Friday, November 07, 2014

Day 10 - Bonita Creek Rapid to Mile 145

On Friday, September 26th, we would travel 11.5 miles on the river (from mile 133.5 to mile 145), run six rapids ranging from a rating of 5 to 8, and have the opportunity to go on a hike.

One mile after leaving the campsite we passed through Tapeats Rapid.

Do you see an owl up in the canyon wall?

A short distance down the river from Tapeats we came to a mile-long section of the canyon known as Granite Narrows or Granite Gorge.

At one spot the width of the river shrinks to just 76 feet - its narrowest point within the Grand Canyon - but the rest of the gorge doesn't feel much wider. Silence surrounds us as we float with the current. There is no chit-chat or laughter. We are simply in awe of it all.

At mile 137, about half a mile after exiting Granite Narrows, we stop at Deer Creek for a hike. One of the private groups was there too but left shortly after our arrival.

The trail goes up, through that "break" and up some more, way more!

This hike had three options to go with it. The first option was a relatively short route through Deer Creek with a little rock scrambling to a tall waterfall. The second and third options both took the steep trail to an area called the Patio that was, apparently, a little oasis. The third option was to continue on further beyond the Patio to a place called the Throne Room. From what I heard from others, the trail on that third option included a rather precarious, narrow ledge above a slot canyon!

It was an extremly challenging hike for those who chose to do it - everyone except me and KJ (one of the guides always stayed with the rafts). While KJ did whatever it was he had to do with the rafts, I waited in a nice shady spot relaxing and catching up on my trip notes.

Lower Deer Creek Waterfall, taken from a short distance upstream from where Deer Creek joins the Colorado River.

I have no idea how much time elapsed but KJ eventually escorted me to the lower waterfall. We walked through the creek a ways then climbed over a few boulders to get back to a small open area. He stayed for a few minutes then went back to the rafts. I had the place all to myself for about 2 hours!

There is nothing to provide scale, but this waterfall was at least 80 feet high! The force of the water coming down was tremendous. And it was loud, especially when you got close to it. There was no standing under this waterfall for a shower! But I did lay down in the stream for a few minutes. Quite refreshing!

At one point, eons ago, Deer Creek flowed over the top of that wall.

Simply Beautiful.

We had lunch after everyone returned from the hike. Deer Creek, to the right of the second raft, flows into the Colorado River and creates a little riffle.

We left Deer Creek in the early afternoon. I had forgotten to change the battery in the camera before leaving Deer Creek and it went dead shortly after this photo was taken. We traveled seven more miles downriver before stopping for the night. Dark clouds started moving in shortly after leaving Deer Creek. So, with the possibility of rain, tents were put up.

It was a rather warm night, one of the warmest thus far, so I slept outside. Until the wind picked up and a few raindrops hit the ground. The rain shower didn't amount to much but the wind was blowing sand all around so the night was spent in the tent. I missed waking up in the middle of the night and seeing the sky filled with stars!
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Note: The page Grand Canyon Raft Trip lists all of my posts published about this Grand Adventure!

Published under a Creative Commons License.
Becky Wiseman, "Day 10 - Bonita Creek Rapid to Mile 145," Kinexxions, posted November 7, 2014 ( : accessed [access date])

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