Grand Canyon Raft Trip
With Ivo Lucchitta
Short Notes -
Friday, March 26
Hiked to Lee’s Lookout above put-in area, overlooking the Paria River and Lonely Dell and the orchard. Ivo gives his first geology talk.
Lunch – chicken sandwiches, with cheese, tomatoes, guacamole, etc.
Arrive North Canyon camp about 4:30 pm. (Mile 20.5) Cold, rainy afternoon. This was the coldest day of the trip. I only had a t-shirt on under my rain shell, and it wasn’t enough!
Dinner: salmon, rice, green beans, cucumbers and tomatoes, cream puffs
Saturday, March 27
Up 6 am
North Canyon hike
Supai Group (geology talk in exfoliated sandstone)
Lunch – South Canyon
Hiked above to ruins.
Arrive Buck Farm camp 5 pm. (Mile 41.0)
Landmark #8 (no altitude)
Sunday, March 28
Up 5:30 am
Bar. 28.34 clear
Floated ~half mile down to ______ canyon
Down through President Harding rapid.
Stopped at Redwall Cavern.
Stopped near Nautiloid Canyon to look at nautiloid fossils.
Nankoweap camp (Mile 53.0)
Hiked to top of debris flow for geology and history talks, then up to granaries.
Landmark # 9
Monday, March 29
Bar. 28.25 clear, calm
Stopped at the Little Colorado. It was running very muddy, a huge contrast from the clear, blue-green of August, 2000.
Carbon Creek camp 1 pm (mile 64.6)
Landmark # 10
Ferried downstream to Lava-Chuar Canyon. Hiked up canyon, across Chuar Valley to Carbon canyon, and back down to camp, through Tapeats, then Dox?
Tuesday, March 30
Up 6 am
Hum. 22 breezy (started about 1 am), few light clouds
Followed Beamer Trail across Espejo Wash to Comanche Wash, went up Comanche (3-400 yds?) to old trail on right, then up Dox to “the fort.” Old trail goes on flats over cliffs to Tanner Trail. (There is a dayhike down Tanner to top of Redwall, with awesome view).
Lunch stop across from Comanche Point (mile ??), then hiked up to Pueblo (?) ruins. Took pictures of pottery (~1,200 AD), Comanche Point, and where Tanner Trail comes out.
Cardenas was already occupied by hikers L
Camped above Neville’s rapid (mile 75.5)
Campfire – Jocelyn played Dear Prudence
Wednesday, March 31
After breakfast, talk about lava dikes and sills in Shinumo.
Walk up Clear Creek to waterfall.
Lunch at Zoroaster Canyon (mile 84.5)
Stop for two hours at Phantom Ranch.
Ran Hance Rapid – Granite Gorge begins.
Trinity Canyon camp
No GPS (one satellite)
Up 5:20 am
Breakfast – sausage and pancakes by Jocelyn.
Walked up Trinity before geology talk. Buzzed by a hummingbird.
Ivo talked about metamorphic rock.
Ran rapids for about two hours.
Lower Bass camp 11:30 am (layover camp) (mile 108.3)
Lunch – tuna salad pocket sandwiches
Hiked up river to Bass cable crossing, then downriver to top of ridge. Then alone up to saddle along North Bass Trail. Back at camp – picture of lizard and cactus flower.
Dinner – gin and tonic!, hamburgers, baked beans, salad, cherry cake.
Rained during the night.
Up at 6:30
Hum 53 (raining)
Hiked up Bass trail to saddle with group, then down to Shinumo Creek to the remains of Bass’ camp. Rained on and off. Shot roll of Velvia 50, starting yesterday, then put in roll of Velvia 100 at Bass’ camp.
Lunch – grilled cheese and ham sandwiches, chicken noodle soup, hot tea
Hung out in tent after lunch, raining pretty steadily, writing, reading Ivo’s chapter in Beus and Morales. Good, relaxed time.
Late afternoon, hiked up to nice knob on river side of saddle. My camera was buzzed (literally) by a hummingbird, just as I clicked the shutter, and it appears as a gray blur.
Meditated. Took pictures of the clearing storm.
Two unconformities here. Tapeats sandstone stops because of an island in the Tapeats sea.
Dinner – beef stir fry, rice, cucumber salad
Wake up with rain, but just at first light (~5:30), it stops.
Breakfast – egg, chips, and (avocado) conglomerate, big bowl of raisin bran.
Floated to Blacktail Canyon, brief hike up. 1.2 billion year conformity. Very magical place.
Lunch at Deer Creek. Hike up canyon, past the patio, up to Dutton’s Spring, which is a gush of water coming out of the rock.
Yellow flowers: brittlebush
Orange: globe mellow
Followed the strange trail up on the embankment on the left side (the “ditch”). No one is sure why it’s there.
