Sunday, April 29, 2012

Day 4 - Launch Day 'Stars'

Group 2 have arrived. Dave 'Scout' Whortley, Ted Piper, Charlotte 'Chuck' McCauley, Antoine Dupuis and Anne P 'The Frenchies'. 
The Ceiba team lead by Scott Davies picks us up and we are on our way to Lees Ferry to begin our journey down the Grand Canyon. 
Arrving at Lees Ferry

For just 9 people we have a ridiculous amount of kit! Somehow and in only 6hrs!!! we have managed to load it all onto the rafts. Beer, boats, books, cameras, kit, chairs, tents, you name it we've got it. 
Hows much kit!
Loading all the essentials for the trip
 As we have to get an offical permit to get onto the canyon there are a number of legal requirements that have to be met. We meet the offical rangers and have our kit checked. One of the things thats checked are the bouyancy aids mine is the only bouyancy aid that isn't US Coast Guard approved but after a couple of minutes chat the National Park Ranger 'Peggy' gives it the all clear.  It looked for a moment that I may have to wear a bright ornage life jacket (neck collar and all) for the duration of the trip!!!

Its amazing how much gear you can fit onto 36ft of raft!
 Scott briefs us on how to set up camp (poo cans and all), use the kit and rafts, cook and make sense of the 19 day food plan before sending us on our way. Then we are off. We finally set voyage onto the crisp cold waters of the Grand Canyon. 100 yards later we stop and set up our first camp!
Scotty briefs us on how to set up camp
 A quick meal at Marble Canyon allows us time to look at maps and chat briefly about the plans. 20 miles ish a day 4/5 hikes before Diamond Creek then 3/4 days to Pearce Ferry. This is going to be an adventure I never forget.
Discussing plans for the 3 week trip
We step out of the minibus and all just stop. I have never in my life seen a sky like it. So many stars! So clear! We just stand, look up and watch. We are in the grand canyon!
Shiny new boat finally hits the crisp blue water of the canyon