This was one of the big ones, Lava Falls Rapid, at mile 179. It is rated at 8-10 with a drop of 13 feet, but WHAT A DROP. It was also great becasue we got to anchor our raft and climb a small hill adjacent to the rapid and we could photograph the other raft as it went through the rapids, this was the first opportunity we had with such a good viewpoint. You can see in the first picture with the brown water (caused by an influx of water from an adjacent canyon) how calm the water looks as they approach the rapids. The following pictures show you just how rough it can be.
At one point on the trail in Havasu Creek you will find that you have to "thread the needle" to continue, literally crawl through this small opening to find a log into which steps have been carved, after you negotiate this spot the whole canyon is easy. All the places we visited on our trip have these mineral deposit "roses" that you can see in the second picture. The third picture shows the human chain we formed to cross the creek at a shallow spot, it was still very swift at this point so most people could not cross without a helping hand. The "narrows" was just before the point where the creek exits its valley to emerge and merge with the Colorado, up to this point it was also accessable by kayak. The last picture shows the landing spot for the rafts, it was just before a rapid and the landing was NOT EASY.
Havasu Creek was one of the high spots of the hikes off river. You can follow this river and canyon till you come to Mooney Falls, about 5 miles in an dthen the Suapi Village is another 2 miles. All along the river you will find greenery mixed with exposed rocks over which Havasu Creek makes its way to join the Colorado River. There are plenty of spots to just sit down and listen to the play of the water over the rocks, or take a swim in one of the many, many pools here.
Kanab Rapids is rated as only a 2-5, but it has a 12 foot drop and from the looks of the picture here is is "under" rated, you judge for yourself. Sorry about the poor picture quality, they were taken with one of those waterproof, one time use cameras and in addition I was holding on very strongly with one hand trying to take pictures with the other hand and at the same time STAY IN THE BOAT !!!!!!!!
Now we find ourselves at Fishtail Rapids, mile 139, rated at 4 with a drop of 10 feet. But you take a look at the picture, I am sure they misrated it, we almost disappeared into that crest you can see...but as you can see by the looks on Andreas and Tal faces, both before entering the rapids and after exiting, it was fun (well and wet also).
Passing under these huge red cliffs reminds you again of WHERE YOU ARE, yes, at the BOTTOM of the Grand Canyon, way down at the bottom...
Here in the next picture you could see piles of these rock slabs that had broken off, you can just imagine something this big and this flat, what a wave it would create.
And this picture is out of order here, but this is, or rather WAS our modern and updated shower facilities at our campsite, it was better than the river and by better, I mean WARMER ^O^
From the lower falls you have no idea of the rocky and wet wonderland that awaits you at the top of the cliff, it is a stiff uphill climb for about 20-30 minutes with a few walks along narrow cliff edge trails, but fun and well worth it.
You can see in the first picture the pool and small waterfall at the foot of a giant cottonwood tree, refreshing and pleasant after that climb.
The canyons are carved from the sandstone of different colors and you can climb down into them with the aid of a single rope.
Deer Creek Falls, found at mile 136 in the Granite Narrows is just a short hike from the river, but when the river is in full flow you can pull your boat right up to the waterfall itself. It is great for a power massage if you can stand underneath the waterfall and the pool can be deep enough for swimming although this year it was filled in with pebbles. You can take a path to the upper falls and the canyons you will find there, not to mention the great view you get of the river back upstream.
Just after Bedrock Rapid at mile 130 you enter a very narrow section of the Grand Canyon, the Granite Narrows, as you can see in the first picture here the width of the river and the canyon walls enclosing it become "close"... the narrowest point of the river is at Granite Gorge here in the Granite Narrows, it is only 76 feet wide, about 25 meters...that is NOT very wide to get all that water through.
It is just beyond this point where we first spot Deer Creek Falls at mile 136, you can see the raft anchored at the shore, but when the river is swollen you can anchor right next to the waterfall.
Here we are at Bedrock Rapid, mile 130, rated at 6-8, but with only a 6 foot drop...you can see the wall we are headed for, that is the BEDROCK, or maybe it means we will make our beds ON THAT ROCK after the waves crush us on it...
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