I used the word "cruft" to Matt today. He looked at me puzzled.

"Cruft? That's a word? Is that a real word?"

I looked at him puzzled. I'd been using cruft in sentences for over 14 years. How could he not know what the word "cruft" meant?

I explained, in programming terms, it's the extra, outdated code left around that sorta works, sorta doesn't, and needs to be cleaned out. In non-programming terms, it's the extra, crappy stuff, say flotsam and jetsam that get stuck in an eddy, that needs to be cleaned out.

He didn't believe me. He asked Sam if he had heard of the word. Sam hadn't either.

So, because it's in my notes, here's the reference and origin.

Passed out


I had problems last night staying awake, but not for lack of trying.

After we arrived at the dune beach, and went to the waterfall, Andy, Kris and I looked for flat rocks in the Stone Creek side canyon creek bed. We were looking for the best skipping rock, but were not in agreement on how best to determine said "best". I stated that the only way to know which was best was to control for the thrower, as I was sure I had the best rocks, but by far the worst arm.

I insisted Kris throw my rocks, to check for "best," and was like, "Uh, throw yours, too? Okay!"

My rocks did win.

Of course.

Eventually, we wandered back to our tent, where Andy pulled out the three small discs he had brought with him, and offered a game of disc golf.

I've decided that playing disc golf with Andy has to be entertaining regardless of the environment. Trying to best him on even one hole was difficult. The game? Impossible. Especially when one bad throw puts the disc, the non-floating disc, in the Colorado River, to float out to the bottom of Lake Mead. Yeah. Joy.

Starting at the middle of camp, we used a red rock, a fellow traveller's hanging life jacket, a stick propped up in the sand, another life jacket that was accessible only by throwing a disc through another companion's open tent, a random white rock, the first aid kit and, finally, our own tent for the end.

I tried keeping track of my score based on my score relative to par, but Andy stopped calling out par after a few holes. I then kept track based on my score relative to Andy's score, but that became too depressing. I stopped keeping score.

At one point, I stepped backward into a cactus. Initially I wasn't too worried about the cactus, but after about 6 holes, the place in my ankle where the cactus punctured it, started swelling and stiffening. Krish suggested I take a couple of Benadryl we had brought along. Noting the irony of taking some, I did, then went off to help cook dinner.

Each night at dinner, as we all gathered into one big group, Tracy would recap the day, and tell us the plans for the next day. I had no idea what the plans are for today, as I could barely keep my eyes open to eat dinner. I didn't know what hit me, but it was large and it felt like a sleep stick (or branch, or tree, or truck).

Kris noticed, watched me finish my food, and took my plate, stating he'd clean up, I should go to bed. I stumbed back over to our peninsula camp and pretty much face planted. It was still light out, maybe 7:45, but I was down for the count. I tried to wake when Kris and Andy came back to go to bed, but I couldn't open my eyes. I gave up and slept like a rock until about 1, when heavy winds and some sprinkles suggested I try the tent. Kris came in around 4, but Andy stayed outside all night. He was closest to the stone, which I think helped.

I wish my calves weren't still so sore. I'm tempted to eat meat just for the protein so that they stop hurting.

Scorpion visit


Woke up this morning to find a scorpion on my elbow, close to where I was bitten by a tick years ago. I think I rolled over onto it in the middle of the night, because it was not only dead, but a little dry.

When I took the picture, Andy cried out, "So big!" then offered to "put it into perspective" for me.

Not so big, I guess.



I'm unbelievably happy my camera has such great macro capabilities. The rocks around here are incredibly fascinating. Since I can't take them out of the Canyon (ignoring the laws against it, Kris would be mad if I packed my bag full of 40 pounds rocks to take home), pictures of the rocks are the next best thing.

I think Andy thinks I'm strange. Kris already knew I was, he didn't need to see my rock pictures to know this.

What's that smell?


I'm really tired of smelling like piss.

I've been bathing in the river each night. I've been rinsing after each pee into a can. I've been careful not to, you know, pee on myself.

Yet, I feel like I overwhelmingly smell like piss. I think everyone can smell me from like, oh, I don't know, 20 feet away from me. Okay, I'm exaggerating. 18 feet?

I actually lamented about this to Pam this morning at the groover, commenting about how worried I was about how I smelled. She laughed at me, and told me if I'm ever really worried about it, go stand next to Michael (her son).

Michael goes out on a lot of camping with friends. When they go out, they just go, and don't bother to bring any clothes to change into, or maybe one set. So, bathing while on a hike? Nah.

Apparently, earlier in the trip, a group offered him a bar of soap and told him it was an intervention, time for him to bathe.

Pam had convinced Michael to bring an extra set of clothes on this trip, so he had two. And I thought I was doing well with my 3 shirts and 2 shorts.

I got nothing on that kid.

For once, I think I'm glad I have a weak sense of smell.

Tapeats to Deer and back down


[Looking back at the Granite Narrows, in the Grand Canyon]

Today, Kris and I are in Josh's boat. Andy is, unsurprisingly, in the paddle boat. I think he likes it there. I feel a little bad about his always spending time in the paddle boat away from the two of us, but, well, I've invited him to our boats, and he's a big boy, he'll let us know if he feels like a third wheel, which I hope he doesn't.

Gah, a run-on sentence that deserves to be there.

We didn't float very long down the river before we stopped at Tapeats Creek for our day hike. The hike is called the Piano Hike because of a rock formation that looks like piano keys. I was unaware of this, so didn't know to take pictures of the formation.

After getting out of the boats, we all started our hike up the Tapeats Creek hike and around the Deer Creek. The hike was dry, and not nearly as hot as I was expecting it to be. Which is not to say it wasn't hot, just not as hot as I was expecting.

