Day 7 – February 9
Nevills camp (76.1) to Across from Pipe Creek camp (89.3)
River Miles: 13.2 miles
What a day! We were up before the sun with a call for breakfast from Caroline. Everyone was still tired but we had 3 rapids in front of us that were class 7&8 and we still needed to make it to Phantom Ranch so Grandpa could hike out tomorrow.
Breakfast was granola and yogurt; quick and easy. Then we broke camp. Somethings are getting easier about setting up and breaking camp each day. People are familiar with where things go on which boats and how to rig the boats. But others are getting more difficult, like trash and recycling. Where do we put it and how to make sure we don’t rip a hole in the garbage bags as they are jostled around. At our next layover or shorter day I’m going to tackle that task.
We figured out garbage enough to get on the river. A big rapid, Hance, was waiting just a mile downstream. This is a gnarly rapid without an easy way through. We stopped to scout the rapid and the best line was squeezing between exposed rocks and a submerged rock (hole) on the right and then moving left through the rapid to avoid large rocks at the bottom.
We were all a bit nervous. As we dropped into the rapid the waves rose up higher than Grandpa and I. Daddy did an amazing job and only once got turned (knocked) a bit sideways so that a wave hit solidly on my side. I was drenched! Everyone got through unscathed and elated. It was a wild, exhilarating ride!
Somewhere after Hance the canyon changed from rubble strewn foot hills to the Inner Gorge with narrow canyon wall made of a rock called schist. It was amazingly beautiful.
Sockdolager was the next rapid, a class 7. It had a few surprises but was mainly just fun.
The last big rapid of the day was Grapevine. We were already in the Inner Gorge and the schist rock is quite slippery. As we pulled in to scout the rapid Grandpa tried to throw the bow line to another boat and missed. The current carried us past the other boat. Frantically, Daddy pulled the oars out and struggled to get us into the eddy before the current pulled us into the rapid. Grandpa jumped out and I hung onto a rock (both bad safety ideas) but we did get the raft secure and Daddy was able to scout the rapid. He came back with a plan but a bit puzzled. There wasn’t a great way through. Daddy said it looked like a giant fruit basket. Obstacles everywhere. Gulp! We held on tight and away we went! There were huge waves and submerged rocks but we made it! Everyone else did too!
Because of the narrow canyon walls in the inner gorge the river moved quickly. We stopped for lunch at Clear Creek Camp only 3 miles from Phantom Ranch. There were tiny lizards darting around everywhere.
The sun had warmed the rocks and we all enjoyed a sunny lunch spot munching on pringles and Chinese chicken salad.
Phantom Ranch was our next stop. I rode with Shawn for those 3 miles so my foot could be elevated. It’s a bit swollen after the hike yesterday. Shawn’s cheek is almost entirely healed – Praise God!
We spent about 90 minutes at Phantom Ranch. We called you all (SO good to hear your voices!), sent a postcard, checked the weather report (temps are dropping tomorrow through Tuesday and maybe rain Mon/Tue), and spoke to the rangers.
We also filled up our water jugs. As we walked back to the boats at the beach, I felt relief. I love being out here in the backcountry without the hustle and bustle – I was so glad to have 13 more days out on the river.
The only downside is that we are not with you all. Daddy and I are so excited to adventure with you three. We miss you!
One mile downriver was our camp. It allowed for an early morning ferry across the river for Grandpa. The current is really strong though and getting to camp this evening, Daddy got stuck in an eddy and the right side of his boat got sucked under the water. It startled him! Grandpa and Andrew had to move to the left side of the boat to get unstuck from the water.
This is a camp with big rocks strewn across a sandy windswept bank. There is not a lot of protection. We will move on tomorrow after Daddy gets back from ferrying Grandpa.
Camp set-up was a little late today. We ended up eating by headlamp (green chili stew with cornbread and a Reece’s peanut butter no-bake dessert). Caroline is having a rough time. She was really sad today about all her stuff blowing away in her tent. She realized today her wallet and ID were in the tent as well and she cried for a bit because it overwhelmed her. Please pray for her. I listened and talked with her for a while and she felt better enough to join the group around the campfire. I gave her a pair of socks, a stretch fleece and the winter hat that you gave me, Asa, to use for the rest of the trip. She had been really cold especially in the mornings. I’m glad I brought extras!
It’s time to do laundry again. I’m hoping to start some underwear and long underwear tomorrow morning and then rinse them by dragging them in the drag bag behind the boat.
I’m excited that you’ll be reading this in just a few days. We’re sad to say goodbye to Grandpa, he’s been a lot of fun to have on the trip. Grandpa spoke at dinner tonight about his experience with us on the trip and then he prayed for us all. I surely did appreciate that.
We love you SO so much. Enjoy reading this and look forward to Volume Two.