Kris throws the first


Kris is serious about his commitment to Fill the Hole today, dumping the inaugural bag of dirt at the bottom of the Canyon.

Go, Kris!

Little water today


Wow, that didn't take long until I was annoyed with someone. I shouldn't be surprised, I guess, given how much on edge I've been as of late. I guess it's better than I get it out of my system early than to let it stew for a while.

After arriving at Pipe Springs, we surrendered all of our snacks (which had me worried about Kris and his need for food, actually), stuff all of our gear into dry bags and surrendered our backpacks, hopped into boats (we were in Tracy's boat, Tracy being the trip leader), and immediately started down the river. We had Horn Creek Rapids first, which I think is one of the big rapids on the river.

We stopped early, around 1 in the afternoon, for a short day. Given that our day started at 4:00 AM, it doesn't really feel like a short day. While Kris and Andy chose to go for a hike with the Upper Canyon group, I chose to stay behind and find a book to read in the "library," which is a large ammo case full of books about the Canyon, mostly about geology and less about rafting. I had chosen to travel with no books, no music and no other solidary endeavours, so as to force myself to socialize with other people and not just go off by myself. I don't know how wise this plan was, as I'm bored instead of social.

I ended up passing out on the campground, anyway. Yeah, sleeping. Now THAT'S a social activity. Everyone seemed to get a good hoot out of my passing out in the middle of the campground, as several people took pictures of my slobbering as slept.

Andy and Kris managed to hike a short ways, then turn back. Andy was good to me, and took pictures of rocks, as I would have done. Andy's taste in rock is different than my taste in rock, I note.

He did, however, take pictures of Kris for me, including his butt:

We found a good place to sleep tonight. We're under a tree, a short way away from the beach.



Dang! The cicadas are LOUD! And there are a LOT of them.

Those are Andy's fingers.

Red ants


We learned of the red ants at the orientation yesterday morning.

When they bite, they hurt. A lot. So don't get bitten.

Fortunately, they go to bed at dusk, so setting up a campsite near(ish) to them is okay, as they'll go to bed before us.

At least, that's the plan.

Morning hairdo


When I stumbled to the campsite this morning, Kris turned and smiled at me. And then started laughing. Andy turned at the sound, followed Kris' gaze, and also burst out laughing. Confused, I asked what was so funny. Through his gasps, he told me to take a picture of myself.

Foolishly, I did.

Butt Crack Canyon


Last night at dinner, I turned to Kris and told him, "I dub thee Butt Crack Canyon," as I pointed up to the rock structure across the river from us. He looked up, smirked, and responded, "Yes, and we're on Moon Beach."

Slept like crap


I slept like crap last night. I was sleeping on the outside of the group of us, closest to the beach, with Kris in the middle, and Andy farthest from the beach and other activity.

I woke up many times from the surrounding nature, mostly startled awake with my heart pounding from wind in the trees, branches shaking, bugs crawling on my legs, lightning and thunder, and large goats tap dancing on my sheet. Oh, and the rain. It rained a little last night, but not much more than a few drops.

I'm thinking maybe I shouldn't have taken that nap yesterday afternoon, given how well Andy and Kris said they slept.

This morning, we head down Granite Falls, just after checking them out:

Kris says the river looks like Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory's deep chocolate river.

I have to agree, even though it doesn't taste like it.

First full day on the river


Finally! Took pictures today! I figured out that if I keep the camera in the dry bag, the tiny one that Mom and Eric loaned me, and tuck it under the secured dry bags, I can pull it out during the day and take pictures. Lots of pictures. I'm happy.

Kris and I spent the morning in Matt's boat, as Andy took to the paddle boat. With his sunglasses on, Matt looks like Brad Pitt with dark hair. Sounds similar, too. I'll have to reassess that statement after seeing him without his sunglasses on, which I haven't done yet. Eyes are key in this.

I'm thrilled to say I've figured out this peeing in a boat trick, and have been peeing a LOT. The guides keep telling us about keeping hydrated. Given how I spent a large amount of time peeing, I have to say I'm listening. Though Matt did figure out my bladder is the Smallest Bladder in the World pretty quick.

The trick, at least for me, is to pee into a can, then dump the contents into the river and wash out the can. I picked up a can last night before dinner, managing to get the ERG canister, which has a lid. I recalled my need to urinate all the time was a problem last trip, with my being unable to pee with my butt hanging overboard, with my lower body in the water, or (as usual) with anyone hearing. I couldn't care less if you could see me. If you could hear me, well then, the flow clenched.

Turns out, Matt has a similar "issue": he needs cover sound, too. Not normally a problem on a river with 18000 cfs flow, I think.

The day started off pretty rough for me. I was in the back of the boat, with Kris and Pat, a trip assistant and a friend of Matt's, in the front. I sat on the back left, Kris being in the front left, during the rapids and, at the end, crouched in the back and started crying. During the rapids, I was overcome with worry and was scared. It wasn't for myself, though. I was worried about Kris.

Realizing that this was going to make for a pretty horrible trip down the river if I spent the whole thing worrying about Kris, I calmed down, thought about the absurdity of my reactions, and was fine the rest of the day.

Today's hike was to Elves' Chasm, where a small waterfall fell at the end of the short hike. I remembered this waterfall, though not the hike into the side canyon. I also recall Eric jumping from the waterfall. Guy probably did, too, but I don't have any strong memories of his doing so.

Once the guides showed us we could jump off the waterfall, people started rushing the climbing hole to get up. Andy and Kris went, as did most everyone else, before I decided I wanted to go.

When did I become so fearful? When did everything become so hard for me?

I climbed up, slipping slightly once with Andreas helping me out. I froze at the top of the waterfall, even though it wasn't very high up and 10 people had made this jump before me. I needed Kris to call out 3 2 1, then needed everyone to call out 3 2 1 for me. I still paused, then jumped.

Well, Abbey commented that I more "slid off" than jumped, but I did go over the edge.

And looked terrified doing it, unlike Kris and Andy who looked calm and entertained.

My camera battery died just before Kris jumped a second time.

Tragically, I had left my spare camera battery in a ziploc bag, instead of the dry bag. Water was in the bag when I went for the battery, with blue acid oozing out of the terminals. The good part was that it was the crappy Lennar camera battery, which lasts less than half of the time as the Canon camera batteries. Unfortunately, I'm down to four camera batteries, and it's day 2 isn't even over yet.

Camera update


Okay, so, the first camera battery died today. One of my spares is broken, but I'll keep it out at night to let it dry in this dry, dry, "but it's a dry heat!" air, in hopes it'll be functional again. I won't try it until the end of the trip, though, in case it does something weird and ruins the camera.

I managed to get over 500 pictures on the first battery, I think close to 600, which includes turning the camera on and off, on and off over 200 times. I'm going to turn off the picture review, turn down the LCD brightness (which today I discovered was on full-bright), and try to minimize the on/off use as well as I can. I'm thinking of turning of the continuous autofocus, too. Not sure on that one.

Still, 600 pictures in 2 days. I'm both pleased and hopeful that 5 cards and 4.5 batteries will be sufficient.

Canyon disc


Michael brought a disc along. Turns out, the upper canyon group played ultimate in some large cavern up river. I wish we could have been there. Michael has good stationary throws, which bodes well, as he's tall.

I think it won't be long until people figure out what Andy and Kris and I are champs in.