Mile 137 to 186
It was awesome to wake up outside and enjoy the sunrise.
Tim and I started the day up front again and enjoyed some fun morning rapids. Then we stopped to do a hike at Havasu Creek. This stop required us to park the rafts in the middle of a rapid which was pretty crazy, and impressive. This hike was longer than most of the others that we did, and some trickier footing getting up and around some of the cliffs and rocks. Once we got up to the base of the falls, we hung out there for a while, wading and swimming in the stream. These waterfall hikes were an absolute highlight!
We waded in part of the stream where we could float down. That’s Ben, Katie, Ryan and then me! This water felt SO good, I cannot even tell you!
After the hike we stopped for lunch and then had a very long stretch of calm water. We had full sun and it was HOT. We were using our sarongs to dip in the river and drape across us to stay cool. This was probably the hottest it had been the whole trip, and I was SO grateful that we had so much cloud cover the rest of the week. Zach was telling us that he had a couple of prior trips that were in 125 degree heat and it was so difficult to keep cool. I was so happy that wasn’t us! You never know what kind of weather you’re going to get in the canyon!
At this point in the canyon we were going through lava fields. In this stretch of canyon you could see where lava flows poured into the canyon over a hundred thousand years ago. After being in the beating sun for most of the day, we got some clouds and for the rest of the afternoon, watched a big storm follow us down the river.
At last we came to Lava Falls, rated a 10 and known as one of the biggest and most challenging rapids to navigate. Ben was up front and got it with the Go Pro and his audio is awesome! We could not end on a higher note than this!
Shortly after Lava Falls, we stopped for camp. The storm clouds were now overhead and the winds were picking up. The camp site we picked was very nice, but a bit of a walk hauling the bags, tents and cots. Tim and I set up our tent and put our stuff inside, anticipating the rain that was coming. Ben and Nathan set up a tent, and Katie and Ryan planned to do their usual and ride out the rain by just pulling over a tarp. After getting a bit settled, we headed back to the main camp for steak dinner and warm brownie dessert.
After dinner, as Brie was attempting to give us our final day instructions, the winds started to howl. Then the rain came. At once it was total chaos as we scrambled back to our campsite to keep our stuff from blowing away and try to stay dry. Ryan set up a time lapse and captured the storm coming in. It ends as the skies parted and we scrambled to safety.
We grabbed everything that had been outside and got it into our tents, then proceeded to help Katie and Ryan set up a tent so that they could be safe. Once they were good, we scrambled back to our tent. We were drenched. The winds howled and it rained for a good portion of the night. Monsoons and flash floods are serious in the canyon. Zach came by to check on us and asked us to stay put if the rain got heavier, as we were on the other side of a wash that would be filled with water if the storm got more severe. Even this last crazy part of the trip made me proud of how we had really grown stronger as a team and bonded together. Tim and I enjoyed our last glass of wine that we had managed to save in all the chaos!
We heard a story from Marcus about a trip last year where there were very serious monsoons and there were boulders that broke from the canyon, coming into a camp of river rafters, killing one and injuring others. Last year when we were unable to do the trip due to covid, we experienced a very severe storm in Vegas, with heavy rain and very high winds. At the time I kept thinking gosh, we would be exposed out in the canyon in this, and I was thankful we weren’t… despite the disappointment of missing the trip. Based on the timing Marcus gave, that accident very well could have been when we were due to be in the canyon. As I always believe, everything happens for a reason and timing is not always in our control. I continue to thank God for watching over us.