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Thread: Grand Canyon River Trip 2018

  1. #1
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    Default Grand Canyon River Trip 2018

    Well, my scheme to land a permit for another Grand Canyon self-guided river trip worked out, and I'll be launching with a group on Friday morning for 28 days on the river. Only one wooden boat on this trip, a replica of a 1950s era dory, the Gem--built (and rowed) by my friend Tom M. Here's the Gem in action:

    DSC_7395.jpg

    DSC_7405.jpg

    And me on one of my favorite side hikes:

    IMG_6432.jpg

    IMG_6434.jpg

    Enjoy the Forum while I'm gone. I confess I probably won't miss it at all...

    Tom
    You don't have to be prepared as long as you're willing to suffer the consequences.

    www.tompamperin.com

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Grand Canyon River Trip 2018

    What's the forum for but to enable us to leave it? Enjoy the trip.
    -Dave

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Grand Canyon River Trip 2018

    Sounds like a blast. Have fun!

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Grand Canyon River Trip 2018

    Tom,
    Enjoy the Grand and all that big water. I bet you come back with some great stories. And thanks for the thought and energy you put into the recent discussions relating to Phoenix IIIs and Navigators, gave me a lot to think about.

    Cheers, Dan

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Grand Canyon River Trip 2018

    All waters flow right back to here. You'll see. You'll see.
    Quote Originally Posted by James McMullen View Post
    Yeadon is right, of course.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Grand Canyon River Trip 2018

    Have a great trip, I will be on Bright Angle Trail at abut the same time. Maybe I will be lucky enough to get a pic.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Grand Canyon River Trip 2018

    Made it back, great trip, 29 days on the river, great people, flipped my raft once, had a perfect run through Lava Falls (so go figure). Here's a couple of photos--more later when I have time:

    Antelope Canyon, AZ (a side trip with my wife after getting off the river):

    Antelope Canyon 1.jpg

    On the river, rowing the flat water:

    DSCN3778.jpg

    More later--heading off to Canyon de Chelly.

    Tom
    You don't have to be prepared as long as you're willing to suffer the consequences.

    www.tompamperin.com

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Grand Canyon River Trip 2018

    Pictures. We want to see lots and lots of pictures, please. It is unlikely that I have enough time left in this world to get to see the Grand Canyon through my own eyes, so I would appreciate seeing it through yours. Antelope Canyon looks wonderful.
    Hope for the best, but plan for the worst.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Grand Canyon River Trip 2018

    Antelope Canyon is great, at least in non-high season during the last tour of the day so you have lots of time to look around and take photos (you can't explore it on your own--need to have a booked tour).

    A few more river photos. Here's the view downstream from atop the Redwall Limestone at Little Nankoweap:

    DSCN3707.jpg

    And a snowy morning (on the north rim, anyway):

    DSCN3708.jpg

    Here's my friend Tom Martin in his 1950s replica dory Gem, which he has been rowing through the big whitewater of Grand Canyon since 2009:

    DSCN3680.jpg
    You don't have to be prepared as long as you're willing to suffer the consequences.

    www.tompamperin.com

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Grand Canyon River Trip 2018

    You have my admiration as well as a bit of envy WI-Tom. I've seen Grand Canyon from several vantages like both rims, and partial bits off both but never from a boat in the river. A special place worthy of many trips. I hear the parts available to "tourists" are becoming limited by crowding and rules and feel lucky that we got there earlier.
    Tom L

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Grand Canyon River Trip 2018

    Tom,

    I've been lucky enough to do three full-length river trips so far. Maybe my next one will be in a wooden dory--got to build it first, though. It's a great experience. One of the nice things about taking the max allowed time (29 days during winter season) like we did is that you get lots of layover days for hiking and exploring side canyons along the way.

    A few more photos. I did a long-ish hike on one layover day starting up Shinumo Creek, where someone had arranged a bunch of early 20th century mining/camping relics into a nice display:

    DSCN3720.jpg

    Continued up the creek (lots of cool slab traverses just above the water) for a few miles with vistas like this:

    DSCN3721.jpg

    On my way to a section of the canyon filled with Arthurian names (e.g. Merlin's Abyss, Mordred's Abyss, Excalibur), hoping to be able to climb up somewhere through the ever-pesky steep band of Tapeats Sandstone to get to easier hiking above the abysses. I spent a few hours climbing up a scary loose steep ridge and tromping around the base of the Tapeats band with no luck finding a sane way through, finally gave up and climbed back down a different wash into a tributary creek. A little ways up the tributary stream I finally found a way through the Tapeats along some scrambly ledges.

    One neat feature of my route was this tree that had arranged to grow up through a hole in a Tapeats shelf:

    DSCN3723.jpg

    Once above the Tapeats layer, I had a wide open bench to traverse--steep sidehill hiking to contour around toward Merlin's Abyss:

    DSCN3724.jpg

    Right around here I started to wonder about how long it would take to get back to camp...
    You don't have to be prepared as long as you're willing to suffer the consequences.

    www.tompamperin.com

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Grand Canyon River Trip 2018

    Unfortunately, my search for a route up through the Tapeats layer had taken me well out of the way on my journey toward Merlin's Abyss. It would have been a few more miles of steep sidehill non-trail hiking to get there. I sat down, ate my lunch, and thought about it for a while--then decided to go back.

