Here's a link to an article by Brian Nearing of the Times Union:
|The Glen, 3/29/14|
|Guides (and buddies) Jason and Brian after the course.|
|Patrick and Marko in a 16-foot NRS raft|
|Marissa and Casey in a 16-foot NRS raft|
|Katie, Julia and Kayla in a 16-foot Maravia raft named "Aragorn"|
|Judy and Jon in a 16-foot Maravia raft named "Windwalker"|
|Mark, Brian, Craig in kayaks and Buzzsaw in a ducky|
|A shot out to Long Lake Central School District for letting me go!|
|Feeling exuberant in front of the rigs before the Roaring 20s|
|Approaching Redwall Cavern|
|Girls stretching circle in Redwall Cavern|
|Pyramid of 11 giddy river runners. Note spotters peaking through|
|Relaxed and glowing in Redwall Cavern|
|Back to the rafts - a little under 10 miles to camp|
|Greg and I rigging our rafts|
|The entire group.|
|Our rig, parked for our first layover day.|
|Beaver up close by Brian|
November 24, 2013 (Day 9) Mile 94-109 - Granite Camp to Bass Camp
Due to run-off from rain, the water looked like thick chocolate milk for the rest of the trip (see above). I must have hit the groover four times this morning. I thought it had to be my nerves and not the meat juices I was sure had snuck their way into my body. Both Granite and Hermit were friendlier than I remember - especially Hermit Rapid where we flipped last year. Hermit was Nate's favorite rapid so far on the trip. Most of us ran clean lines through Crystal Rapid. Marko hit an enormous hole on the bottom river-right. Cynthia was riding up front and buried with brown water. Sapphire Rapid had huge holes we ran flawlessly, backwards. I went face first into the holes and was slapped silly with waves of water.
"There's no greater thrill
Than the chance of a spill
In a rapid that's angrily white (or brown)
But the one that you feel
When leveling the keel
Proclaims that your boat's still upright."- Dr Russell Frazier
|The Penetrators - Marko, Cynthia and Patrick|
|The mighty walls of the Granite Gorge and Greg|
|Moving in to Bass Camp|
|Seriously posed by the old mining tools|
|Hiking along Shinumo Creek|
|Mark and I making quinoa for breakfast|
|Cooking up the cornbread dutch oven-style.|
November 27, 2013(Day 12) Mile 121-134.5 - Blacktail Canyon to Below Tapeats Creek Camp
Last night Nate had a dream that I woke up with two black eyes. I did wake up with a lump in my lower lip and a nose that was sensitive to touch. Remember, I got launched onto my face in Waltenburg Rapid yesterday?
I started walking up Blacktail Canyon shortly after the sun came up. At the mouth of Blacktail Canyon, I bumped into a guide with more than 100 Grand Canyon trips on his river log. He had mostly been in motor rigs on his 100 trips. This time he was in a oar rig. He flipped in Horn Creek Rapid. We walked and chatted in Blacktail Canyon for a while. Back at camp I spotted a slow-moving tarantula (see below). This tarantula told me to "get moving, find joy and new ideas in the accomplishments of others. To use others to propel me into a new phase of creative spinning on my own web of delight".
We scouted Bedrock Rapid and at the same time explored the Doll's House, small sand-filled chambers and smooth polished rock (see above). Greg got hung up on some rocks when he ran too far right at the top of Bedrock Rapid today (see below). 5/6 rafts headed to the right of Bedrock Rock in Bedrock Rapid. The last raft in the fleet, the "Penetrators" (Marko, Patrick and Cynthia), took the dreaded left route. We didn't see it happen as we were below the rapid on the other side of Bedrock. After we had made it through the rapid, we heard someone yell out, "There's been a left run." We swiftly rowed around to the backside of Bedrock and saw Marko swim through the hazards on the squirrely left side. Marko took a nasty swim through a pillow of brown water protecting a rock. Cynthia peaked her head out from some rocks upriver on shore. She swam instantly for the left side of the river. She safely walked downriver and was picked up by another raft. Meanwhile, Patrick was swirling around in their raft in the "room of doom" around Bedrock Rock. There were three places he could have flipped but somehow we watched him make his way down with the raft upright.
Brian was on Bedrock Rock to help rescue the "Penetrators". After the fleet had floated away, Brian found a large wooden exuberant-looking Buddha and a blue dry bag in the crack in the rock. The Buddha was nearly the size of my upper body. He rescued the cumbersome Buddha and the dry bag and paddled downriver with them on his kayak. Greg strapped Buddha to his cataraft before Dubendorf Rapid. At the "Dubie" scout we saw Buddha strapped to the front of Greg's cat. Every craft had smooth runs through Dubie. Greg went first and waited for us at the bottom. He was so enthralled with looking at rocks that he didn't secure his cataraft properly and Buddha ended up piloting it downriver alone. I blew my whistle and a raft charged over to save Buddha.
"FOCUS: One must be the perfect Buddhist when going down a rapid, in the moment, one with raft, one with brown water, one with gear, one with body, unthinking". Patti Rutka wrote this in a recent issue of American Whitewater and I know this: "If you don't focus, the result is a four-letter word: SWIM."
We pulled into Tapeats Creek, the lower camp. I saw the most exquisite piece of Serpentine. We made a shrine for Buddha complete with glowing tea lights. There he sat on the beach with his exuberant smile for two days.
November 28, 2013 (Day 13) Below Tapeats Creek Camp Layover Day
We had a great tent site for this layover day (see below), located among large boulders. We used a large flat dark brown-colored boulder encased in our vestibule as a table.
Our free time was limited today as we were on for cooking an early Thanksgiving Day dinner. Nate and I hiked upriver to Tapeats Creek. I got enough elevation to get a spectacular view of Tapeats Creek traveling upstream and downstream to enter the Colorado River (see below). From this vantage point, I realized that all I wanted to do was be by the creek. I gingerly hiked back down, as Nate and a few others ascended the super steep, multicolored-trail. The trail was dominated by purple stone. I found a small vegetative nook along the creek and perched myself on a flat rock in the creek. The rock was just big enough for my feet. I recited my daily intentions and stretched what body parts needed to be stretched. It was here I realized the crystal clear streams flowing into the brown Colorado, such as Tapeats Creek, are a great place to clear out underneath my nails. My nails were constantly caked with red sand. Without soap, (no soap is allowed in side streams) I rinsed all over with the clear water. Nate eventually joined me. On the walk back to the camp, I stopped to stretch along the river. I busted out the king of all asanas (see below) and the scorpion. The crew from Australia floated by at some point today.
Craig orchestrated Thanksgiving dinner (see below) and what a spread we had including duck, turkey, green beans, corn, mashed potatoes, and apple crisp. The dutch oven master, Nate, made the apple crisp totally divine. In the evening, as I sat in the tent for a moment, I saw a shadow of a small critter moving around nearby. It was a mouse. His message was to "see what is right before my eyes and take action accordingly".
|We're thankful for each other.|
|Our tent in front of National Canyon|
|Tequilla Beach was without a footprint when we arrived.|
|Tent site with Lava Falls behind us.|
|Mark shared some birthday wishes with Greg.|
|By the fire, Mark played the mandolin while I ate carrots on his birthday night.|
|We could see snow on the rim.|
|Peter and Patrick had several hundred volleys in one shot before noon.|
|Skipper stuffs the bow line in a bag.|
|Preparing our rigs to depart from our last camp.|
|Cynthia waving from her sleeping bag.|