Monday, November 03, 2014

Day 7 - Cremation Fault to Schist Camp :: Exchange Day

Tuesday, September 23rd would be a very short day on the river, just 9 miles (from mile 87.5 to 96.5) because it was the day we would exchange 11 of our traveling companions for new ones.

It was a busier than usual morning in camp. For those leaving, stuff in the dry bags had to be put into backpacks. In some cases, there wasn't room for everything or there were just some things they didn't want to have to carry, so those items were gifted to some of us. But, the journey was over for eleven members of our group. They would leave early for Pipe Springs to begin their trek out of the canyon. The six of us doing the full trip would help finish loading the rafts then depart for a brief stop at Phantom Ranch.

It was sad to see them leave, they were all so nice! In front are Elana, Dawn, and Priscilla (with her back to the camera); and Ashley and Susan in back, along with Matt, the guide.

We didn't spend as much time with this group (except Patrick) since they were always in the paddle raft when on the river. Nevertheless, it was always nice to visit with them when we were in camp or when we stopped for hikes or lunch. Clockwise from front-left: Jacque, Jeff, Patrick, Peter, Susan, and Dave. Patrick was riding with them because he was going to hike up to Indiana Gardens and back. Deanna, with her sprained ankle, would get a helicopter ride out of the canyon at Phantom Ranch.

Tom and Matt would get the group to Pipe Springs and Tom would make sure they all made it up to Indian Gardens. In the meantime the "new people" would be hiking down from the South Rim on the Bright Angel Trail along with a guide from Outdoors Unlimited who would also ensure that those going up made it to the rim.

On our way to Phantom Ranch.

The Black Bridge, completed in 1928, was the first bridge to connect the north and south sides of the canyon. It is used by the mules since it has a solid floor - apparently, mules won't cross a bridge if they can see the water below them. It's also used by hikers coming from and going to the South Rim on the South Kaibab Trail.

We stopped at the Boat Beach then walked the half-mile to Phantom Ranch along Bright Angel Creek.

One of the cabins, all of which were designed by Mary Colter, at Phantom Ranch.

Tom and Nancy coming out of the Canteen at Phantom Ranch.

This deer blends in quite well with the vegetation. If I hadn't seen some movement out of the corner of my eye, I would have missed it completely.

On the other hand, there is no way I could have missed the mule train! Especially with all the dust being kicked up. And, of course, the odor...

Tom and Nancy, as well as Sue and Fred, decided to hike the two miles along the Bright Angel Trail from Phantom Ranch to Pipe Creek. I walked over and across the Silver Bridge then went back to the boat beach at the appointed time.

View of the Silver Bridge from the North side. Yes, you can feel movement. Yes, I held the side rail while going across, and Yes, I kept my eyes forward!

The Silver Bridge serves two functions: It is for hikers coming down the Bright Angel Trail and it also supports the trans-canyon waterline, which carries water from Roaring Springs below the North Rim to the pumping station at Indian Gardens. This water is the only source of fresh water for Grand Canyon National Park.

A couple of hikers going over Silver Bridge from the South side. The water pipeline can be seen hanging below the walkway of the bridge.

I walked a (very) short distance along the trail that connects the Bright Angel with the South Kaibab trails to get this view of the Silver Bridge. Then it was back to the rafts.

As we were departing Boat Beach, the helicopter that was to take Deanna to the rim landed at the heliport. It took off just as we were passing by.

At Pipe Creek, waiting and preparing for the arrival of the new group.

We had lunch after all of the new members of our troupe arrived, then it was back to the river. That peak in the middle of the above picture is Zoroaster Temple whose summit rises to 7,123 feet. It is a prominent feature that can be seen from many viewpoints on the South Rim.

In the seven miles between Pipe Creek and the Schist campsite, we would go through 5 rapids: Pipe Springs (rated 4), Horn Creek (8), Salt Creek (4), Granite (9), and Hermit (9).  I was having some "issues" with my camera so didn't get any pictures in the afternoon. I was also almost in a panic because of those issues, but it turned out to be just one bad battery. Thank goodness!

The exchange felt a little awkward with having "lost" the people on the Upper Canyon portion of the trip with whom we had become "comfortable" and not knowing anything (except first impressions) about the new-comers. But overall, it was pretty good day on The River for us "full-trippers" and a great introduction to the river for the newbies!
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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 7 - Cremation Fault to Schist Camp :: Exchange Day," Kinexxions, posted November 3, 2014 ( : accessed [access date])

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