Last Updated: Sunday, December 23, 2007
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A Grand Canyon -- A grand experience.

On the river with Canyon Explorations, July 2007

Welcome fellow travelers and cheaters of death.  Below are the pictures, video, and miscellaneous stuff from the July 3 - July 16 Canyon Explorations trip that I've collected.  If you have pictures, video or anything that you want to share with everyone, please e-mail them to me, and I'll post them.

If you would like any pictures with better resolution for printing, let me know and I can e-mail them or post them here.

If you somehow found this page by doing a search and are looking for a rafting company, you can't go wrong with
Canyon Explorations.  The guides are world class, the food is yummy, and the fun is non-stop.

Chris "No. 15, that SOB" Krauss


Questions or comments:


The Guides















Upper Guide Photo Upper Team Photo
Lower Guide Photo Lower Team Photo
Another Lower Guide Photo
(Warning: This picture is not for the faint of heart nor the weak of stomach.)

The Call of the Wild  by Robert Service.
My typical campsite.

Groovin'. I did a web search to find the origin of the word groover. It seems that in the early days of rafting, one sat directly on the ammo box (no toilet seat) and the process left grooves on your butt cheeks.

   Upper Canyon pictures.

My Random Notes:

T-2 Getting There: Getting to Flagstaff turned out to be an adventure in itself.  My intent and best laid plan was to take the Amtrak from St. Louis to Flagstaff - a leisurely 29 hour trip in a sleeper car.  Unfortunately, the scheduled 5 1/2 hour leg to Kansas City Saturday night, became an 8 hour trip which resulted in a missed connection.  Saturday night was spent in a downtown KC flea bag - graciously paid for by Amtrak.  The next train didn't depart Kansas City until Sunday night - 24 hours later and the sleeper car was sold out.   Not wanting to miss the orientation meeting Monday afternoon, I wound up taking a cab to the airport Sunday morning and caught the next plane to Phoenix.  Got to meet the nice TSA agent who wanted to know why I had undeclared liquid soap, lotion, sunscreen and other assorted liquids in my carryon.  He seemed to buy my sob story that I should have been on the train, I forgot about it, I had a bad night . . .  What was planned to be a nice leisurely trip spent reading, sleeping and enjoying the scenery from the train turned out to be a scramble to get to Flagstaff.

T-1 Flagstaff: Had most of Monday to explore downtown - hit some shops, tried the local brews at the Flagstaff Brewery with Son Volt playing in the background.  Approached by a panhandler at a bus stop who only wanted 50 cents.  What a bargain, I like Flagstaff.  Had lunch and sampled a few more brews at the Beaver Street Brewery.
Attended the pre-trip orientation at the Radisson, got my dry bag, bought a Crazy Creek chair.

I ate at a Chinese restaurant Monday night.  This was my fortune.  I'm still playing the lucky numbers.


Day 1: Joined Marieke’s oar boat with Kristian, Elena and Michael. Met the upper half folks: Katrina, Caile, Erin & Dave; Scott & Annie, Kristen and Richard; Cindy; Mike, Jane and Amanda, Jenn, Don & Elizabeth; Kristian & Elena; Michael; and myself. Michael and I are the only ones doing the whole two weeks.  The guides are Pat (Trip Lead), Dave (Chief Cook and paddle boat captain), Marieke (engaged to Dave), Kent, Deanna and Kelly, with assistant Kelsey.
Katrina and Kristen leave the paddle boat to join the House Rock Swim Team. Katrina takes a shot to the chops, but comes up smiling.
Camp at 19 Mile Canyon. Felt like I only slept a couple of hours.

Day 2: July 4th - On the Colorado River.
A morning hike up North Canyon (Mile 21) and are regaled with Marieke's flute playing.
We hit the Roaring 20's and camp at Mile 30. We celebrate the 4th at the twilight's last gleaming with a patriotic celebration, Can-X style: A resounding rendition of The Star Spangled Banner with sparklers asparkling, spotlights on an American flag hung from a tripod of oars, pinwheels of fire, and a couple balls of flame, followed by a laser light show on the opposite canyon wall courtesy of the professor, Michael. God Bless America.

 Holy balls of fire. (2.5 M)

Day 3: A relatively calm day spent in the paddle boat. We stop at Mile 33 and Redwall Cavern for frisbee, wiffle ball, and the Paddle Spin of Death game. Camp finds us at Mile 44, and a long, steep hike.  I find the view at halfway up the hike to be very much to my liking, and decide to stop there.
I'm awakened at midnight to 20 mph swirly winds and a temperature of at least 90 deg.  It puts you in the mind of lying in front of a blast furnace, with a sand blaster aimed at you.  I take a walk around to find some relief from the wind, there is none and I ride it out with a sheet wrapped around my head. Others are known to have taken more extreme measures.  My
campsite the morning after.


 Some things just never get old.
  (Sorry Kristian for not warning you.)


