Monday, August 29, 2011

Into the Raging Water - The Mouth of Havasu Beckons

Day Eight - I woke up feeling very sorry for myself...I even teared up a little getting ready to get back on the raft that morning. We were off for a big hike up Havasu Canyon. I generally like getting exercise but hikes in the Grand Canyon And I guess they aren't all that beautiful compared to...Alaska. Okay...there...I said it. The Grand Canyon is an awesome place but after seven days it was starting to look the same.

I was very surprised when we pulled into the mouth of Havasu Canyon because that's when I realized this day was not going to be like all the was going to be even more intense. We couldn't just tie up to a tree on the shore and jump off the raft to the trail. Nope. We pulled our rafts into a narrow mouth. See the orange kayak in the photo below? We had to figure out how to tie up to the sheer rock face right before the narrow bottle neck. Our fearless leader came prepared with rock climbing gizmos to place hooks in the rock face to anchor the rafts. (I'm not a rock climber and I forgot from watching "Everest - Beyond the Limit" what those contraptions are called).

We would spend half an hour getting our rafts secured before even deciding what was next. That's what I mean by this day would involve even MORE! Where were the cameras? Surely this was part of a reality show. Why else would people do these crazy things?

 There were others already ahead of us in the canyon. A group of rafts were tied to the right wall of the canyon when we arrived so we got the left side. Plus we had to make sure others could still navigate between our rafts and the other set to make it into the the kayaker in the photo. Really? Other people were planning on doing this? Crazy. Is this Candid Camera? I just sat in that raft not believing it all.

From the entrance of the canyon I saw nothing but water and the canyon land in sight for hiking. This might be the time to introduce Survivor Man, his wife Lovey, and their two sons whom I have mentioned already, Brainiac and Huck Finn.

Survivor Man deserves a novel all to himself about vacation adventures. He is a kayaker who almost lost his life to raging water and upon being rescued was told he would never walk again. Then there is the story about the small airplane crash he survived. During the course of the day I would learn about a few other family vacations that had "survivor" moments. There seems to be a pattern here that I didn't pick up on until that day. We considered Survivor Man as our experienced tour guide. He had kayaked the Grand Canyon on five previous trips. How can I say this without sounding like I didn't have faith in Survivor Man...but who is more crazy, the crazy person or those who follow him? Is this how the friends of Les Stroud feel when he invites them to join him for a vacation?

Survivor Man had been to Havasu canyon before...he knew the way. It was just before lunch time so we decided to forego a formal lunch and pack protein bars. Everyone also had to bring their own water bottle. Being the son of Survivor Man, Brainiac was sent out first to test the waters. He jumped in and swam away. A little while later he swam back. Sure enough there was land somewhere ahead so we would have to hike after all. 

This is also a good time to introduce Survivor Man's oldest son, Peacekeeper and his family on the trip.

Peacekeeper got his call sign because he spent three years in Ghana with the Peace Corps where he became attached to the two young men in the photo who now live with him and attend school in California, Ironman on the left and Seinfeld on the right. The babe in the middle is Hiker Girl. I believe they are engaged...or maybe they were...Peacekeeper had a lot to make up for at the end of this trip. Ironman gets his call sign because he is all fat. turns out this young man doesn't say much but he has a real knack for comedic timing. I found that out on day eight.

It was time...time to jump in the water that was over our heads and swim toward the light. I can swim...I'm like Shelley Winters from, "The Poseidon Adventure." 

Give me a place to swim to and I'm getting there quickly.
And all of this in the first 40 minutes...we still had the rest of the day to enjoy even more adventures.


Karen - Quilts...etc. said...

thanks for posting about your adventure - I love reading about it. The scenery for sure is so different from Alaska - it had to almost have been like a culture shock unless you have spent a lot of time in the lower 48

Cathy said...

You'll never run out of memories from this one, that's for sure. Do you get to make next years' vacation plans?