Thursday, May 28, 2009

Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, May 24th - May 27th

Good Morning,

Sunday.... Well Sunday started off with a drive from Monticello, to Moab, just 54 miles to the North. Along the way, we stopped on the side of HWY 191 to take some pictures of Mt. Peal. It has been completely socked in with weather all week. It was shrouded with clouds and just beautiful. We arrived at Navtec, and met our river guide, his name is Brian. Brian is 29 years old and lives in an RV behind Navtec. He guides here in the summer and then goes somewhere else to guide in the winter (Panama, or Central America). Mike and I were already packed in our river bags, so we went across the street to get a coffee. We had been ask to go a day early to accommodate four other boaters that were going down. With the water levels as high as they are right now the more people you have in a group the safer. We met the first couple, Mark and Mickey. Mark is from England, and a Cameraman, producer for the BBC. Mickey is from Germany, and is the Head Public affairs Officer for the IMF. They live in Washington DC, and have been married for 7 years. I can not tell you how awesome this couple is. Mickey has this quick wit about her and was by far keeping up with Mike in the comedy department. Mark is a very large teddy bear, very even keeled. The other's that joined our group, were Lisa, and Aimee. They are both Orthopedic Surgeons in Minnesota. Mark, and Mickey met Lisa, and Aimee, last year while dog sledding in Minnesota. They are awesome, as well. You would never had known they were doctors if Mark did not tell us. Soooo.... Off to Potash were we put the boat in the water. We loaded all of our equipment, and headed down in the sport boat. The difference in the sport boat is it has a small motor to get us 50 miles down to our first camp ground. Along the way Brian and Mike pointed out all of the river features we were seeing including Anastazi ruins and pictographs, and petrogliphs. We stopped in a grove of Tamirisk trees and went for about a mile hike, while Brian fixed a smoked Salmon lunch. We found more Anastazi ruins and took lot's of pictures. After lunch we motored on down to Spanish Bottoms, the campground where we stayed the first night. Spanish Bottom, is directly over the top of the first set of rapids. It is also on the canyon floor just 2000 vertical feet below the Dolls House. We set up camp and did a little exploring. All six of us now know as the rock group "Doll's House", hiked down to look at the first and second set of rapids. GNARLY!!!Water was pushing at 55,000 cubic feet per second!! It started raining on us and we headed back down to camp. When we got to camp Brian had started dinner. Grilling chicken, ribs, potatoes, and brownies, all on a camp fire. Mickey loves Bear Grylis, and bought a magnesium fire starting kit. She built a small fire next to the pit and we all huddled around it as it began to pour. We all held a tarp over the top of the fire to keep the food dry. We ate when it was ready, and took turns holding the tarp. We all ran to our tents after dinner except Mike, and Brian, who decided to sleep under the stars, or in this case rain. I thought I would be the first up at 5:00, but Mike's sleeping bag was empty and he was way down the canyon. I broke down my camp site and, got dressed for the day. I took some really beautiful pictures of the cliffs reflecting off of the Colorado river. Brian cooked blueberry pancakes for breakfast and everyone else started breaking down their campsites. I started up the very steep (2000 vertical feet) Doll's House climb. I was moving quite fast, and stopped to take several pictures. Once I reached the plateau on top I found a shady spot, and waited on the others. I took pictures of each of them as they came over the rim. We continued on through the Doll's house to Beehive arch, and did some slot canyoning, and spelunking. Then Brian led us back to a cave Butch Cassidy used as a hideout, and we had lunch in there. We then went on a side hike to Surprise valley. BEA-uitful! I took the lead down to camp and ran down the hill, working on foot placement and eye foot coordination. Once down to camp the other two support boats were there. The paddle boat guide Collin. Cass in a safety boat, and Cass's friend Josh. All of these guy's were freaking awesome. We inflated the paddle boat, and loaded our stuff then Mark, Mickey, Aimee, and Lisa, got in the 13 footer, and Mike and I were in the sport boat, we hit the first set of rapids, and holy crap!!!!! I was not prepared for the shock... It was comparable to a car wreck at 25 mile an hour. I came off my spot and ended up in the bottom of the boat. Mike helped me back to my seat, and we waited in the eddy for the paddle boat. The guy's cruised through Brown Betty, like she was nothing! Very impressive. We continued down 15 more sets of rapids, us leading then waiting in the eddy for the paddlers. At the 1/2 way point we camped at a beach just above "Big Drop One"! OK.... I have to go get dressed, Mike and I are going with Dessert Highlights rappelling in 30 minuted it's a guided tour through "The Fiery Furnace" wit two rappels one of 120 feet and one of 60! I will work on the blog when we get back!

Love you!


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