That is a cool trip. Thanks for sharing.
I've enjoyed river rafting several times but doing what you did is the Big Kahoona. Always did like your entire rig even when the other folks had it. That thing is going to have some serious history behind it when it comes time to retire it. Perhaps Lance will want it for legacy/historical purposes.
Thanks for the first part of a great trip report. Doubt I'll ever see the canyon from the bottom so am really enjoying your pics.
Keep the reports coming.
For that lost text scenero, what I do is copy the text to the clip board before hitting the submit button. That way, if something does go wrong, I just need to open another post and paste it in. Works great when you remember to do it.
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edited 08/05/09 06:53am by kohldad *
2004.5 Ram 3500 4x4 Quad-Cab SRW CTD 6-spd, XD9000 winch
2004 Lance 815 (an upgrade from my prev 2005 35' fiver )
DW (homemaker), 1 DD @ Clemson in Civil Eng (Dec 2013) w/SIL, 1 DD Tech Grad (home but employed), 2 DFs (meow)
Didn't know you were a geologist. Cool. The closes I came was 3 courses; one of them was doing a profile of the Grand Canyon sedimentary.
The Olympys camera is pretty rugged. The one I'm recommending now is the Pentax Optio series W80 (waterproof down to 16 feet). The Olympus has it though on the drop test (Pentax being about 3 and a half feet).
Looks like it was a great trip Brian. It reminds me of some of the river trips we did while in Colorado. 8 Days on any river can be a long adventure. Some of the gourmet style meals are amazing!
8 days really is quite a bit - but it seems like it takes a few days to get into the routine and really forget about everything else but the river. By the end we were about ready to be done - for me I could've stayed on for a lot more days, but not only was it fairly hot to begin with, but by the time you get all the way down to Lake Mead, it was getting really hot. The water of course, is cold - it's something like 48 degrees where it comes out of Lake Powell, and 55 or so by the time you get to Lake Mead. So I was constantly getting in the water to cool off. I prefer my cool mountain air to the desert heat....
My guess is that the 38 foot raft could easily support your camper and some gear maybe not the truck, our little 12 foot inflatable boat has an amazing 1700 pound GVW.
You are probably right - those boats were massive. RenoAl's pic is pretty close to scale...the boat is 38' and my rig is probably 24'ish.
Have the carry it out toilets been modernized yet or is it still an ammo can with a toilet seat? Thanks for the photos.
Perhaps some change to the 'groovers' from furthur back (called that because after sitting on a 5-gallon bucket or ammo can would leave a groove is your but by the time you stood.)
In the Grand Canyon, all solid waste must be packed out, and you are supposed to pee in the river.
They had a pretty good setup though. The guides would setup an 'outhouse' which inside basically had a box with a full toilet seat on it, and a heavy plastic bag inside. They had deoderizer of some sort, plus a spray can of glade or something. By the time we left in the morning it would smell a bit, but not too badly. They would also setup an open-air outhouse the same with no tent around, but off beyond the tented one behinds bushes or whatever. Better view and less smell. They setup a 'key' for the outdoor by leaving a throw rope in a bag that you took with you when you went. If the 'key' wasn't at the handwashing station, you knew someone was at the outdoor groover.
They setup these handwashing station by the outhouse and the food area....they were pretty slick (it would work well for a large group campsite too. Basically, they had one 5 gallon bucket full of filtered/sanitized river water, with a footpump that pumped it through a faucet and was caught in another bucket. They were meticulous about everyone washing their hands after a bathroom trip, and before each time you went through the food line.
I'll start off the next installment by mentioning a few things about rapids. There are very few rapids that are actually caused by bedrock under the water. Most are caused by sediments that are pushing into the river from side canyons (especially during floods) where the river has to go around the pile on (usually) the far side. Over time, the main river then works through this material and pushes it down stream - again, especially during floods or periods of high flow.