Day 4: Takes us through Nankoweap, Kwagunt and 60 Mile Rapids.  Mile 61 1/2 finds us at the confluence of the Colorado and the Little Colorado River. The Little Colorado is warm and a perfect turquoise blue. Ostensible adults easily and readily revert to 12 year olds for fun and more fun.
Camp is just below the Little Colorado at Mile 62. This is where Marble Canyon ends and the Grand Canyon begins. The geology and scenery are changing around every bend, and the guides are eager to share their knowledge of the Canyon. Threatening skies have most campers pitching tents. It's only a tease as no rain falls. Sleeping gets better every night.

 Dave takes Marieke for a ride. (2.8 M)

Day 5: Oar boat with Deanna: Tanner, Unkar, Nevills rapids.  We scout Hance Rapid before running it.  Hance is a technically challenging rapid with lots of obstacles. We camp as close to Pipe Creek as possible to allow an early departure for the hikers out: Cremation Creek at Mile 86. The level of modesty regarding bodily functions is inversely proportional to the amount of time spent on the river.  Day 1 and it's down the river, around the bend, look around to make sure nobody is within eyesight and go. By Day 5 it's turn your back wherever you may be and aim for the water.

River Data July 3 - July 16.  Lake Powell was at 12,650 kaf (kilo-acre-feet), 52% of capacity. Discharge from Glen Canyon Dam for the month of July was scheduled to average 9,000 - 17,000 cfs Mon.-Fri., 9,000 - 16,000 cfs Sat. and 9,000 - 15,000 cfs Sun. with peak demand being daylight, early evening. The graphs show stream-flow and water level data collected from a USGS monitoring station close to Phantom Ranch for the 14 days of this trip. The water level at Phantom peaked about noon and was at its lowest level about 2 a.m., with the difference being about 2 1/2 ft.  (Yes, I'm an engineer, and yes I have too much time on my hands.)

Day 6: We are awakened at 4:30 for an early start to the day to get the hikers started on the Bright Angel Trail as early as possible. The hikers down are starting to leave about this time. Pat and Michael make a stop at Phantom Ranch. I bid a fond farewell and Godspeed to my new friends of the past 6 days. Kelsey was originally planning to depart with the hikers, but is allowed to stay and is joined by her brother, Scott, for the duration of the trip. At about 9:30 the hikers start to trickle in.  We are joined by Terry & Genene; Todd & Wendy and Zach; Craig and Andria; Margaret; Tami; Craig; Joe; Lynn & Cindy, Max and Jack; Bob & Nancy. The hike has taken its toll and we make a short day of it, stopping for camp at Mile 93, just above Granite Rapid at Monument Creek.

Lower Canyon pictures.


Day 7: Crystal. Fat oar boat with Kelly.  We scout Crystal Rapid. At this river level (approx. 11,000 cfs) we make a left run. This is at the cutoff level, any higher and we'd be going right. The groover boat makes a clean run. We run the gems, Sapphire, Turquoise, Ruby. Stop at the waterfall at Shinumo Creek. We camp at Mile 118 at a big beach for horse shoes, and bocce ball. Kelly knows our friend Woody at Wilderness Aware.

Day 8: In the paddle boat with Lynn, Tami, Max, Jack and Cindy. We stop in the morning for an adventure hike at Blacktail Canyon (Mile 120). It's a long morning with 4 ropes required for the hike. The day in the paddle boat is a blast running Forster, Fossil, Specter (big hit - I'm knocked from the left to the right side of the boat), Bedrock and Dubendorff. The paddle boat makes a deft, left hand run around Randy's Rock. Todd gets sucked down a couple of times at Butt Sucker (Mile 126 1/2) but comes up giving the A-OK signal. The paddle boat makes the rescue. A ducky disaster at Specter, as Todd and Joe both go swimming. The duckies are portaged around Bedrock. The w-word starts to rear its ugly head at the end of the day, and the dreaded 10-10-10 comes into play. Camp is at Mile 132, within walking distance of Stone Creek waterfall. Cindy spots a bag of white wine floating by, and a daring rescue ensues.
I'm wondering if I'm gaining or losing weight on this trip. Before the trip, I had dropped about 25 lbs since January. Now I'm eating probably twice as much food as I usually eat. Hmmm...
23-July Update: The weight is a wash, 216 when I left, 215 when I weighed today.

What was really discussed during those "crew meetings"?


Day 9: Taking advantage of an overcast day, most everyone decides to do a 7 1/2 mile up and over hike from Tapeats Creek (Mile 134) to Deer Creek (Mile 137). I choose to pass and spend the day lounging at the patio area of Deer Creek Falls. In the morning we (the non-hikers) pass through the narrowest point of the river - about 75 feet, entering the Little Granite Gorge. Pat and Dave go in the reverse order to bring down the rest of the boats. While waiting for the return of the hikers, another group (Canyoneers) experiences a medical emergency that requires the evacuation of a person with a broken/dislocated kneecap. The helicopter lands a mile or so down river. Camp is at Mile 137, just below Deer Creek. It's a big sandy beach populated with ring-tailed cats.
After being abused on the bag line twice daily for the weight of my personal dry bag (blue number 15), I move half of my stuff to my bed dry bag (red number 15). My clever ploy backfires as now I'm bitched at for the weight of both bags.

