Monday, June 8, 2009

Rafting, Day 1, Part 1 - Just getting there

Grand Canyon airplane view by Selep ImagingRafting Day 1 started on Tuesday, May 19, 2009 at 5:00 in the AM. (In Arizona, there is a 5:00 in the AM as well as the PM.) At 5:45 AM our rafting group was meeting in the lobby of the Las Vegas Desert Rose Resort. I didn't sleep well, and had gotten up at 4ish to check some item in my luggage. Then I either slept through or never received my first wake-up call. The second one at 5:15 AM got me going, but I felt rushed, confused and late (a fairly normal, everyday occurrence). (Waking up in a strange place is disorienting - things aren't where they usually are - like the bed. This is hard for a non-morning person who tries to execute morning on autopilot.) We got dressed and tried to get our luggage to the lobby - conveniently one building down and across a parking lot.
Miranda woke content and happy, but she wasn't able to carry much more then one bag and a teddy bear. I had split the luggage the night before into 2 rafting duffel bags with the clothing and items we would need for rafting; the camera bag I would be taking on the rafting trip; and the 3 pieces of luggage that we would be paying the Desert Rose Resort to store while we were rafting. Without the hotel luggage cart (you know, the luggage thingy), and with no time to go find one, we carried and dragged the luggage in mini relay stretches to the lobby. I left three liters of Coke Cola in my hotel, planning to run back and get them. By the time the three pieces of luggage that were being stored at the resort had been processed, and the rafting luggage was loaded on the bus, the leader felt there was no time for me to run back to the room. Those three liters of soda became part of a long list of items lost and left behind at various points on the trip, but they were the only items I knew I was leaving behind at the moment I left them. (Someday I might blog just on the lost and left behind items - so many little stories!)
At 5:45 (again, AM!), or at least before 6:00 (AM) the bus with our group of 28 and our luggage pulled out of the hotel lobby and we headed for the smaller Las Vegas airport - the airport for prop planes and puddle jumpers. (Canyon kamikazes?) Luggage handling is different at this airport. The luggage isn't X-rayed, but the luggage is carefully weighed, and then you are told to step on the scale. The airport personnel (or a computer) balances all the weight and assigns people to seats so they (hopefully) balance on each side of the aisle of the small plane. Our group of 28 people (plus luggage) were all weighed and then split across four flights. Another group used 2 planes, so we had to wait for our flight from among six planes which were leaving one at a time. The business in the gift shop boomed while we waited.
When our flight was called, I carried Miranda's and my luggage outside to the airplane, and we climbed aboard. All the seats are window seats. Each seat has headphones - big ones, to block out the noise.
The ride in the prop plane took more then an hour to go about 250 miles from Las Vegas to the landing strip near Lee's Ferry, Arizona. We flew over Lake Mead, and along the Grand Canyon, and I had fun taking pictures of the landscape below us. (Unfortunately, I was on the left side of the plane, and the Grand Canyon was out the window on the right side of the plane.)
(I wanted to cross the aisle to see the view out the right side and take pictures, but I didn't dare, as it might cause our carefully balanced plane to tip and crash.) The end part of the plane ride, was bumpy as the plane flew basically at the height of the canyon walls.

The landing strip was across the highway from the Marble Canyon Trading Post, the restaurant where we had our last meal. (last meal before rafting, I mean.) (OK, our breakfast) The view was pretty, but I was groggy and too anxious to look around. Miranda and I did last minute shopping. (Again, business boomed as I bought a dry bag for my camera, coke cola for the raft trip, and post cards.) (More to lug, Ugh.)
Marble Canyon Trading Post by Selep Imaging
I took a (partial) group picture where everyone seemed a bit tired.
Wilderness River Adventures then loaded our group and luggage into a bus for the ride to Lee's ferry, several miles down the road. Miranda and I were trying to write a set of post cards to send to the boys to replace a set of post cards Miranda had written earlier to send and then had lost in Las Vegas. I was in a "woke too early in the morning" haze, trying to view scenery, take pictures and write post cards, while balancing soda and my camera on my lap. The scenery passing by was amazing - like something out of a road runner cartoon.
We arrived at the spot where the Colorado River meets a parking lot - Lee's Ferry, although it is hard to find using map quest. This was the point where we met our raft. That will hopefully be in another blog. (Chapter?)


Brayton Homestead Interiors said...

Beautiful photos, the colors are just incredible!

Jeanne Selep said...

Thank You! I'm so glad the colors look good. On some peoples PC, especially laptops, the color seems to shift. And I work so hard on color...

Samantha said...

Sounds like an awesome trip so far, I hope to hear what happens next. Gorgeous pictures! :)

Mikiep said...

WOW now that looked like a fun trip :)

Pretty Paper Passions said...

Can't wait to hear more about your trip as it goes along! The photos are gorgeous!!

The Lone Beader said...

Wow, very cool! I would love to go there someday!