Friday, October 31, 2014

Day 5 - Kwagunt Creek to Unkar Rapid

Sunday, September 21st.
16.5 miles ~ Mile 56.5 to Mile 73.

Heading in to 60 Mile Rapid, the first one of the day. 

It was a nice easy ride through.

Here we are approaching the area where the Little Colorado joins the Colorado River. Known as "the Confluence," it is considered a sacred site by the people of the Navajo Nation. While driving to Lee's Ferry on September 16th we saw numerous signs stating "Save the Confluence" along highway 89 before and after the turn-off to the east side of the Grand Canyon. We later learned that there is a very controversial proposal to build a  resort and aerial tramway in this area, though not directly at the confluence.

We watched the river change color. The blue-green water is the Colorado River while the brownish water along the edge is coming in from the Little Colorado.  It isn't always like this but recent storms had created runoff from the canyons which stirred up the silt. Oftentimes the Little Colorado will be a turquoise color due to its mineral content. As we traveled further into the Grand Canyon the water would gradually change to a light chocolate color, and then even darker, mostly from the numerous creeks and streams flowing in from the side canyons.

There was a bit of "splashy stuff" at Mile 63.

Between mile 64 and 65 we went by the campsite of some scientists who were studying the Humpback Chub, one of the fishes native to the river in the Grand Canyon. They had traps set out in quite a few spots and were attempting to get a count of how many were in the river. A little further downstream, one of the scientists in his motor boat stopped to chat with KJ about the project.

We passed through another little riffle.

At mile 65 we stopped at Carbon Creek for a hike. The Desert View Tower,  nearly invisible due to the distance, is on that ridge in the center of the picture. Really! There was the threat of rain but the group started out on the hike knowing it would be aborted if it started raining. It did. But the rain didn't last long.

Within about 10 minutes the sun had come out.

An impressive landmark, starting at mile 68, is Comanche Point. Its peak rises about 4,000 feet above the river! Impressive indeed.

Another view of Comanche Point after having gone around a bend in the river.

At mile 69 we went through Tanner Rapid, which is only rated a 4 on the Grand Canyon scale but drops about 20 feet from beginning to end. And yeah, it was a fun one!

At mile 71.5 we stopped  at Cardenas Creek for a hike up to Hilltop Ruin.

I was assured by Matt that this was a hike that I could do, but I just couldn't keep up with the pace and after about 20 minutes gave up. The view was fantastic. A portion of the rafts can be seen in the lower left corner. In the lower right corner, Justin and Chelly are coming up the hill. And, Comanche Point is that high peak to the right of center.

Another wonderful day on The River comes to a close at our campsite at Unkar Creek.
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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 5 - Kwagunt Creek to Unkar Rapid," Kinexxions, posted October 31, 2014 ( : accessed [access date])

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