    Chimneyed down an easy scrambly tower:

    DSCN3728.jpg

    and on down a hill toward the top of the Tapeats (the tall brown layer making up the cliffs in the photo below):

    DSCN3730.jpg

    And a shot looking back to my "tree through the rock" route through the cliffs, which were broken up pretty well here, with no real scary moves:

    DSCN3731.jpg

    And on down the tributary wash through some Vishnu Schist narrows:

    DSCN3733.jpg

    Finally reconnected with Shinumo Creek and backtracked my approach for a few miles more. To get into Shinumo Creek I'd had to climb up and over a ridge (decent trail) and scramble down the other side (no trail, steep, but not too bad in the daytime). By the time I got to where I thought I had come down, it was dark. Oops.

    Luckily I had put a tiny headlamp into my pocket as an afterthought. After an hour or so of exciting scrambling around in the darkness (which would have been MUCH more exciting had I been able to see more than a 10' diameter circle of weak lamplight), I found what I thought was the scrambly route back up over the ridge. Turns out I was right--and I climbed out onto the ridge top just as the full moon rose, making the headlamp unneeded during the walk back down to camp.

    Got back late at night, well after supper--and well after missing my turn to wash dishes. A perfect day!
    You don't have to be prepared as long as you're willing to suffer the consequences.

    www.tompamperin.com

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Grand Canyon River Trip 2018

    It was cold sometimes--daytime temps in the 50s or 60s, but mornings and evenings often cool enough to bundle up a bit:

    DSCN3746.jpg

    Havasu Creek is a pretty popular side hike--turquoise blue water fronted by sculpted cliffs:

    DSCN3762.jpg

    And this year, a bunch of fish (native suckers):

    DSCN3763.jpg

    More snowy cloudy chilly mornings:

    DSCN3766.jpg

    Which still felt pretty good compared to a Wisconsin February...
    You don't have to be prepared as long as you're willing to suffer the consequences.

    www.tompamperin.com

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Grand Canyon River Trip 2018

    Some whitewater action (some photos are from earlier trips in 2012 and 2015). Here's the Gem running a rapid:

    DSC_2473.jpg

    This boat has a good claim to be the first modern(ish) whitewater dory on the Grand Canyon back in the early 1950s, combining the keel rocker of a McKenzie River drift boat with a fully-decked design. It's 15' long, 5' wide, but compared to the 18' rafts the rest of us were rowing, Gem looks like a tiny boat in the big waves of the Canyon:

    DSC_2466.jpg

    But even in a big raft, sometimes you aren't going to stay dry:

    DSC_2843.jpg
    You don't have to be prepared as long as you're willing to suffer the consequences.

    www.tompamperin.com

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Grand Canyon River Trip 2018

    What a great trip! Thanks for sharing this. Going on the bucket list.

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Grand Canyon River Trip 2018

    Thanks for the pics. Looking forward to more of 'em.
    Hope for the best, but plan for the worst.

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Grand Canyon River Trip 2018

    Hey Tom

    Any tips for next winter? I would be a first time through trip for me but I could take the 28 days. Any outfits I could get more info from that you would recommend?

    Thanks

    Tom

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Grand Canyon River Trip 2018

    Tom,

    I'll send you a pm with what I know about how to put a trip together. My trips have all been self-guided, and I've been fortunate enough to have people with lots of experience with me. But if you got a permit, chances are good you could find experienced people via the Internet to come along if you don't have your own connections. I'm not sure how far you need to book in advance if you want to do a guided commercial trip, but they don't run during the winter.

    It's definitely a long shot to get a permit in the high season (March-October), but chances do improve somewhat during the winter. I've done a Nov-Dec trip, and two Feb-March trips--some chilly weather, but nothing compared to a Wisconsin winter. And it's far less crowded, as commercial trips don't run during the winter--there are only 2 groups launching per day maximum.

    Tom
    You don't have to be prepared as long as you're willing to suffer the consequences.

    www.tompamperin.com

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Grand Canyon River Trip 2018

    A few more pictures. Here's a nice lunch spot I found above camp one day:

    IMG_6218.jpg

    From my 2012 trip, a replica cataract boat about to take the (NOT recommended) left run at Bedrock Rapid (Dave Mortenson, the rower's father, took the photo:

    Bedrock Rapid.jpg

    How NOT to run 232-Mile Rapid (aka Killer Fang Falls) from the 2012 trip:

    Norm at Killer Fang Falls.jpg

    And another Dave Mortenson photo from 2012 of the replica dory Portola approaching Vasey's Paradise--one of my favorite Canyon photos:

    Vasey's Paradise.jpg
    You don't have to be prepared as long as you're willing to suffer the consequences.

    www.tompamperin.com

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Grand Canyon River Trip 2018

    I've seen it from the top too, but it's much more impressive from your angle.
    "Simple minds discuss people, Average minds discuss things, and Great minds discuss ideas".

  21. #21
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    Default Re: Grand Canyon River Trip 2018

    Thanks for posting the photos, Tom.

    They take me back to when I backpacked in the Canyon in 1980. I found it to be an incredibly beautiful, and spiritual place.

    Ralphie

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