Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Rafting, Day 1, Part 3

We left Lee's Ferry boat landing, Arizona, elevation 3107 feet above sea level, at about 10:30 in the morning. The view as we started down the Colorado River was beautiful.
Lees Ferry Boat Landing Arizona by Selep Imaging
View of Grand Canyon near Lee' Ferry boat landing
The terrain and views were so majestic - and big. Everything was more 3D, more stunning then I had expected. The texture of the rocks was so intense. The scale of the views around us were so different from Wisconsin's lush spring.

There were 2 rapids within the first couple of miles, the first of many - there were over 140 rapids in the 187 mile trip. 

Miranda and I were riding in Brad (left) and Zack's raft.
Wilderness River Adventures raft by Selep Imaging
Guides Brad and Zack in the back of our raft
After about the first half an hour (and a rapid or two), The rafts were lashed together and we floated downstream as Bret gave us instructions on the raft, where the munchies, water and soda's were, and other details.
Wilderness River Adventures raft by Selep Imaging
Two rafts tied together for the orientation lecture
Around mile 4 we saw condors flying overhead, and the Navajo Bridges.
HWY 89A Grand Canyon Navajo Bridges over Colorado River
Hwy 89A Grand Canyon Bridge and Pedestrian Bridge over the Colorado River
condor by Selep Imaging 
The Navajo bridges connect the North and South Canyon walls, soaring 470 feet over the Colorado River. 

Hwy 89A travels over the downstream car bridge built in 1995.  The upstream bridge, now for pedestrian traffic (and apparently condors), was built in 1929. 

The Navajo Bridges are last place a car can cross the Grand Canyon until 350 miles south, where cars can again cross the canyon at Hoover Dam. 

We passed under the Navajo bridges around 11:30 AM.
Navajo Bridges Arizona condor by Selep Imaging
Pedestrian Bridge over the Grand Canyon
condor by Selep ImagingCondors can cross the canyon where ever they want, but seemed to prefer the Navajo bridges. 

I only remember seeing condors clearly the first day, at the Navajo bridge area, where they rested below the pedestrians on the bridge. Throughout the rest of the trip, a large bird might be spotted for fleeting moments, but I never saw one clearly enough to watch for a while, or photograph.

Around noon, the rafts were pulled up onto a sandbar. Lunchtime! The crew efficiently set up a washing area, serving table and a lunch spread. 

Wilderness River Adventures Lunch by Selep Imaging
Lunch in the Grand Canyon, Day 1
Lunch was great - a hint that we would not go hungry on the trip. 
Lots of food, lots of choices. 3 kinds of chips, 3+ kinds of meats; lettuce, tomato, cheese, onions, avocados; 3+ kinds of pickles, choices of bread; Mayo, salad dressing, low fat options (5 options here); margarine, honey, Peanut butter and jelly, cookies, and more.

Wilderness River Adventures Lunch by Selep Imaging
Grand Canyon Lunch, Day 1
By lunch time I was very glad I had worn all the water gear - The water that hit us was cold (48 degrees F). Pastor Swicegood had told us to wear lots of rain gear (for the rapids, not rain). I listened - Hey, he is the pastor. But the warm morning had made him optimistic, and he was in shorts - and cold by lunch time. Those people that wore shorts and short sleeve shirts at the beginning of the day loaded on rain gear and layers. Miranda didn't object to the extra layers this time.

After lunch we went through a series of rapids called the Roaring 20's : 26 rapids between mile markers 20 and 30. But more on rapids - in another post.


nomadcraftsetc said...

OMG! I am so envious of you! What a swell time! that bridge is amazing and the condors are so neat! I love the views! Great photography!

Inspiration Avenue said...

Your work is beautiful! Thank you so much for joining our blog party. We're looking forward to visiting on the big day to see what inspires you most!