[Day 7 | 21 January 2017]
You know how I’ve mentioned that I enjoy rowing?? Up to this point I rowed a lot of flat water and some riffles, but no named rapids.
However, the neat thing about camping just above a rapid is that you can scout it– a lot [if you so choose].
I spent a bit of time after our hike on River Day 6 staring at Lava Canyon Rapid– thinking, “Can I row this??”
So, morning of River Day 7, after I rigged our boat, I hopped in the boat captain seat.
Nick– “What are you doing?”
AK– “I’m rowing this shit.”
Granted– Lava Canyon Rapid was just a class 4. Really nothing significant for most people. But this is me we’re talking about– “Safety Steve”, the risk adverse person who needs to know #allthedetails and possible outcomes before jumping into something. I’ve always been scared of the water and putting myself in situations where I’m not super comfortable.
But I did it!! Successfully. And I rowed quite a few more throughout the trip [which I will probably point out, #justbecauseican].
The best way to describe River Day 7 is as a “pre-big rapid day”. River Day 7 has three class 6 rapids. Nothing necessarily worth scouting, but big enough that you discuss spacing going into each rapid and regrouping once everyone is through.
We had nice river levels. The flows opened up the river and allowed us to bypass the “concerning” areas of a few rapids. Nick had completely dry lines on, both, Basalt and Unkar Creek Rapids [class 6s]– and I’m not even exaggerating a little bit. Completely dry. We ran very far right, and avoided everything.
We got through the rapids and this was our conversation:
Nick– “You know what that was?”
AK– “A dry line.”
River Day 7 definitely gave me confidence in Nick’s abilities as an oarsman going into the major rapids.
River Day 7 was also the day we passed the “eddy of 1,000 strokes”. You can check out my GC2015 trip report for the full details, but this eddy scared me enough that I seriously considered not coming on this trip.
However, sometimes the river gods can be kind– we reached the infamous eddy, and even though we had been experiencing gusty winds all day, the wind died down. There were no gusts blowing down the side canyon sending us on loops of the eddy. We passed completely unscathed. It was a non-issue. Seriously, a huge relief for me.
We got to camp early enough to enjoy a nice hike up Seventy-Five Mile Canyon. It was beautiful, and probably one of my favorite hikes. But let’s be serious– all the hikes were my favorite.
“Very, very cold today. Still raining and snowing for about half the day. Also very windy. Camp had a lot of sun though!”
– AK’s River Journal
River Miles: 10.2 miles
Camp: Nevills [mile 76.1]
Water Flow: 11,000 – 18,000 cfs
Temperature: 41 – 55 deg F
Precipitation: 0.36 in
Wind: 5 – 16 mph, gusting to 31 mph
Weather Event: Rain, Wind, Overcast