The Grand Time

Tom's Journal

June 30, 2007 - Day 46

View A Different Day

One of the many things I’ll miss about this once-in-a-life time is waking before dawn and trying to guess which will be the last star the sun’s light will wash away.

Most of the group was awake by the time my guessing game ended at dawn; soon after Brian and I made our way with our kayaks down the steep bank and waved good bye to them.

Loren’s truck pulling a trailer to carry our gear had broken down on its way to our next stopping point at South Cove on Lake Mead. Brian and I agreed to kayak ahead of the group in hopes of making arrangements for storing our gear a few days.

We divided the mileage into quarters and took a snack and water break after each, which worked out to be about every two hours. We were making about four miles an hour on the water.

Before our first break we floated by an abandoned bat-guano mine situated in a cave 800 feet above the right shore. It is amazing how much money must have been spent constructing it; just as amazing if not more so was the new “Sky Walk” recently built thousands of feet above the left shore a little farther downstream.

The vast majority of the shore line was the same type of muck that we started seeing the day before, and it got deeper the farther we went. Even though the water was almost completely flat, it was moving faster than I expected.

More than once I thought about what I would do if something unexpected happened. With vertical shores that would crumble into the water when touched combined with a strong current, I never did come up with a plan. Fortunately, with one almost-exception, I didn’t need one.

A “sort-of” rapid had formed in a place where the river missed its former channel. It had weird sideways currents and one tipped me enough so that water flowed into the cockpit of my boat, which was open because it is more comfortable that way on long stretches. A good waker-upper for sure!

Finally, after about 30 miles, the river became Lake Mead. The transition is not a gradual one-the brown river water appears to flow straight down like a water fall into the blue lake water. There is even a steady little standing wave where brown meets blue.

Also quite noticeable was the difference in the way the two types of water smelled. Neither was particularly bad, just quite different from the other.

“Welcome to Lake Mead” were the words from Jeff, who was one of four people on a nearby motorboat. He gave me some cold beverages and asked if we wanted to be towed. I declined, but would soon regret it as we had a head wind and several miles to go to the boat ramp at South Cove.

We paddled on, with Brian quite a ways ahead of me. After more than an hour we re-joined on the left shore near a place called Sandy Point. After a snack we set out again, but not for long.

Right around the corner we saw our new friend Jeff on the shore with some other people. It turns out they all arrived there by coincidence and decided to have an impromptu party, to which we were invited.

The group also included Mistey, Dusty, Shawna, Paul and Pete among many others. We proceeded to have a great time; better yet, Dusty offered to let us leave our gear at his brother’s nearby house while we sorted out our equipment problems.

Especially memorable was the short cruise we took to (or more accurately onto)“trust me” rock on Paul’s party barge.

Unbeknownst to Brian and me, after one of our rafts got stuck on a sandbar in the river, the rest of our group agreed to pay $100 to a Hualapai motorized raft in exchange for pulling them all the way to South Cove.

So when they motored past our party at Sandy Point at about dusk, I’m not sure who was more surprised to see the other. Our new friends Mistey and Dusty quickly took Brian and me in their motorboat to meet the rest our group at the South Cove boat ramp.

Mistey and Dusty then very generously took a huge load of our gear to store it at Dusty’s brother’s home in the town of Meadeview; some of us went along to help while a few of the others didn’t and inexplicably concluded our plan was somehow faulty.

So I finally got to witness the discord among members of the group that we had avoided for so long, and (mostly because I was not involved) it was hilarious!!

The result was that one of our only two working vehicles drove off into the night, forcing Brian and me to drive to Flagstaff with Heather and Lila until about 2:30 am so they could get another car and return for the others.

This was without a doubt the longest day of the whole trip and the second consecutive full moon that I spent most of the night travelling. Just as well the trip was almost done; much more of this type of activity would no doubt give me cirrhosis of the river.

View A Different Day

Mile by Mile Photos

June 30, 2007 - Day 46
Mile 924 through Mile 956

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