Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Day 8 - Chocolate colored rapids

After the antics of last night it is a much slower start to today. After a high fat breakfast ( French toast and deep fried bacon) we are once again loaded up and set on our way. Within no time we are passing through changing landscape slightly greener than previously with higher canyon walls. Despite being in the same canyon somehow every corner seems to bring something new. Today's quite windy but even so you can feel the desert heat zapping all the moisture and energy away. The sun is on our left and consequently my left hand has been hit hard and is beginning to burn so I am sporting a funky Peak UK sleeve/glove to act as a sun block which is working really well. By lunchtime we have covered 12 miles. We stop at the little Colorado river which we looked down on only a few days ago. 
The confluence of the Little Colorado
The little Colorado is a silty tributary that feeds the canyon. It's a very brown milky colored flow that makes an incredibly colorful transition mix as it hits the bright blue water of the main Colorado. The heat from the little Colorado valley is amazing, we sit hiding under a rock ledge as we eat our lunch trying to keep out of the sun. After lunch it's a pull up competition of the rock shelter ledge, before a quick water fight, swim and shower in the last of the blue water. A squirrel watches all the antics as Rob rein-acts a movie screen and Anne takes a cheeky illegal paddle without BA or lid.
Lunch time antics... Andy climbing
... Anne paddling
... Rob movie recreating
The afternoon starts on the confluence we paddle over the convergence of colors and swirls before the river quickly turns a chocolaty mess. The change of color works magic with your senses and makes the water a little bit tricky to read at first. Within no time we are back surfing and tearing up the rapids again. After awhile and with the wind still biting through the valley I join Andy on the raft. Paddling a few rapids and crashing into the shallows and a few rocks it's not long before Andy takes back the oars. The canyon is now a lot wider and we have passed the South Rim and it's immense viewing platform on which we stood only a few days ago (on river left).
Claire and Andy enjoying the whitewater and views
It's not long before we reach our proposed campsite and find it already occupied and the next. We haven' t seen anyone else on the river until this point and now we have come across 2 groups and over 16 rafts!! We say hi and move on eventually finding a spot just above our first class 6 rapid. After almost 23 miles today everyone is shattered. We eat, chat and then sleep. Tomorrow will be another busy day! 
The last of the blue water
It's hard to believe we have been in the canyon For 4 days. It feels so long as we have done so much and have paddled over 70 miles. What's more insane is it is just the start as we still have 14 days left.