Saturday, November 01, 2014

Day 6 - Part 1 :: Unkar Rapid to Rattlesnake Canyon

Monday, September 22nd would be a jam-packed 14.5 miles in the Canyon, going from mile 73 to mile 87.5. Though we would only travel a mile and a half in the morning, the remaining 13 miles in the afternoon would include 8 rapids (a couple of the biggies) and a few little riffles.

The morning sun casts it's rays on the far side of the canyon.

Our campsite at Unkar Creek was in the middle of a long, sweeping s-curve and we would travel away from Tabernacle Butte (aka The Tabernacle), in the upper-right side of the above photo, before turning back toward it. The River takes so many different twists and turns as it goes through the canyon that you lose all sense of direction and it was really confusing sometimes.

As soon as we left camp, we went through Unkar Rapid, rated a 6 on the Grand Canyon scale. Nothing like a refreshing jolt of cold water to start the day! Especially since the sun had not yet reached that section of the canyon.

After passing through Unkar Rapid, a perfect reflection appears in a calm, smooth section of the river.

Arriving at Rattlesnake Canyon where we find that a private group spent the night there. No problem, they had done the hike to the Tabernacle the previous day and were packing up to leave.

If you look closely, you can see a group of hikers along the ridge just left of center in the above photo. They are walking along a narrow fin with steep drops on both sides.

Matt had described the hike to us the night before as being more than 2 miles long with an elevation gain of 2,200 feet that would take us (them actually) to the summit of Tabernacle Butte. There would be no shade. It would be hot. It would take about 4 hours round-trip. The views would be awesome.

I really, really wanted to go but knew that my legs and probably my lungs could not handle it. I also knew that I'd never be able to keep up with the fast pace that Matt sets. Afterward Sue told me the hike "was brutal."

Deanna was still hobbling around with her sprained ankle so she didn't go either. Priscilla and KJ hiked up over that first ridge and a little further then returned to the river about an hour later. I wandered along the river bank for a while, going from one side to the other as far as I could.

The view looking toward the North with Comanche Point on the far left, some seven river-miles distant.

The view to the South. What lies around the bend?

A hearty flowering plant brightens the landscape.

There were several of these round "holes" in the rock ledge along the river. This one was about two inches deep and 12-14" in diameter.

This was about the same size as the one above but much shallower. Several others were about the same size and a couple were smaller. Are they natural or man made? 'Tis a mystery to me.

On the northern edge of the area was a small "forest" of Tamarisk trees. A path took you out to the rocky shore.

After a couple of hours of "exploring" the area I found a nice shady spot among the Tamarisk trees. With a paco pad to sit on, I read about the Kolb brothers and their adventures photographing The River and Grand Canyon in the early 1900s. They were amazing men!

Shortly before noon, the first of the hikers climbed down off the ridge.

Back on the river again after lunch. Looking North, this was our last glimpse of The Tabernacle, which would soon be out of sight as we traveled southward.

A few miles further down-river the canyon would change dramatically. The "open space" we had been traveling through would disappear as we entered "the gorge."
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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 6 - Part 1 :: Unkar Rapid to Rattlesnake Canyon," Kinexxions, posted November 1, 2014 ( : accessed [access date])

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