Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Day 1

We woke up at 4:30 and piled onto a coach bus at 5:30. Destination: Grand Canyon. We wanted to nap, but a Grand Canyon documentary was playing, and it was just loud enough and just interesting enough to keep us marginally attentive. We learned all about General John Wesley Powell, the first man to navigate the entire Grand Canyon... at least the first man we know about. Five hours later, we were at Lake Powell, packing our personal items into dry bags and using a flush toilet one last time. After a brief orientation from Erica, our lead guide, we were off: 24 travelers, 4 guides, 2 big blue rafts.

We started seeing beautiful canyon walls immediately. The walls at the beginning and the end of the canyon are lower than they are in the middle, where the earth has been pushed up higher. We also started getting wet immediately. There weren't any big rapids, but enough "riffles" and splashing to wake us up. The water was a chilly 48°F, and Scott and I were definitely shivering by the end of the day. We were happy to find our campsite and change into dry clothes. We had an excellent salmon dinner, read for a few minutes, and fell asleep,exhausted, as night fell. It was probably around 8:30.

We chose to sleep out under the stars rather than in a tent. It meant that more sand blew in your face, but it was also much cooler. I'd forgotten what it's like to be in a place where you can see all the stars in the sky and just how dense they are. The milky was was glowing. Absolutely incredible.

The only downside of the day was Scott's ant bite. He was walking around barefoot and got stung on the toe. He spent the rest of the evening sitting next to the river, numbing the pain, and ended up sleeping on the beach with his foot in the water as well. Pretty powerful ant.

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