Rafting the Grand Canyon, Private River Permit Part 20

Nineteenth river day 25 miles 264.8 Mile Camp 4/13/2019

Twentieth river day 14.2 miles 279 Mile Camp 4/14/2019

Twenty first river day 1.4 miles to Pearce Ferry Takeout, derig, and drive to the rental house 4/15/2019

In hindsight, I am glad that I choose to add these couple extra days in the Canyon after the Diamond Creek Access area. I found the last two days were my most enjoyable. I think it was a combination of the end being in sight and the slower pace of the trip. With the trip almost over and knowing that we were on track to make our target pickup date along with having no other must-see objectives to knock of the list, I could allow myself to relax and not feel stressed. Another little thing I found enjoyable was that we separated into two groups, without having to try and stay together to provide support in the case of an overturned raft or other emergency. This really allowed for a much-relaxed pace. The group I was in lashed our rafts together and floated along playing cards and soaking in the sun as the day drifted by stress free. The only thing we had to really worry about this day was the campsite. The sites in this section are affected by the water levels in Lake Mead and the conditions vary greatly with current lake levels. A lot of these camps, along with the banks were caving into the river, much like icebergs breaking apart, sending the rims, and whatever were on them, tumbling into the water.

We decided to stay on a terraced campsite with log reinforced steps put in by the National Park Service. Since the banks were eroding and falling in, we thought this would make for a more reliable camp area. Later that evening we hear a large cracking sound and looked across the river from our camp towards the Silt Flats to see the side of the bank give way crumbling down into the river.

After Separation Canyon the flow of the river mellowed out to a float, as the surrounding area picked up in intensity. Lots of motorized boat traffic zipping by along with increased activity in general. A group of Indigenous people were providing tours on motorboats. A few that didn’t have tourists onboard would stop and ask for beer. Dealing with tourons is thirsty work. There were also helicopters buzzing all around taking even more tourist to their private accommodations or providing tours of the Canyon. We could see the massive tourist trap, the Grand Canyon Skywalk, a horseshoe shaped steel frame with a glass floor and sides that overhanging the Grand Canyon’s rim looking down 4,000 feet to the bottom of the canyon. This is the most famous attraction at Grand Canyon West, managed by the Hualapai Tribe and located on tribal lands, consisting of just less than 1,000,000 acres. The tribe has about 2,300 members with Peach Springs on Highway 66 being the location of the tribal headquarters. The tribe operates a hotel, restaurant, and gift shop in Peach Springs.

Our last night we stayed just around the corner from Pearce where we were to meet our outfitter to dismantle the boats and get a ride out the canyon. We shared the spot with another group. I believe they were guides in training. We talked to them for a little bit, and some came over to our glow stick party. I don’t remember much about the evening. Micah, and I went to bed early. I do recall a guy walking towards us on the way back to camp he said, “she bumped into me, spilt my beer…. then she just meowed at me!”

“Sounds about right, have a good night.” I replied.

Waking up in the morning we packed our boats for the last time only to derig them fully in 1.4 miles. After hours of unloading the boats and loading everything onto the vehicles we climbed into the vans that were to take us to the house we were staying in for the night before all heading back to corners of the county, but the one thing we were dying to know was if everyone at Moenkopi loved olives? A pause from the driver, “yes, I guess. Why do you ask?”

“They were on the menu in almost every meal. We have a lot left!”

Moenkopi was great as an outfitter. They supplied us with all we needed and even worked with us as we were navigating a government shutdown, which could have possibly ended our trip. I just hope they don’t add our leftover cans of olives to the next group.

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