Mile 25-ish to 52
Cooooooffffffeeeeee! This is the rafting trip wake up call. I didn’t have a watch and didn’t know until the trip was almost over that we were waking up around 5:30 a.m. The sun was just coming up and it was time to pack up our gear, get breakfast and get back onto the river.
By the time we got on the river, I thought – ok, we’ve gone through a full day, we know how to set up camp, we know how everything works, we should all be a bit more comfortable. The kids were mostly faring well. Ryan asked Nathan, “you havin’ fun buddy?”. “No, I want to go home” was his response. Let’s just say, camping, roughing it, or adventure things are not really Nathan’s cup of tea. The previous night while setting up camp he looked at me and said “I….don’t….like….this”. We had some version of a “suck it up, make the best of it, you’re doing great, don’t ruin my vacation” kind of chat and then moved on!
The guides told us that day 2 would be a calm water day. Whenever anyone asked for details about what would be happening that day or anytime in the future, they encouraged us to stay in the moment, go with the flow, and generally not worry about it. I loved this. Being someone who’s usually in control or in charge, I relished the opportunity to just go with it. Our first stop was Redwall Cavern – a huge cave or chamber. We threw footballs and frisbees and cooled off in the water which felt so cool and refreshing. We joined in the games with our guides and other members of our group. I found Nathan launching a football all the way across the cavern. It was awesome.
Being a flat water day, the kids caught up on sleep. They truly can sleep anywhere.
Our next stop was an old abandoned uranium mine. We hiked up to the entrance and went deep into the mine. When we got to the end, we shut off our headlamps and stood in complete darkness and quiet. You couldn’t even see your hand in front of you. So cool!
Beautiful day on the river!
We camped at Nankoweap Canyon. We found a great area in camp to accommodate the 6 of us and got set up. After lunch we took a hike up the canyon. Here we had the most spectacular view of the canyon and the river. We were told this was the most photographed spot in the Grand Canyon, with this view making it twice on the cover of National Geographic. The hike was a good workout and I was so happy that my foot was holding up great despite still building back strength after surgery.
After the hike, I was anxious to clean up so went down to the river to “bathe”. Let’s just say… it was a disaster. The water was shallow and there was a minor current, so I’m sure it was quite the spectacle me falling all over and floating down the shoreline! We were inside a cove so it was safe, but it was a little crazy! Getting clean was all relative. My hair felt like straw which would be the case for the remainder of the week.
We had lasagna for dinner which was awesome. After dinner we got in a circle to hear a story about the canyon from Zach. He talked about the many efforts over the years to develop in the canyon, and the many people and organizations (https://www.grandcanyontrust.org and https://www.gcrg.org) who have fought to protect it. That night we learned we were camping among bats when we died laughing when we watched Katie emerge from the trail from the toilet, swarmed by bats. (more on the toilet later!) As creepy as that was, we got used to it quickly and were thankful that they were there, because we hardly had any issues with bugs.
Ryan hiked back up that evening and got this incredible time laps of the canyon, capturing the clouds, the canyon and our camp below.