The Grand Time

Tom's Journal

June 14, 2007 - Day 30

View A Different Day

We were greeted by cooler than normal temperatures and sunny skies.

After strapping gear to the rafts as best we could, we pushed off at about 9:30 am.

Before noon we arrived at House Rock, the first large rapid we have encountered. As we scouted it from the right shore, I felt an uncomfortable but familiar feeling I call “river mortis”. A series of waves-each larger than the one before-leads to a large hole in the center of the river near the bottom of the rapid.

Al and I went first in the kayaks; we were able to make our way just touching the right side of the big hole. The rafts came next and all did fine.

Since there were several smaller rapids following, I decided it was a good time for a rowing lesson and Peggy gave me her spot at the oars. I did reasonably well on the smaller riffles, but it was obvious I had a lot to learn in the bigger white water sections.

At the bottom of a rapid called Cave Springs, I was whooping because I thought we had made it. Suddenly the raft was hit by a wave from one side and a strong eddy on the other. It went sideways, then tipped to almost vertical.

With nothing to hold on to but the oars, I was tossed into the turbulent, swirly water. I had the sensation of being spun in circles while going deeper until my ears popped. I knew not to fight it and waited for my life jacket to bring me to the surface, which seemed like several minutes, but was probably more like twenty seconds.

When I finally popped up, I was completely out of breath. The next challenge was to get out of the cold water fast, because I was wearing nothing but the life jacket and a pair of pants, which were now down around my knees.

I got to the left shore and realized my hat, sunglasses and their restraint had all been torn off by the current. It was the first swim of the entire journey and the closest I have come to disaster on any river since a very bad experience over thirty years ago.

The mood during the rest of our time-covering a total of 17 for the day- was a lot more subdued. It didn’t help that another private group declined to let us stop at one of the classic hikes known as Silver Grotto.

We were relieved to find a good camp and quickly got situated, had dinner and retired early. No one talked about how bad things could have been, but at least for me, it was impossible not to think of it.

View A Different Day

Mile by Mile Photos

June 14, 2007 - Day 30
Mile 658 through Mile 674

May 16 2007 - Day 1May 17 2007 - Day 2May 18 2007 - Day 3May 19 2007 - Day 4May 20 2007 - Day 5May 21 2007 - Day 6May 22 2007 - Day 7May 23 2007 - Day 8May 24 2007 - Day 9May 25 2007 - Day 10May 26 2007 - Day 11May 27, 2007 - Day 12May 28, 2007 - Day 13May 29, 2007 - Day 14May 30, 2007 - Day 15May 31, 2007 - Day 16June 1, 2007 - Day 17June 2 - 11, Day 18 - 27June 12, 2007 - Day 28June 13, 2007 - Day 29June 14, 2007 - Day 30June 15, 2007 - Day 31June 16, 2007 - Day 32June 17, 2007 - Day 33June 18, 2007 - Day 34June 19, 2007 - Day 35June 20, 2007 - Day 36June 21, 2007 - Day 37June 22, 2007 - Day 38June 23, 2007 - Day 39June 24, 2007 - Day 40June 25, 2007 - Day 41June 26, 2007 - Day 42June 27, 2007 - Day 43June 28, 2007 - Day 44June 29 2007 - Day 45June 30, 2007 - Day 46July 1 - 13, Day 47 - 58July 15, 2007 - Day 59
The last day; The river’s end