September 11, 2004

The Big Ditch Part Four

Day Fifteen:
The build up to Lava was maddening. Ten miles of flat water and the entire time you know the biggest baddest rapid is coming up. Lava is legendary, every river runner knows about this rapid. Lava rapid is the fastest moving navigable water in the western hemisphere. One mile above we all pulled over and kissed the Vulcan’s Anvil, a huge lava rock in the river, a kiss for good luck.

Scouting Lava.

Well kissing the rock seemed to work, all six boats made it through right-side-up, although some more cleanly than others. Due to the low water level all boats had to run the right line, there was no left sneak route.

Prince William running Lava.

Juan and Val in Lava.

Kip and Blades in Lava.

Brook and Bjorn's Lava Run.

Lunch afterwards was an immediate drunk fest. What a weight off of all of our shoulders. There are still rapids below Lava, and they can flip boats, but this is the big bully of the Colorado and to have him behind you is a relief.

Motor Rig hauling our drunks to shore after Lava.

In camp Werner introduced to the Lava Follies. He began the show with his rendition of Hatchmo the desert elephant. He and Dan were transformed into Hatchmo with the aid of a tarp, a lifejacket, and a fun noodle. Eric Weink and I performed our river couples skit and no one was spared from our aping them. Werner and Dodger took us on a magic bus ride which was all just an excuse to throw buckets of water on the unsuspecting participants. The night was a blast.

Day Sixteen:
I rowed all day today, up till now I had only rowed for a few miles each day. This day felt like a layover day on the boats. With Lava behind us everyone mellowed out. We blared our stereos and enjoyed a wonderful float. We had game night in camp, chess, backgammon and hearts.

Day Seventeen:
We camped at mile 220 the cook crew made mushroom polenta, this pared with the bean salad at lunch lead to the demise of groover #4. This was another nice camp for horseshoes, and we played a game of bocce ball before dinner.

An afternoon sun shower.

Day Eighteen:
Oops we missed the take out.

Exit Bouy.

Most Grand trips take out at mile 226, Diamond Creek, but not us, we are going to the lake. We camped at mile 236 the infamous Separation Canyon. This is where three men from Powell’s crew left the mission and hiked out, resulting in their mysterious deaths. Strange to be camped in a spot with such a past.



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dude, is that dangerous? I mean, I supposed the speed must be really extreme and there are possibilities to crash against the rocks!