Since Glen Canyon Dam was put in forming Lake Powell, water flow down the main river is greatly reduced...as I mentioned above, I read that flows back then were probably more like 120,000 CFS, and perhaps as much as 200,000 CFS (arguably.) I assume that during time frames following glacial periods it was probably incredible how much water came down. In any case, since the dam a few changes have taken place....for one, the sand bars are dissappearing - floods would wash out much of the plant life, and deposit new sand bars while waters were lowering afterwards. Also, because the main river doesn't flood, the side canyons are actually 'getting ahead' of the main river in terms of dumping sediments into the river, so the rapids are likely getting bigger/worse over time. On the other hand, where the river enters Lake Mead, the river gets flat and the channel is getting heavily silted up. Invasive species such as tamarisk are moving up along the banks. Old rapids (including some really nasty ones) are gone. Now that Lake Mead is very very low, some of those rapids would have returned, but they have been so filled with silt that they are gone. In one place, the river took a new course and has created a pretty difficult rapid - and you now have to catch the jet boats (that take you to the take on the lake) below that last rapid. The takeout that used to be used, is now high and dry and a long ways from the lake.
I sometimes wonder how Powell would have felt having the lake that buried Glen Canyon named in his honor. Another passage from his journals always stood out to me, and in honor of this post, I looked it up again:
"August 3rd - Start early this morning. The features of this canyon are greatly diversified. Still vertical walls at times. These are usually found to stand above great curves. The river, sweeping around these bends, undermines the cliffs in places. Sometimes the rocks are overhanging; in other curves, curious narrow glens are found. Through these we climb, by a rough stairway, perhaps several hundred feet, to where a spring bursts out from under an overhanging cliff, and where cottonwoods and willows stand, while along the curves of the brooklet oaks grow, and other rich vegetation is seen, in marked contrast to the general appearance of naked rock. We call these Oak Glens.
Other wonderful features are the many side canyons or gorges that we pass. Sometimes we stop to explore these for a short distance. In some places their walls are much nearer each other above than below, so that they look somewhat like caves or chambers in the rocks. Usually, in going up such a gorge, we find beautiful vegetation; but our way is often cut off by deep basins, or 'potholes' as they are called.
On the walls, and back many miles into the country, numbers of monument-shaped buttes are observed. So we have a curious ensemble of wonderful features - carved walls, royal arches, glens, alcove gulches, mounds and monuments. From which of these features shall we select a name? We decide to call it Glen Canyon." Powell 1875, p. 231-233.
Pretty cool....but sad the only remains of the name is for the dam. On the other hand, there was going to be two more dams in the Grand Canyon - you see some test holes from when they were working on it. They basically would have flooded the whole thing from Lake Mead to above Lake Powell. Anyway, sorry, back to pictures in a bit.
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edited 08/06/09 11:12am by btggraphix *
In the Lava Falls area and downstream, there are a whole bunch of lava flows that were erupted above the canyon walls and spilled over the edge and into the canyon. In places it dammed the river, causing large lakes to fill up behind (forming deposits similar to what is now behind the manmade dams) and eventually they would be broken through and the river restored. It made for beautiful contrasts between the dark lavas and the lighter sedimentary rocks.
Ooops...another shot of Lava Falls.
Rainbow in the morning
More spilling lava:
Up Travertine Canyon I think:
Guides preparing the chow line:
One of my favorites - love the squiggly shadow lines:
The walkway on the rim - Grand Canyon Skywalk. Would like to go out on it sometime but I hear it is very very expensive....it would have been a long ways out of my way to go to on my way back.
We transferred to the jet boats to take us to the take out. They go like 55 MPH....
Then the long busride back. We did go across Hoover Dam, and got to see the cool bridge they have been working on for a long time. It's getting close:
We left on the trip, Saturday morning early, and returned to our hotel in the afternoon of the following Saturday afternoon - and spent Saturday evening on the strip. Sunday afternoon my wife left via airplane, and I headed back across the Mojave to Lancaster....my third trip across in 10 days or whatever. By this point in the trip I was definitely sick of hot weather. The truck did fine, but I was also careful about not going too fast and having the AC cranked at the same time. The middle year Duramaxes had marginal cooling systems - I've never had any issues, but I also know enough to be careful when driving through the desert. Anyway on to Lance Sunday night, to pick up the camper Monday morning....
Rest of the story next......
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edited 08/06/09 11:08am by btggraphix *