Our plan was to walk up the Tapeats Creek Trail to the Deer Creek Trail, and along it along the ridge. We would then descend into the Deek Creek Canyon. I hope I got that right. I'm not 100% sure on the Tapeats Creek part of the hike. I do know that the boats were ferried from our starting point to our ending point and that we missed the narrowest part of the canyon at Mile 135 beccause we bypassed it walking around it.

I started off slowly, in the back of the pack, which isn't a usual place for me on hikes. However, with all of the pictures I was taking and wanted to take, towards the back was just fine for me. Kris hiked with me today, as Andy forged ahead with the front group. Eventually, Kris and I caught up with other groups, passed the ones going more slowly, and kept behind those going more quickly.

So, yeah, the hike was hot, the landscape dry. It, of course, reminded me that we were not only in the Grand Canyon, but we were also in Arizona, in a desert. I know that Kris doesn't particularly like the heat, he'd rather be slightly cold than slightly hot, but I like the desert, I like the heat. Although I like the green of the Northwest (or, heck, even the Midwest), the desert has it's own beauty, drawn from the blues and browns of the arid landscape.

Kris commented to me that the hike reminded me of our trip to the Na Pali Coast, back in early 2001 (speaking of, I should digitize those negatives and put them up somewhere....). I said maybe, but not really. There was more vegetation on the Na Pali Coast. Way more.

Eventually we crested the ridge and looked over and down at lush green strip the Deek Creek cut across the landscape. We followed it down into a ravine with low rock shelves, small waterfalls, trees, and shade. We all gathered there, cooled in the water, and rested for a while.

After lounging for a while, the guides offered a short hike down into the slot canyon, requiring rope. At this point, I had a little stirring of memory from ten years ago, about not being able to climb down by the creek because the climb required ropes. I wasn't sure if this was the side canyon, but if not, we were in one like it a decade ago.

Andy and Kris both were excited to hike down. Sonia also wanted to go down, but her sandals had broken recently, so she was unable to hike down. I asked her what her foot size was (bigger than mine, but possible), and offered her my sandals, as I wasn't going down, and I could go in my hiking shoes. She seemed surprised, but accepted my offer. Tracy was also a bit surprised, but, well, Kris wasn't. If I'm not using them, why not let someone else use them?

Once again, I handed Andy my camera as he went down. Once again, he took awesome photos.

The ropes climb down and back up was slow enough going that there was a backup of people coming back up. Andy was at the front of the line, and popped out way before Kris, who was at the back of the line. Andy suggested we head out immediate, following the first group of guides heading down. I wasn't sure, feeling uncomfortable leaving Kris behind. We caught his attention, however, and asked if he minded. He didn't, so I climbed down with Andy.

The hike out started with a walk along the downstream side of the Deer Creek Canyon along a shelf. The shelf narrowed to the point where the walking space was 8"-10" wide, with handholds at chest level. Tracy was at the narrowest part, offering suggestions where to put feet and hands, as well as encouragement to cross. As I approached the narrowing, I wondered what my options were. When I realized there was one way down from this place that would work given the time constraints, I told myself "Nothing to be done about it, so go," and wasn't nervous or worried about the crossing.

A couple hundred yards later, we caught up to Al, who was taking pictures of graffiti on the walls. A set of handprints were spraypainted onto the side of the canyon wall, with another two sets painted high up, across the canyon wall. I looked at them, disinterested in the marring of the view, and continued on. Andy, on the other hand, paused to talk to Al.

Turns out, I had forgotten about these hand prints, that there were actually hand prints from hundreds of years ago (Anasazi maybe?) blown onto the walls using reeds. I wish I had stopped to take pictures. I didn't.

Andy and I continued down the trail, eventually spilling out into the Deek Creek Falls, where water thundered down the side of the canyon wall, and older people from another commercial trip sat playing bridge under umbrellas a short distance from the base.

I didn't take a picture of them either.

I'm sure this was the side canyon we hiked up ten years ago, based on the hike down.

Deer Creek Falls


What does that spell?


So, Kris, Andy and I were floating in Josh's raft today, having convinced both Andy to come with us in an oar both, and Josh that he could take three passengers. Josh's boat was loaded with the most equipment, so there really wasn't room for three passengers if we went down big rapids.

I was lazily resting in the back, looking up at the sky, when I noticed there were four small clouds in a line. As I'm wont to do with letters on license plates and clouds that look like typographical symbols, I immediately made a word.

I called up to the front of the boat, pointing out the clouds. "What do those clouds spell to you?"

Kris looked up for a moment. "I don't know. Good maybe?"

Andy answered, "I see Goal."

"Oh," I paused, unsure how Josh would take this. "I see cunt."

Everyone laughed.

Water fight non-participant


Well, as they're fond of saying down here, "If you're hot, you're stupid." And nothing better to cool you down than a good, old fashioned water fight.

Today's water fight was Kris and Andy with buckets in the front, against Sam and his bucket in a boat with Pat rowing. Justin in his kayak joined in at one point, with Josh splashing with his oars. Travis snuck around and snagged a bucket from the back of Josh's boat when I wasn't paying attention.

At some point, I was handed a water gun, but was completely uncoordinated with it, needing to brace the end on my stomach, clench my stomach, then pull with both hands on the barrel to get any sort of distance with the water, and that distance wasn't great. Buckets were much more effective.

I stopped a little ways into the fight, after finding the gun ineffective. I was a little annoyed at Michael for continuing to splash me with his oars, even though I had stopped being a participant. Eventually, the fight moved to another couple boats with Dave and Tracy slinging water around and Julie stuck in the middle of the torrents as another non-participant. I guess there aren't really any non-participants in Canyon water fights.

In the end, the water splashing was quite refreshing.

Rod activity high


Andy took pictures of rods today.

Rod activity high.