Camped close by at Pancho’s Kitchen (mile 136.5). Was dark for dinner, but there was a great overhang of Tapeats sandstone, room enough for everyone. And it was the only day it rained at dinner!
Landmark #13 (no altitude)
Dinner – spaghetti & meatballs, garlic bread, salad, chocolate pudding brownies.
Aborted a hike up Matkatamiba Canyon, because water at the mouth meant a short swim.
Hiked up Havasu, only to first big pool, which was blocking the route. Walked across a log to get to the “cave tunnel,” and went a little further, and got some good pictures looking upstream.
Camped at National Canyon (mile 166.5)
Dinner: steak, mashed potatoes, salad, Bob and Mary 40th anniversary cake
Hum 79 clear
Breakfast – pancakes, sausage, cereal
Stopped above Fern Glen on river left to hike up to sheer wall and look at Alamo (Fern Glen) Arch.
Crossed the river to Fern glen canyon. Short hike to a pool (which wasn’t there in August, 2000). Getting past meant an armpit-deep wade in the water. or a scramble up a slick angled rock, which Drifter was kind enough to spot me on. There was a large pool at the pourover (again which was dry in 2000).
Scouted Lava rapids. The walk up was a desert garden, with many flowers. Ran Lava, with Alex driving. Very smooth run!
Lunch below Lava – roast beef, cheese, etc. sandwiches.
Camp – Whitmore Wash (layover camp, mile 188). The weather looked OK, so I didn’t set up my tent. Hiked a short way up the wash, and was just sitting down for a meditative rest when I felt a sprinkle of rain. I tried to ignore it, but then I felt more, so figured I should head back to camp. The wind was picking up, too. I had just taken a few steps when a gust blasting up the wash nearly knocked me off my feet. “OK, this is getting serious,” I thought, hoping the items I had hung on a branch to dry were still somewhere in Arizona. When I got back, tents were flapping wildly, people were scrambling to secure them, and fortunately I found my stuff had blown to the ground nearby. The storm played out shortly, leaving a remarkable glowing sky with sprinkles on and off. Rob and I helped each other set up our tents.
Dinner – mexican soup, corn pancakes, sour cream
Up 6:30 am
Breakfast – french toast, cereal
Hiked up to top of gorge to rim of ancient Whitmore Canyon, now filled with lava flows. Walked past (under!) lava columns. It was amazing to look almost straight up at them. At the top, we saw tourists on ATVs.
Lunch – salami, cheese, etc. sandwiches.
Hiked alone up Whitmore Wash. About 3.4 mile up, I picked my way across a new rockfall with very sharp rocks. Gene had tried to go further, but was stopped by a large rock. I found a way up and over on the left, and soon came to a high pourover, where I stopped.
Dinner – tortilla casserole, rice, salad. (moon in Scorpio)
At the campfire, Dave read from David and Patrick McManus. Hilarious!
Wednesday, April 7 last full day . . .
Hum 56 light breeze, thin clouds
Breakfast – grilled bagels, cream cheese, cereal
Motored until lunch, at 221 mile
After lunch, stopped at Travertine falls.
Camped at Gneiss Canyon (mile 235.5) Landmark # 16
Precious little room for tents nearby the boats, but instead of opting for distance and privacy, as usual, I set up close by on a slant of sand, with just enough of a level ledge at the back for my sleeping bag.
Walked up the canyon from 4:30-6. Found routs past a couple moderately difficult pourovers, back about a mile to a 30 foot pourover with a slight stream of water. Climbed a couple of side drainages. Great fun.
Somewhat emotional last supper. Lots of wine and beer left. Jan thanked the crew. Jocelyn sang Bobby McGee, and Dear Prudence again, to our delight.
Up 5:10 pm
Breakfast – more egg and potato conglomerate, cereal
Left camp about 8 am. Met jet boat about 8:20, left about 8:45. Got to South Cove about 10:15. Much evidence of low Lake Mead water level. The lake didn’t start at Grand Wash cliffs any more, instead we zoomed along the river where it had started cutting down through the sediment.
The bus drove us to Airport Point on Grapevine Mesa, where
Ivo gave a last talk about his early work in the Canyon, and we had lunch
(sandwiches, etc.). Then it was the long drive back to Flagstaff.
My life jacket's name was Hotuata. Gear bag #122, tent #282. “Hotuata” is probably a misspelling of Hotauta (or Hotouta), who may have been a Havasupai chief.
“ When fifteen miles from El Tovar, the first gaze into the Canyon is afforded at Hotouta Amphitheatre, a deep indentation in the walls of the south rim. The road here runs close to the rim. This amphitheatre receives its name from Hotouta, the son of Navaho, the last great Havasupai chief. Hotouta was an enlightened Indian, friendly to the better class of whites, clear-headed and honorable in his dealings with them.” (George Wharton James, 1912)
There is a Hotauta member of the Bass Limestone, a Hotauta Canyon, and Hotauta Amphitheater.