Grand Canyon – Day 20

Day 20 – February 22

Two Hundred Twenty-two Mile (222.2) to Diamond Creek Take-Out (225.9)
River Miles: 3.7

Morning dawned with blue skies and sunshine. It was cold but not as bitter as the last two mornings. The coffee call came so we got up and dressed and immediately started to pack up the tent. At the breakfast call the tent was packed.

(All of our personal gear)

Breakfast was oatmeal with dried cherries and maple syrup. It was a beautiful morning. The sun was casting redwall reflections on the river, making that lovely red/orange color fill the river.

Breaking camp was a bit more joyful than usual with people pitching in and helping with different tasks.

Once boats were loaded we pushed off from shore one last time. Andrew was with Daddy and I for the last leg. We were on the water by 9:15 AM.

As a whole we took the last four miles a bit slower, soaking in the last moments of floating peacefully down the river. All of a sudden, Bill, Gerry, and Cory pulled out squirt guns and shot water at the other three boats! Shouts and squeals (me!) rang out as we did our best to stay out of range.

Shortly thereafter we passed the pirates and hollered good morning, knowing we would see them at the take out ramp soon. We hit our last rapid – 224 Mile Rapid – a class 3 and had a fun final run. The waves were big enough to splash Andrew and I.

The height of the canyon walls were coming down and replaced with formations – peaks and buttes – that rose up out of slopes and boulder fields. The final turn in the river had some impressive marble walls that were jagged and broken – resembling fingers to a small extent.

(Sand stake used to anchor the boats)

We pulled up to the ramp and Daddy attempted one last backflip off the raft. It was after this flip that he noticed his river knife was missing from his life jacket. He searched the river bottom as much as possible and after not locating it has concluded he lost it on his ledge jump yesterday. (We learned that ledge is called Crocodile Rock from PRO Shawn.)

The last two boats pulled up and controlled chaos ensued as we unloaded everything off the boats and attempted neat organized piles. PRO showed up around 10:45 and were pleased with our efforts. As a whole everything went smoothly – things that were lost earlier in the trip (a guide book, walkie-talkie, thermos) were found among the boats.

To deflate the boats, four people laid on the pontoons to squeeze out the air. It reminded me of you three on the air mattress downstairs. We pulled our things out of dry bags and ammo cans and loaded them into duffle bags and suitcases.

Finally everything was loaded and we all jumped into the 15-passenger van for a slow drive up an 18 mile stretch of dirt/gravel road. It took almost an hour. Peach Springs was our lunch stop. It’s a quaint little southwestern town on the Hualapai Reservation.

After lunch we loaded back into the van for a 2 hour drive to Flagstaff. Guess what road we were driving on?! Route 66! We passed through Seligman, the town that reportedly inspired the Cars movie. We saw a real – full sized – Fillmore and maybe Flo, Sheriff, and Mater but we were going too fast to see it all. We need to go back and visit!

Arriving back in Flagstaff we got a rental car, unloaded the truck of our personal gear, and finally SHOWERED!

Daddy, Andrew, Caroline, Matt, Mike, Shawn, and I all went out to dinner at a pizza parlor. So tasty! And olympics were on TV – did you guys watch any of the games?

Blake left for his place in Flagstaff after getting his stuff. Bill, Gerry, and Cory all left for Sedona (to drop off Gerry) and then Phoenix. I had gone for the first shower so all of us could get through and missed saying goodbye to Bill, Blake, Cory, and Gerry.

After dinner we dropped Andrew and Caroline back at the hotel and the rest of us drove to Phoenix. The sun went down and I got sleepy! This was what my body was used to after 20 days – waking with the sun and going to bed shortly after nightfall.

It may be a long night. I’m hopeful I’ll be able to sleep on the plane. It has been a very full day! We dropped Mike off at a hotel in Phoenix – his aunt is going to pick him up tomorrow and he’ll visit with them for a few days before flying home to Michigan. (But first we found milkshakes – Matt had a hankering – and fries.)

We made our way to the airport and here we are – waiting to board our flight. We leave at 1:45 AM and arrive at 6 AM in Chicago. Daddy and I are eager to get back to you! We love you lots.

XOXO – Mom