The Great Unconformity near Blacktail Canyon -
click on any pic to enlargenate
Friday, February 24, 2017
It has been a while, hasn’t it? The last time we were living the dream we had just finished a fine foray to the waterfall at Elves Chasm, near river mile 117 of the Colorado River in Grand Canyon. Since then, I have not tumbled into the whirling waters, nor have I been spinning around in a swirling rapid of monumental magnitude (well, not literally, anyway). But life happens. We get busy and lose track of time. Our mental mojo wanders in another direction. My last post was a video I made about my Thanksgiving with friends. Well…enough of this lollygagging. It’s almost March, for Pete’s sake! Get on with it! It’s time to climb back into the boat, and have a leisurely look around while our boatmen continue to do all the work.
Monday, November 28, 2016
When we last met five months ago it was at Elves Chasm, a nifty little side canyon and waterfall that pours itself into the Colorado River at river mile 117 in Grand Canyon. At the time, I was preparing to hoist myself back onto our J-rig in anticipation of a lunchtime serenade downstream within the Great Unconformity. But then life happened. I have been neglectful in the telling of my tale. Was I stuck in an endlessly swirling eddy all these months? Not exactly, but close. From mid–April through the end of October I worked as a fee ranger at the busy swirling craziness that is summer at Zion National Park. I was so absolutely exhausted at the end of each day that my brain could barely gather a coherent thought, much less put together a complete sentence. It is the end of November and I am only now recovering.
Wednesday, June 29, 2016
A rosy–fingered dawn metamorphoses into a vibrantly blue morning sky. In the blink of an eye, shadows and colors shift on the canyon walls. Another plate of scrambled eggs sits balanced on my lap. It is Day Six of our Colorado River rafting adventure in Grand Canyon. A question hangs suspended in midair. Where exactly in this magnificent chasm are we now?
|A balanced breakfast (Click on any pic to enlargenate)|
Wednesday, May 25, 2016
We are deep within the metamorphic rocks of Granite Gorge, more than a mile below the rim of Grand Canyon. At river mile 88, in the area of Phantom Ranch, we cross beneath two narrow bridges.
Saturday, April 9, 2016
We huddle together, this early May day, on a 12–person (14, if you include the guides) inflatable J–rig party boat that glides through the rapids with relative ease. We are ready for whatever thrill these cold riffles and rapids offer, so we hold on less and less, jostling and bouncing our way down the Colorado River. Soon the canyon narrows. Its vertical walls become higher, with fewer escape routes should anyone need to climb out. The rapids become larger and longer. We are within the ancient metamorphic rocks of Granite Gorge, home to the deepest, darkest, oldest, and baddest rocks in Grand Canyon. These are the crystalline basement rocks that underlie the North American continent. I am exactly where I want to be.
|Into the jaws of Granite Gorge (click on any pic to enlargenate)|
Wednesday, March 9, 2016
Saturday, May 9, 2015: Up early. Slept fairly well last night, after organizing sandy tent stuff and composing Friday’s journal entry in the dwindling daylight. Camped beneath walls of the Precambrian Dox Formation and Cardenas Lava. It looks like yesterday’s storm has passed, leaving lingering thready clouds and a sunrise reflecting orange on the distant cliffs. Or is it pink? Or burnished yellow–gold–chrysanthemum?
We are advised to put on our long thermals in anticipation of today’s frigid ride. Kris and I are glad that we each have a blue bag full of layers and rain gear. Hypothermia is something we hope to avoid.
After a tasty breakfast (more scrambled eggs and cowboy coffee!) we gather along the river bank in our bucket brigade and heave every bit of camp gear back onto the boat. Another day of rafting on the Colorado River has been launched.
|We take a short hike to some petroglyphs (click on any pic to enlargenate)|
Sunday, February 28, 2016
It staggers anyone’s sense of time and space. I am compelled to read about it over and over and over again after I get home from my May 2015 raft trip down the Colorado River. It takes quite a bit of “Wait. What?” before I can even begin to wrap my mind around its significance. It is the Grand Canyon Supergroup, gently tilted and isolated remnant wedges of the oldest limestones, sandstones, siltstones, mudstones, and basalts found in Grand Canyon. We are talking about sedimentary rocks that are more than a billion years old.
|Finding the Grand Canyon Supergroup (click on any pic to enlargenate)|