Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Day 8 - Part 1 :: Schist Camp to Crystal Rapid

Wednesday, September 24th would be our longest day on the river thus far.  We would travel 22 1/2 miles, from mile 96.5 to mile 119, run 19 rapids, take a short hike, and view some awe-inspiring scenery as we went further into the gorge.

Leaving Schist campsite.

The manner in which the river constantly changed color, dependent up the available light, was fascinating and even mesmerizing at times.

Boucher Rapid was the first rapid of the day, about half a mile from camp. Rated a 4, it was pretty tame, especially compared with what would come later.

The high canyon walls and the early morning light create deep shadows and awesome reflections.

Each turn of the river brings with it scenes of indescribable beauty.

A private group had just finished scouting Crystal Rapid as we made our approach to the beach. They ran the rapid before our guides had finished their reconnaissance.

We all knew that Crystal Rapid was rated a 10+ on the Grand Canyon scale and that it was a "technical" rapid due to the boulders (called the Rock Garden) in the river just beyond the mid-point of the rapid. But we started to get a little nervous when, before leaving camp, we were told that the guides would be scouting Crystal and that we were to remain in the boats while they did so. Crystal was the first rapid that the guides had stopped to look at before going through.

The River creates sort of a meandering s-curve that starts a short distance before Crystal Rapid and from the beach area where we were waiting we could only see the smooth, calm-looking surface of the river and then the drop off.

Matt's taking his raft into Crystal Rapid backwards.

As the rest of us went through, Matt waited in the eddy. That's Justin coming around in front.

And this is the reason Matt pulled off into the eddy. One of the rafts from the private group that had gone before us had flipped and was stuck on the rocks.

Matt, Tom, and Justin stopped to talk with one of the members of the private group. Thankfully, everyone was safe and back on land. It was first thought that the paddle-raft crew might be able to get the flipped raft off the rocks but that was deemed too risky. After a few minutes it was decided that the group would just have to use their satellite phone to call the Park Ranger's office and request assistance. And wait.

We left them there and proceeded through the tail end of Crystal Rapid...

And then we headed on down the river. For us, the run through Crystal Rapid had been exciting but we were relieved to have it behind us without incident. Not so for the private group we left behind.

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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 8 - Part 1 :: Schist Camp to Crystal Rapid," Kinexxions, posted November 4, 2014 (http://kinexxions.blogspot.com/2014/11/day-8-part-1-schist-camp-to-crystal.html : accessed [access date])

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