Thursday, September 25, 2008

A Geological Raft Trip in the Grand Canyon

When in France they say ... taste the wine. When in Rome ... do not miss the food. And when in the Grand Canyon ... you simply must yield to the magic of deep time. Where the Colorado River has carved a mile deep gorge, 20 lucky souls were captivated by the pull of the great river in a sweet, moonlit canyon. On a geology charter trip organized by Jan Taylor and outfitted by Arizona Raft Adventures, I was along as a honorary "reader of the rocks". Our group was wonderful! The guides were fantastic! And we all left the canyon imbued with the spirit of beauty and peace that permeates this blissful place.

Entering the Grand Canyon below Lees Ferry. Although the river cuts into the rock at only about eight feet per mile, the strata rise up at the same time at over 100 feet per mile. We are soon immersed in a great, rocky gorge.

One of our boats splashing in House Rock Rapid - big for sure but not scary and nothing that should deter a trip on the river in Grand Canyon.

Beautiful Redwall Cavern, a large eddy-carved depression in the Redwall Limestone.

A typical camp scene along the river. Here, our guide Rob Elliott is blowing a conch shell to announce that dinner is ready. Come and get it!!

This is the "classroom" and "office" where I get to live and work. The "book of geology" is open and people learn so quickly from it.

A calm morning on the river as our boats headed downstream towards Nankoweap Canyon. The weather was perfect on this trip.

The full moon setting as the sun rises on Vishnu Temple, September 16, 2008. Photo taken from Cardenas Camp.

An MNA archaeological dig near Unkar.

Sue and Jan get clean in Clear Creek.

A long exposure of the "horizontal waterfall" up in Clear Creek.

Tapeats Creek is one of my favorite side canyons! Here, a Cardinal Monkey flower sings in ecstasy as it drinks from these pure waters.

In the background you can see a classic angular unconformity. About 525 million year ago, beach sands (Tapeats Sandstone) were washed over an eroded edge of the Hakatai Shale (tilted red beds. In this way, an ancient island was buried in sand.

We hiked up Tapeats Creek to see Thunder River, where a spring issues forth from the base of the Redwall Limestone.

A beautiful rock garden in Matkatamiba Canyon.

This is what we had to do to get up to the rock garden. Toni and Mary showing good form as they "bridge" across the creek.

An unusual camp at a place called Upper Ledges. We got nice and cozy here as we slept on the rock ledges.

Hands across Havasu - we made many new friends along the way. The trip proved to be an excellent way to learn about earth history and we came away with a greater appreciation of the splendor and beauty of the Grand Canyon. Join me next year as I repeat this trip with Canyoneers, September 13 to 22, 2009.

1 comment:

  1. Next year?..I'm In!!! That looked like an absolutely fabulous raft trip Wayne...eddys carving caverns...buried ancient islands...good people and good times...I can't wait to be sitting at Cardenas camp in a couple weeks soaking up that view that you guys had just a few days ago!!! Thanks for the report. Cheers!


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