Monthly Archives: February 2009

Whats so Grand about this Canyon? (part 2)

Having now watched the Lava falls video many times I’m pretty sure the boat comes out without the oar frame.
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Whats so Grand about this Canyon? (part 2)

Having now watched the Lava falls video many times I’m pretty sure the boat comes out without the oar frame which means for any of you tightfisted scottish people out there there must be a free raft frame (aout $600) in the bottom of lava if you want it – go and get it.

So “the canyon”. I’m not too sure how I ended up knowing how to raft, or even if I actually know how but here I was accepting the fact that I was meant to know what I was doing on a river running between 9,000 and about 15,000 cfs (thats 3-4500 cumecs for you people who like decimal) somewhere in the US of A. The Colorado River is dammed above Lees ferry by the Glen Canyon Dam and below by the Lake Mead Dam. Inbetween it is 300miles of the Grand Canyon with one access point about 80miles down where you can hike to the rim in about 5 hours a possible take out at Diamond creek (@ about mile 220) and a whole lot of rapids. The rapids on the colorado work a little differently from normail with basically anything around a 2+ to 3+ on the normal scale given a rating from 1-10. This suprisingly seems to work though as ever the guidebooks seem to have not graded some things which were definitely rapids while others seemed fairly inoccous.

Our plan was to raft from Lees Ferry down to South Cove on Lake Mead, taking 25 days and all our food and gear in 4 oar rigs. We outsourced to an outfitting company for our food, transport and one boat and Outward Bound (who most of us do or have worked for) kindly supplied the other boats. The trip was way more of an exploration than I think I expected with a lot of layover days to drink cofffee, play guitar and time to go for a wander around. The canyon itself was amazing, I would continually find that I had got sucked into staring at some impressive scenery to suddenly find that if I turned round that there was something as equally amazing all around. For me one of the beauties of the trip was that no-one knew more than 2 or 3 people and therefore the whole first 10 days just really felt like getting to know people. Also with it being winter there were no guided trips and we really only saw a couple of other people in the whole 25 days. Yes we took beer. Yes we it ran out near the end.
The good news is I managed to retrieve the deleted photos and most survived. The bad news is no videos. Anyway heres some more photos.

The gear piles up next to the snow in Flagstaff (with Eric in the photo)Unkar rapid (6) from above (the weather is about to change…)Yes we had a couple of cans of beerAnazasi granaries in the wall above the classic view of the river.Yes Ryan really is a big enough geek to play chess against himself. (2nd last layover day)Redwall cavernScouting lava falls, late in the (9)Jeff and Kai get the stove going after a late pull into camp (night 2 or 3)Jeff gets the right line almost perfect.. until the end. (Peirce ferry rapid) Kai tries to find a way around in a side canyon.You shouldn’t really be able to do this. The raft that popped (day11?)Rowing into the evening light, lower river (below specter rapid)

Jeff at warp speed in specter rapid (6)

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The Joy of the Unemployed (Grand Canyon part 1)

The year has started incredibly. From an epic new year across scotland with Robin I then got back to my parents house to hastily pack and jump on a plane to New York. After the usual abuse of a scottish new year (both the consumption and for my accent) it was great to be in New York with Becca who quickly changed my diet (dont worry folks i wasnt quite converted to veganism(okay so thats only funny if you know the difference between the average scottish diet and beccas!)). It was great to see some of New York (in 4 days!) with my own personal tour guide though our attempts to do any hiking were soon twarted by the ice everywhere. Very quickly it was time to leave and fly on to phoenix arizona. I thought I was being met there by Ryan and Kelly but as it turned out Ryan was still miles away. This meant that Kelly and I were going to stay with “grandpa” (Ryans Grandpa) I quickly realised, after warnings from both kelly and Ryan (on the phone), that this was going to be an experience. Really staying at Grandpas was great, kelly had leftovers in her truck which we ate so that we could tell grandpa we had already eaten, Grandpa talked to kelly most of the time while I pretended to be interested in American football, he only smoked 12 cigarettes in the evening we were with him, kelly only had to use her inhaler a couple of times in his house, he only swore at the TV a few times (including telling Bill cosby to get back to Mexico), he took us out for breakfast and promptly out ate us both(with whipped cream on everything) and the next morning we headed back into Phoenix to see if they sold new lungs. And then it was off to Flagstaff to meet the crew for the Grand Canyon rafting trip.

Unfortunately at this stage my photos are very limited as I am computer illiterate and seem to have lost most photos at this stage but I will see what i can do……… watch this space, some more posts to follow.

The crew, from left. Kai, Jeff, Caitlin (me behind), Sabari (Sage and Eric in front), Levi, Ryan, James and Timbah. (taken at Redwall cavern day 4 or 5)

The rafts tied up at camp, 3rd morning.

Ryan and Kai chilling on a Layover day (day something? maybe 7)

So while I desperately search for all the photos and videos i think i’ve lost above should be the famous “where are the people, take a photo” video of some folks running Lava falls (one of the biggest rapids on the grand canyon) taking the wrong line and paying the price. This will have to do till I can find the video of Kai getting the line spot on (river right is the correct line, these guys run middle and end up in “ledge hole”) enjoy…..

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