Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Day 2

We started to settle into the routine that would structure our lives for the next seven days:
  • Wake up as it gets light out, around 5:30. Often accompanied by Travis, one of our guides, letting off a long, Tarzan-esque "cofffff-eeeee!"
  • Pack up your sheets, sleeping pads and tarps.
  • Wash your hands, rinse off a plate, eat breakfast and drink coffee. Make a sandwich for lunch.
  • Wash your plate, brush your teeth, pack up your stuff and bring your bags down to the beach.
  • Form a fire line and pass bags from the beach to the rafts. Spend a few minutes journaling (me), reading (Scott), or hanging out while the guides pack up the portable toilet.
  • Hop onto the rafts and enjoy the adventures in store for us that day.
  • Towards the end of the afternoon, pull into a campsite. Leap off the raft, explore the lay of the land, and stake out a good spot to sleep, preferably near the river, since the canyon walls have been soaking up heat from the sun all day long and radiate it well after you're ready to go to sleep. Leave your life jacket to claim your territory.
  • Form a fire line to unload everyone's bags and all of the kitchen items and to pass buckets of dish water up to the kitchen.
  • Hors d'oeuvres, alcohol, chatting, reading, bathing.
  • Dinner, which was consistently excellent. We ate only local, organic meat and dairy products, which would have been good even if we weren't hungry from a day in the sun and water.
  • More chatting, maybe some singing (with any of the 3 guitars that were along on the trip).
  • Fall asleep under the stars and the rising moon.

It was a wonderful routine. I loved waking up naturally, as it got light out, and falling asleep under the stars.

Enough about routine though. Here's what was special about Day 2:
We started the day with a hike up the canyon where we were camped. It ended at a beautiful little pool. Then we hopped on the rafts and started our day on the river with the Roaring Twenties -- miles 20 through 30 on the Colorado are interspersed with whitewater every half mile. There were some big rapids, mostly little ones, but everyone got a good dousing.

We ate lunch under this big beautiful natural band shell that covered the beach. Scott and Travis practiced climbing up the wall, and I tossed a Frisbee around with some of the college students who were on the trip. Saw some neat lizard and bird and insect tracks.

We took another hike in the afternoon, and saw some Hopi artifacts: the stone foundations of a shelter and some petroglyphs. There was also a huge rock with tons of beautiful marine fossils.

Farther on down the river, we passed a group that was stopped on a beach eating lunch, and there was a full string quartet serenading them. Erica, our leader, said they were professionals who get to go on the trip for free in exchange for providing entertainment to high-paying customers. I can't imagine bringing my violin down the river and exposing it to such extreme heat... but they seemed to be doing pretty well! They sounded great. What a neat summer job.

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