Summer River Running

Morning with the moon on the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon with towering walls

Hi River fans,     

I ended up with more time on the water than in the office this summer which seemed to work out just fine, and only ended up with a few new scars for the effort. First was a week in Hood River, Oregon, and a few days with Monte, a dentist with a 42 foot sailboat and a passion for working in remote settings like islands in the South Pacific and is crazy enough to want to work in Antarctica as well. I sailed with him for a few afternoons on his boat with his partner, Acasia, and then shifted to some windsurfing for a high speed fix on the Columbia River for the rest of the week.     

Back in Colorado in early August I put in 4 days of work before joining 7 friends to raft down the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon for 18 days with our own equipment and no guides. Keith had gotten the coveted permit, and when he called me a few months ago to offer me to join the trip there was no way I could say no. He’s been 8 times before and the rest of the crew were well seasoned river rafters and rock climbers, so I was the least experienced of the group in both categories, which put me out of my comfort zone on an almost daily basis.      

It was an amazing trip of extremes like blistering hot weather over 105F most days contrasted with icy cold water released from the bottom of Lake Powell through the Glen Canyon dam. Spectacular scenery 24/7 of canyon walls thousands of feet above us on both sides, with numerous slot canyon hikes with water sculpted contoured walls within a few feet of each other. Beautiful camp sites of sandy beaches with biting flies and an occasional scorpion to keep you vigilant, plus fine sand and dirt on you and everything you brought along, with the opportunity to scrub yourself clean a few times from a half dozen pummeling waterfall hikes. And of course over 200 rapids along the 280 miles we covered that were at times both exhilarating and terrifying in their power to flip your boat and send you and your belongings for a tumbling ride. But no one flipped and we had only a few people tossed from their rafts for a few seconds before they were able to climb back aboard.       

We ate like kings and slept like babies under the stars, with only an occasional rain storm to make us put tents up as shelter. Overall an amazing place to experience with friends to go “off the grid” for a few weeks, since there’s no cell service or internet once you enter the canyon.     It’s good to be home for now and enjoy the comforts of a daily shower and a luxurious king sized bed. Hope your Labor Day weekend was pleasant.

Cheers,

River Rat Bob

Sailing on the Columbia River with Monte
Rowing our oar boat in calm waters
Running one of the rapids in our 15 foot rafts
Daily camping on a sandy beach with IMAX like scenery
Hike to a small waterfall with clean, clear water
Sketchy hike high above a slot canyon
Camping under the protection of a cavern eroded by the river
Napping in the shade of the massive Red Wall Cavern
Pool at the base of a canyon artistically worn by water over the centuries
A cleansing shower at the end of a hike
Keith prepares salmon on the grill for our first of many great meals on the river
A curious lizard paid us a visit
Phantom Ranch thermometer at 120F+
A slot canyon hike with narrowing walls and a stream of water at the base
Another side canyon hike with a shower reward at the end
Walls of granite with smooth slots worn by sandy water erosion