Terry and Genene's pictures.

Day 10: In an oar boat with Kent. The boats do a tricky pull in at Matkatamiba Canyon for lunch and a short hike. It's a leisurely afternoon spent making butt dams, and painting toenails. Terry wakes up to slutty pink and hoe red nails. I agree to one toenail, black and gold (U of Missouri's colors), and somehow end up passing through Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport looking like this. We camp on the rocks at the Ledges campsite (Mile 151 1/2). Maybe the best groover ambiance of the trip, with spring water trickling down the rocks and gently splashing the user.

You Can Trust Me. We didn't play the Truth, Truth, and a Lie game in my raft, but when I heard about it, I spent the day thinking up convincing lies for the campsite that night. The game is to come up with two truths about yourself and one lie. The others have to guess which is the lie. I thought I had some pretty good lies, but was busted out by Kelly on all of mine.
See how well you do. (Requires Javascript enabled).
My Truth, Truth, and a Lies.

Day 11: Oar boat with Marieke, Wendy, Todd and Tami. We make a sack lunch for a 3 1/2 mi., hot hike up Havasu Creek to Beaver Falls. It's a quick pace, leaving at 9:30 and arriving before noon. We ford the creek numerous times, which is a good thing to keep wet and cool. Spend a couple of hours lunching and enjoying the falls. Adventurous souls take a jump off the cliff. Kelly leads a quick retreat with few stops in the afternoon heat. Camp is at National Canyon, Mile 166 1/2.

Day 12: Anticipation starts to build for our morning date with Lava Falls Rapid. It's a Class 10 at most river levels. Marieke diagrams what to expect, replete with sound effects (ka-whoosh). I'm in Pat's oar boat with Michael and Margaret. We stop to scout Lava. It's big and loud and looks very much like a 10. Some rafts will go left, some right. Life jackets are tightened and double-checked for snugness. We're reminded to not panic if we happen to go swimming and are instructed to hunker down in the bottom of the raft and hold on - these guys are getting serious all of a sudden. We're the first raft to run, Pat makes a right run past the Ledge Hole, catching the left side of the V-Wave and huge water. We make it safely through and eddy out to watch the rest of the rafts. Everyone makes it through without incident. We stop for lunch and siesta just below Lower Lava Rapid. Camp finds us at Mile 192. It's a night filled with a bucket of stupid, scary looking guys in dresses, and my best (failed) attempt at fending off the red menace. Is there really only two more days to go? I'm only beginning to get into my groove, the world seems right. Something about wearing a grass skirt with painted toenails, I've never felt more alive.
Sometime during the night the dish wash table topples, and sends my coffee mug and one of the dish buckets into the river.

Day 13: Deanna's oar boat with Zach and Kelsey. Max spots my wayward coffee mug around Mile 199 and makes a rescue. We take a morning break at Mile 202. I take a turn at oaring into the wind. A floating tumbleweed is making better time down the river than our raft. But in a daring maneuver and throwing caution to the wind, I overtake the tumbleweed, but sadly can never catch up with the rest of the group. Oh swirly water. We lunch 'neath an ancient willow tree just above 209 Mile Rapid. We take an afternoon break at Pumpkin Spring (Mile 213) and have a go at a slip-n-slide (inverted paddle boat). With all the grace and athleticism I could muster, I slammed into the front of the boat, landing in a quivering lump. With no apparent long term disability, we're back on the river. It spits rain as we approach our final campsite, 220 Mile Canyon. Most of the tents go up, but the rain never materializes. Joe treats us to his Ode to the Duck.

Day 14: It's a short morning in the paddle boat to Mile 226 and the Hualapai Reservation takeout point. Tradition or no, the morning is spent in silence (including Wendy!!??) all the way to Diamond Creek. My 12:1 odds against Wendy's abstinence seemed like a slam dunk at the time (but Wendy still hasn't seen me necked). We get the rafts broken down in short order, have a tasty lunch, and head out with our Hualapai guide, Hardy. It seems like we were heading up creek beds for a while, it's easy to see how the roads could get washed out. After a stall going uphill (fuel filter maybe, according to Hardy) we make it to the Can-X van. We're early, and it's a few minutes before the van arrives. We make a stop along Rte. 66 in Seligman for ice cream and it's back to Flagstaff. We end the night with pizza and beer with the guides at the Radisson pool.

Ode to the Duck by our own cowboy poet, Joe Paule.
Re-printed by permission of the author.

Grand Canyon Trip Awards as compiled by Joe Paule.

Equipment List - What was recommended, what I brought, what I could have left at home, why my dry bag was so heavy, etc.  I tend to follow directions precisely, so if the recommended list said long underwear, I brought long underwear (in 115 degree July weather).

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