the variety of do-it-yourself rubs and marinades you could imagine. Charcoal-grilled yourself or cooked to order by one of the guides.  Did I mention we'd been on the river ten days at this point?  How do they do that?  (Actually, I know how they do it...dry ice rocks!)

Day Eleven.  Today will be a day of floating, with one of the most anticipated highlights of the journey...running Lava Falls!  It probably isn't the biggest, baddest or roughest rapid in the canyon, but it does have that reputation and is not to be trifled with.  Upsets are common but injuries are rare.

Toroweap Overlook comes into view on the high northern rim.
Yes, that would be where Maria fell to her death a year after this trip.

The BIG HOLE at the top of Lava Falls Rapid.

Standing on the remains of a recent debris flow
we scout the changed nature of the rapid.

Dennis takes a big hit going in...but runs through with style!

Howie takes an bigger hit!  Note here, Kirsteen's back to us on the back of the boat...and that wave which is about to wash her onto the floor of the boat.  She didn't see much of the rapid after that but she managed to hang on.  I had somewhat of a loss during my own run as my hat chose to plaster itself upon my face.

Kathryn gets my favorite photos.

Leader Dave looks on.

Here comes the paddleboat...time to freak out!!

They have a wild ride!

Howie, in his tradition Lava Falls attire and with his favorite tomato knife.

Parting shots back to Toroweap.  This evening would be the guacamole and margarita party...the tequila mostly being leftovers brought by first-half passengers.  Thanks!

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