Our first stop today is across from Chuar Temple at the mouth of the Little Colorado River, where its warm turquoise waters flow into the cold green Colorado.
From there we hike upriver a bit...
To a spot where we "Shoot the Train!" It's fun but the rough travertine deposits, like a coating of sandpaper, require a somewhat infantile use of one's life-jacket to protect your backside...which Kirsteen and I model below. She and many of the others chose to swim leisurely or float serenely back to the boats. Alas, I would have also but for my camera bag.
Afterward we stop at a shady alcove for lunch...always with a variety of sandwich fixings, good bread, and snacks. Food rule number one: mind your crumbs to prevent ants from overtaking campsites.
We float past the Pallisades of the Desert for miles.
Appropriately, it's about 110 degrees as we enter Furnace Flats.
Tonight we camp just above Unkar Rapid; its steady roar a reminder that we run our first big rapids tomorrow...and Unkar is just a warm up. Hackey sack is popular this evening.
Angel Window can be seen in this silhouetted panorama of the North Rim.
The small white patch on the distant canyon wall (below the left end of the red cliff) is Hance's old asbestos mine, for whom the rapid is named. Also note the dark rock just below that white line of the red cliff...that is the entrance of the Inner Gorge!
We have arrived at the Inner Gorge and stopped for lunch
below the formidable crags of Vishnu schist.
Renee is often set upon the rocks. She's one of the free-ride assistants on the trip...a friend of one of the guides, she gets a free vacation in exchange for working and learning the ropes of being a guide. It's how many new guides are recruited.
A chunk of red precambrian granite, which runs in veins through the Vishnu schist. These rocks are almost two billion years old!!
After one of our more precarious moorings, requiring a short scramble over sharp rocks, and then an easy 1/2-mile walk, we got to spend a couple of hours hanging out and cooling off at Clear Creek Falls. The fall on the left provided the perfect massage!
The dam we built (bigger).
Weary dam builders take a long break.
An outcrop of quartz along the trail.
Camp Zoroaster is a long and narrow shelf of sand.
Rocks and pools at the river's edge.
Scorched rock and shrubbery across the way.
Tonight's chef, Howie, doing the boat dance.
To be continued...