Sooo... I left off as we were arriving at the top of Big Drop One. I forgot to mention in my last blog, on the way down river on the first day, Brian our guide dropped us off on the Loop Canyon we hiked over the top of this canyon wall, and back down the other side. On top we stopped and took a ton of pictures. We were goofing for so long that Brian climbed up the other side to see if we were OK. Once down and back in the sport boat, we went just a couple of miles down river to the sign in for Cataract Canyon. Once you enter Cataract you have to sign up for a camp spot, as well as, it lets the park service know who is in the canyon. We were the only group in there because of the high water flow. We took some pictures there, then back in the sport boat and down to our campground. As soon as we hit the beach we started setting up camp. I was mildly hypothermic, everyone worked really hard at getting me in dry clothes, and helping me warm up. After we had camp set, the six of us (I will refer to us as DH) headed down a trail to check out the big drops. Big Drop One, leads directly into Big Drop Two. The east side of BD 2, has a run called Satan's Gut. Just one week before someone was sucked into the gut and the hydraulics held him down. He drowned right there in the river. Anyway, we went back to camp as the guides were setting up the kitchen and cooking dinner it started to sprinkle so Mike, Mark, Mickey, and I found a small grove of trees, and climbed inside them and had a nice glass of wine. I can not explain the roar of the river it is deafening. This small beach was quite beautiful. After dinner, Magnesium Girl made us a nice fire, and we sat around and told stories. I was able to share some pictures of the family and Boomer from my Ipod. My goal was to make it to ten o'clock. I had to excuse myself at 9:39. Exhausted! I crashed hard. The next morning I was up by five. I wondered down the canyon and set up my little video camera. I took 21 minutes of video of nothing but the sun coming up through the canyon. The audio is not that great but the video is beautiful. I also took several (hundred) pictures, of the sunrise. I struck my campsite fairly quickly, and helped make the cowboy coffee. As the guides started waking up breakfast was started and one of the guides discovered a small valve on the back of his boat was broken allowing water to flood his boat. He had a spare valve but it took a couple of hours to fix. No problem for the DH gang! Mike played baseball with drift wood. Mark, Mickey, Lisa, and Aimee struck their campsites and I just wondered around. The rocks on this beach were awesome. I found a ton of fossils for Trey. One had a thousand little fossils and I was showing it to one of the guides, as I started looking for more he launched it into the river. He didn't know I was going to keep it. He felt so bad that for the next hour everyone in camp started helping me find fossils. Aimee found an awesome geode that she gave me to give to Trey. The guides decided it was probably too dangerous to shoot through Satan's gut.... So the plan was to ride through Big Drop One, and Big Drop Two, in the sport boat, and launch the paddle boat before Big Drop Three. Mickey was not feeling well, and so it was decided I would swap her places and paddle down with Mark, Lisa, and Aimee. HECK YEAH! After Collin gave me a safety talk, we loaded in. Mark told me the key was to do exactly what he was doing. If Collin called out a command, do it exactly as Mark was doing. We paddled around the top of Three for a few minutes, then Collin called out our direction and we hammered Big Drop Three. Over the Brahma, and next to the Frog Hole, at one time, we were so high sided that I could not reach the water with a six foot paddle. The haystacks inside BD 3 were 25 feet tall. Once inside the rapids, it is a very fight or flight reaction. We made it through BD 3, and on to Mile long, and eventually all the way down to S-Turn, a huge new rapid that has just developed. After S-Turn, the water flattens out and you are in Lake Powell. It doesn't look any different than Cataract except for the lack of white water. We found a beach to take the paddle boat out and we all took a minute to congratulate each other. To make it through Cataract at 55,000, no one coming out of the boats, and the boats no going over, or getting caught in an hydraulic was amazing and a compliment to our guides. We all loaded into the sport boats, and headed down to Bode Canyon. Sorry... I need to get in the shower. I will continue the Bode Canyon Story, in a bit.
Love you all!