Keeping cool in the water...as long as
you play by the "Duke" Rules
After breaking camp just beyond the Kwagunt Rapids (Mile 56), we
headed down the river. I
know that I was in Kyle's boat today along with Phil.
I believe that Michael paddled this day.
Not sure about where everyone else was.
After a short five mile trip, we stopped at a point where the
Little Colorado river joins the Colorado.
The contrast in colors where the rivers meet was striking.
Along the way, we traversed the mild 60 Mile Rapid and saw, for
the first time, the Tapeats Sandstone, which was tan-brown in color and
amazing in the number of thin layers, eroded to different depths.
Little Colorado river is a brilliant blue with a touch of sea green, due
to calcium carbonate, which is found about 10 miles up the river.
The water comes from springs, making it much warmer than the
Colorado. We spent a good portion of the morning and early afternoon
swimming in the Little Colorado. After
hiking about a quarter-mile upstream, we all took our life jackets off,
stepped into the armholes and fixed them around our waists.
Then we swam a small rapid.
Although the rapid was tiny and the pace of the river slow, it
was amazing to feel the sweep of the water as it reached the slight
(maybe 1 foot) drop that formed the rapids.
Most of us swam the rapid multiple times - and some joined a
chain of about 10 people who went down together, legs under the arms of
the person in front.
people climbed up to a large rock and jumped approximately 12-15 feet
into the water. Kyle, not
surprisingly, did a back-flip. After all the activity, many of us spent some time lounging
around in the water. Many
of the rocks were coated with a soft, grainy mud that was very slippery.
our time in the Little Colorado (I think) we went a short ways
downstream for lunch. We
(except, not surprisingly, the king of picky! [Michael]) feasted on Taco
Salad. As we left the
Little Colorado, we turned from a SSE course to a more SW course,
signifying that we were beginning to cut across the canyon.
At this point the rocks entered the Great Unconformity period
(which I still don't understand) and, at around mile 64, we began to see
the Dox Sandstone, which was reddish brown.
Along the way that afternoon, we also saw, on the left around
mile 64, the Sacred Hopi Salt Mines, which the Hopi used to make long
yearly trips to visit. The
salt crystallization was evident on the rocks near the water.
down the river, around mile 65, we passed Lava Canyon and the rapids
named for it. Around this
time, we could see, off in the distance to the right, the palisades, the
undulating top layer of Kaibab limestone.
Further, off to the left, we could see Comanche Point, which
appeared like a fist with the thumb apart and sticking up.
Approaching mile 71, we could see, on a ridge above the river, a
small stone structure which was an Anasazi building.
No one is sure exactly what the building served as - it could
have been a lookout (as you could see a good distance upstream from it)
or a place for religious gathering.
The following morning we (though I was the only one from our
group to go) hiked to this structure.
Best (and only) shower of the week here at Clear Creek.
mile 72 (just above the Unkar Rapid), we stopped on the right side of
the river for a short hike up to some Anasazi ruins.
The ruins, located on a slight hill above the river, included
stones laid as the foundation for various small structures.
There were pottery shards all around.
Further on the trail was a large rock that had several
petroglyphs, including a spiral.
the short hike, we returned to the rafts and went to the other side of
the river to camp. The day
was hot and camp faced west, leaving us in the heat of the afternoon sun
(before it receded behind the cliffs) for approximately 90 minutes.
To get some relief, Michael, Jeff, Philip and Lee took two
buckets and the "ironing board" from the camp kitchen, placed
them in the water as a table, and played hearts.
cliffs beyond our campsite were beautiful and it was amazing to watch
the light change the colors of the rocks.
The Kaibab was a bleached white while the Dox sandstone burned a
fiery red. The shadows, as
the sun set, only increased the beauty. In the distance to the East (I think) was the glorious
limestone Temple of Apollo.
that night was steak and mashed potatoes after an appetizer of pesto
The wind was a major
problem all evening, it was blowing hot and hard upstream towards us.
We had the second of our three Scrabble games that night (and the
only one Michael did not win). I
woke up covered in sand from head to toe.
Back to the Top
On to Day 5