Rafting the Grand Canyon, Private River Permit Part 4

(9 miles) Stayed at Below Jackass 3/26/2019

At this juncture in the trip I was starting to become stressed for a couple of reasons. Setting up camp takes some time as people are becoming familiar with what is in their rafts and the group as a whole doesn’t have a lot of experience in multi day rafting. It will take about five days for us to figure out the kitchen set up because of the way I set up the rotation. It will be day five when there is a group in the kitchen who has experience from the first day. If I do this again, I would want four volunteers one from each group plus the first group on kitchen duty. Or even just one volunteer from the next night to help or watch who would then break out and spend time with the next groups to show them what to do until the rotation was complete and everyone had an idea and wasn’t just winging it over and over until day five! Or even better take some people with experience on the next trip. I am glad that will be people in this group. I feel these amendments to the set up would allow for a more efficient flow instead of how I did it this time where each night the kitchen crew had to figure out what they were doing. Also no-one knew what was actually on their boat because they had been so busy partying for the last two days. While the kitchen crew did their thing the rest of the group set up camp and tried to find what group gear was on their boats.

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The first game of Bocci Ball was played, no one read the rules as we decided to play intuitively and then see if we did it right when we were done. I never checked the rules so if I play again there is a chance I am doing it wrong. The balls were glow in the dark and there was much debate over the different throws. The under hand throw seemed inferior to the back spin. When the back spin was thrown it landed in a puff of sand with very little momentum forwards or backwards as opposed to the under hand throw which continued its momentum.

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Our first dinner was delicious, like all the dinners on this trip! Eating my salmon, asparagus, and mashed potatoes, I gazed into the open canyon across the large sandy beach I was sitting on, listening to the water rush passed contemplating how to make the experience better. Kevin and another raven, whose name I forget, squawked while looking for scraps of food. This pair would follow us down the river looking for an easy meal.

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Another thing I would do differently would be to have simple meals for breakfast and lunch, possibly even dinner. It was great to eat better on this trip then I normally do, but the amount of time involved in making that happen for me would be better spent exploring the side canyons or relaxing. I realize this might not be for everyone but I would definitely go with easier breakfast and lunches on future trips. I would be happy with cereals and oatmeal for breakfast and GORP, cheeses and hard meats for lunch much like backpacking food. I am still on the fence for the dinners, it would be nice to have the more hearty elaborate dinner that can be accomplished with the amount of room available on a raft. However, on the other hand some type of boil in the bag dinner would save the time of unloading all the gear and cook time allowing for even more time to explore. I guess it really depends on the river and time allowed for the trip. On a Main Salmon trip I went on we had plenty of time to kill in the evenings and the dinners were nice to have. The Grand just had so much to explore!

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Lesson number two was learned the morning of 3/27/2019 when we woke up to find all the rafts beached with somewhere around 300 beers per raft plus gear weighing them down. We set about getting the rafts floating. With a count down we lifted upwards on the yellow rafts. With a sucking sound they broke free a lot easier then I imagined. Once freed, they slid fairly easy. With that task completed we go over how we want to do things as a group; like getting the camp ready, dishes, finding the food for meals, hand signals and what rapids we want to scout before we prepared to launch. After all this was discussed and boats packed, we headed down the river to Indian Dick Camp with another late start, but we are figuring it out.

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