Grand Canyon – Day 4

Day 4 – February 6

Nautiloid (35.0) to Nankoweap (53.4)
River miles: 18.4!

We got your message on the satellite phone! So glad you three are well. We also got a message from Caroline’s mom that the Eagles won the Superbowl – sorry G-Pops. When we got to camp this afternoon we were on Groover duty, which means we set up the toilet. It’s a pretty easy job so I had time to get out the sat phone while I iced my foot. The way the phone works is that it gets service based on the satellites in space. Because we’re in a canyon the signal can be short or long depending on the path of the satellite. So I powered on the phone and waited. Almost immediately I picked up a signal and then lost it quickly. This happened several times where the signal only lasted for 1-30 seconds – not long enough to get a message. I only had five minutes left for icing my foot when I picked up a strong signal and saw we had two messages. Daddy and I were delighted to see yours. Thank you!!

Today I woke to sprinkles on our tent! It was only a few drops but clouds were passing quickly overhead. I woke Daddy and we got dressed and packed up our tent. Breakfast was French toast, bacon, fresh strawberries and blueberries. Yummy!

We did a great job of breaking camp and packing up the boats. We were on the river by 9:15. I was in Shawn’s boat today as was Caroline. Daddy had Andrew and Grandpa in his boat.

Shawn woke with a swollen cheek – his tooth was hurting him and it looks like an infection in his gums. I was happy to ride with him so I could keep an eye in the swelling.

We had 3 rapids today – all class 4 and all read and run which meant no stopping to scout. We rotated oarsmen so everyone could have a turn and no one got too fatigued. I took 3 turns rowing today. I’m starting to really enjoy it but when the current is really strong it does strain my foot a bit.

The morning was lovely. We didn’t have much sun on the river. The sunshine usually doesn’t hit the river until 11/11:30.

We took a break around 11 to look for the remains of a wrecked boat from the 1960’s but we couldn’t find it. Maybe it’s been washed away. We pulled out the snack box at that stop and raided the candy bars. Daddy and I shared a Snickers and a Milky Way (full size!). At that stop we decided to stop 4 miles down river for lunch.

As we entered the last 2 miles, I spotted something red on the shore of a beach in a large eddy. Shawn rowed us over – it took a while but when we finally got there it was only a beaten up plastic oil or gas can. We were hoping it was part of Caroline’s tent. She was a little disappointed. Most of us have given up hope of finding her tent. This river is so huge and deep – it could be anywhere.

Caroline wanted a chance to row after our detour so she took over to catch up to the others. It was a beautiful stretch of river. The canyon walls rose majestically and the sun poured down onto the river – glorious warmth!

Daddy and the other boats were just floating, peacefully taking in the grandeur, waiting for us to catch up. It was one of his favorite parts of the day.

When we got to our lunch spot (Saddle Canyon) – it was taken! Another group was there! They had launched Feb 2 and were planning on 27 days on the river. This was a layover day for them, meaning they did not pack up their camp and row instead they stayed at that camp for two nights.

As we were eating lunch – hummus in pitas – the wind started to pick up and grey clouds filled the sky above the canyon. We didn’t linger at our lunch stop because the sky looked ominous. The wind was blowing hard when we pushed off from shore making it difficult rowing for our boatmen. Shawn was not feeling well, his cheek was still swollen and he had a headache so I took a turn to give him a break.

At one point the sun started to break through and Andrew began to sing “Tomorrow” from Annie. I joined in enthusiastically.

We had one more rapid, Nankoweap, before making camp. It was a really long rapid and the wind was fierce getting to it. The instructions in the guide book was to stay to the right of a large boulder for a fun, dry ride. Shawn got us through well and I turned to look for Daddy. I saw him at the boulder and he went left, skirting between the boulder and the canyon wall! I held my breath as he navigated through just fine. Phew!

We made camp at 4:20 PM still fighting the wind.

Andrew and Blake decided to hike up to Nankoweap granaries before dinner so left quickly. I started some laundry and Daddy and Grandpa set up the groover.

Shawn was feeling poorly. We took care of him the best we could. Grandpa, Matt, and I prayed for him. In a lot of ways, God is the only one who can help Shawn right now. I’m hoping it’s in God’s plan to heal Shawn because how cool will that be?!

It sprinkled a little on the last stretch into camp but then the sky cleared up. We can’t see much of the sky but when we came to bed the stars were brilliant and the sky dark and clear. I think it may have sprinkled a bit since being in here writing to you all. The laundry is still drying on the bushes outside so I’m hoping it doesn’t rain tonight. Daddy was asleep almost immediately. He rowed hard today.
Dinner today:hamburger/veggie burger, quinoa salad and pringles with brownies for dessert.

Time for me to sleep too. SO good to hear from you. Thank you for sending message. Lots of love to all. XOXO – Mom