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Kayaking the Grand Canyon

May, 2012

Steve, A friend and associate of Betsy’s, was on the waiting list for 15 years before his Grand Canyon permit came up recently.  By then many of his original rafting buddies had other priorities and were no longer boating – which was good news for us as we were invited along.  We had kayaked it years before but we hadn’t been kayaking a heck of a lot in the past 5 years, so could we really do it again?

We signed up and then jumped back on the South Fork American river this past winter to get back into boating shape.  Then in early May we loaded up the plane and Betsy, Ney-J and Mikey (a Tuolumne River guide and friend of Belyn’s) flew out to Flagstaff to meet up with the rest of the group. Betsy and I would kayak and act as safety boaters, while everyone else would be on rafts.

Most others drove  to the canyon, and while we were nearing our overflight of the canyon on the way on our three hour flight to Flagstaff we texted Steve’s family of four that was driving.  They were passing through Bakersfield with another 8 or 9 hours to go and they texted back, “Can you see our four middle fingers from there?”.

However you can’t fit kayaks in my plane. Fortunately there is a healthy industry of rental, shuttle and food services for rafters and kayakers, so it was easy to find kayaks to rent for the 16 day trip.

It was an awesome trip, and it turns out (after a wobbly first day in the rental kayaks) that we could kayak the Grand again. I have included more photos than usual for this trip because it is hard to capture all the canyon has to offer in just a few.

Sunset on put-in day

Moonlight on the rim as the moon rises

Mikey and Blythe rowing House rapid

Camping in the canyon – the best

Boatman Ney-J

Our rafts and two kayaks waiting our return from a hike

Ney-J in Red Wall Cavern

Mikey showing us how it’s done

Steve tossing a football in Red Wall cavern

Sometimes its busy, and sometimes its peaceful.

Redbud Canyon

It’s a magical place

Ney-J

The Little Colorado River – warm water, great fun

Lots of smiles on the LCR

Yes, it dropped straight down the river here

Hilltop Anasazi ruins

Clear Creek falls. Nice for a soapless shower.

Rocks. Lots of fantastic, sculpted, fluted rocks in the canyon. You’ll see more.

Look carefully – I’m on the left, Betsy is on the right.

Gene leading the way for the rafters

Ethan getting his mom wet

More rocks

Betsy

Betsy again

Upper Elves Chasm, after an easy but terribly exposed rock climbing move to get there

Upper upper Elves Chasm.  Easier climbing to get here.

Shinumo Wash

Still more rocks.

Betsy in the natural climbing gym called the “Doll House”

More rocks, but nice rocks

Thunder River, appearing right out of the side of the canyon

Thunder River Falls

The only shade on the hot Tapeats – Matcat loop hike

Sunset

Morning coffee overlooking camp

Betsy climbing up Matcat canyon

There are a lot of calm, peaceful sections between rapids

Havasu Creek

Confluence of the Colorado and Havasu

Ney-J doing a BIG layout backflip

There were lots of Bighorn Sheep around

Scouting Lava Falls (we all ran it together, so no pics!)

We drank most of the liquor by now, but we still had beer and wine to celebrate our successful runs through Lava Falls

Dry air and rock scrambles take a toll on Betsy’s legs.

Having fun at Pumpkin Springs (warm and muddy, more fun to jump into river)

Gene in the fluted rocks – fun climbing!

Last one of rocks…

The gang at take-out

2 Comments leave one →
  1. June, 2012 7:27 am

    Oh wow, that looks unbelievably awesome. What an amazing trip, and a great blog.

    • June, 2012 8:02 am

      Your blog is awesome too! Your photos of Iceland are beautiful. Good luck with your travel list.

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