Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Gravity Works: Day 2

We woke at 5 am in the bunkhouse after a night of conversation and scorpion hunting. We had walked through the cabin that night a little more couciously after watching about a half dozen scorions scurry about underneath a blacklight next to the mule corral. It was still very warm and those that were up early made coffee and started breakfast. Repacking our belongings tighttly into our duffles we made our way down to Boat Beach just in time to watch the crew from the upper half of the river unload the dry bags. All of our things were packed into individual dry packs that closed tightly so that no moisture would enter. We were told that these would all need to be strapped down, including waterbottles, hats, and any other loose items. Apperently gravitiy works well here on the river but loose items might take a while to catch on to the trend.

Interpreters represent and dominate a good portion of this excusion.

Coming through the rapid.

We came across the Ross Wheeler boat that has been left on the bank of the Colorado River since 1915 just above Bass Rapid. In 1914 Bert Loper built the boat Ross Wheeler for an ill-fated trip with sometime associate Charlie Russell, and named it after a friend who had recently been murdered. Somehow Russell took the iron-clad boat away from a Loper acquaintance in Green River, Utah who was acting as the boat’s guardian. The Russell party, after many a momentous event into the next year, ran the Ross Wheeler into the Grand Canyon to River Mile 108, walked out the Bass Trail, and left “the Ross Wheeler rocking gently at the margin of the river…” Deciding that the Ross Wheeler might come in handy some day, John Waltenberg, William Bass’ occasional employee and partner, winched it up the bank out of reach of floods. it is a piece of history that has remained here on sight but has been a controversy over whether or not to bring it up to the rim for all to see. After a journey battling gravity and water in Grand Canyon it has meaning and emotional value being left exactly where it was abandoned. had I have gazed upn this vessel in a museum I don't believe it would not have moved me in the same way.

Gravity and time has made its mark on this part of northern Arizona. Pieces of rock, sand, dirt and debris have been broken down my water and time and have used gravity as a vehicle to the Colorado River. Because if this arid desert environment and water and debris moving in such a fashion we are rewarded with magnificent side canyons, natural , dams and waterfalls. Shinumo Creek and falls is just a stort hike up creek from the river. Parking the boats below, we decided to take the stroll and cool off. Upon reaching camp we had been wetted, dryed, sweating, shivering, and thirsty all within 5 minute intervals. All elements collide at the bottom of a rapid into the perfect storm of canyon experiences. That night we nursed blisters, sunburns, fire ant bites, and admired chaco tans. Our first complete river day behind us we redied ourselves for another. When you fall it is a rush. when you come face to face with forces larger than you, you are along for the ride. Its is so hard to have negative thoughts about wild places like Grand Canyon. Maybe its because you can not control them...just like gravity or water. You can only invest your energy in the present moment and enjoy. Keep calm and carry on.

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