Rafting, Grand Canyon National Park
This is the Bar-10 Ranch, located on the north rim of the Grand Canyon, only a 5 minute helicopter ride from the river. There are several guest houses here and they have facilities for "processing" the rafting groups who come off the river at this point. The provide a good hot shower and towels, a welcome thing after "showering" in the river for a week. The also give you a good lunch before you are ready to wander the gift shop (yes a gift shop, there did have to be one of those SOMEWHERE). After you are all ready you get on a plane that takes you back to one of three places, St.Charles in Utah, Las Vegas in Nevada, or Page in Arizona.
Horn Creek Rapid, at mile 90, has only a 9 foot drop, yes only 9 feet, but it is rated at 7-9 and is quite the "hairy" ride. How can such big swells be created in only 9 feet, don't know and don't really care, what I did care about was the fun ride THROUGH those few feet, Disneyland could really learn something here.
The Crystal Rapid at mile 95 is one of the highest rated rapids at 7-10, with a drop of 17 foot. We rode the rapid and then pulled off to the side to watch the other raft do the rapid so we could see how WE look when "doing it"...it looks as exciting as it is.
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.
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.
Okay so now it is our turn, but this time we return to the raft after having seen what the other raft went through, this is the first time we have SEEN how the raft bounces and flies up and down and gets thrown around as it is pushed, pulled and prodded through the rapid...the frist picture shows us going into the first part of the rapid, will we end up on that first rock that is put in our path...no guess not, the second picture shows us going under the crest of a wave and as you know we DID COME OUT THE OTHER SIDE !!!
Meet OSCAR, the most essential element of our trip, without whom we could never have accomplished what we did. Oscar provided us with a place to sit and contemplate the river as it passed us by. As you can see from the picture the "cover" for Oscar was only in your mind, you sat in the middle of nature, in full comfort and "did your thing". It was fully fun when a raft full of people happened to float by during your sojourn to Oscar. If Oscar was "busy" you would wait patiently till "he" was available.
You are in the heart of eons here sitting on the sandy beach. River at your feet and canyon walls stretching far higher than you can crane your neck.
Heading back to the river, you traverse Surprise Valley and drop down the cactus-laden Deer Creek Valley - finding another spring emanting from the walls - Deer Springs.
Following Deer Creek back to the Colorado, you watch as Deer Creek cuts its way deeper and deeper through the sandstone, carving a deep serpentine pathway.