Eighteenth river day 19.8 miles Separation Canyon 4/12/2019
Today marked the beginning of the end of our 21-day river trip and the beginning of C.J. and Kelly’s future together. I believe this is the day they told us they got engaged. C.J. had given Kelly a PBR tab in lieu of a ring, until they got back to civilization. This proposition had occurred sometime earlier in the trip but they had just informed the group as we headed for a change in the canyon and group.
We floated by the Diamond Creek Access, which is the first place since we put on 226 miles ago at Lees Ferry that a road comes to the river. I chose not to utilize this takeout for a couple of reasons: First being it cost more but the second, and main reason, was that I will probably not paddle the Grand Canyon again and I wanted to see as much as possible, so that left the Pearce Ferry Access to take out.
A few miles after passing Diamond Creek we run, in my mind, our last actual rapid of the trip, blandly named Two Hundred and Thirty Mile Rapid, also called Killer Fang Falls. The rapid gets it’s more menacing name from the schist fins lurking in the current on the river right line. These fangs apparently might have some bite. Newlyweds, Glen and Bessie Hyde were looking to make a statement with their honeymoon trip down the Grand Canyon in 1928. Each member of the couple had a different goal, Glen wanted to make the fastest boating trip while Bessie wanted to be the first known woman to make the trip down the Grand Canyon. This unfortunately never came to fruition. One of the many theories about what happened to the couple speculated that the twosome hit these “fangs” and were thrown from their boat. One of the more interesting theories was Bessie may have reappeared as a river guide named Georgie Clark after killing Glen. When Clark passed in 1992, her friends discovered a marriage certificate among her possessions for Glen and Bessie Hyde. She also had a birth certificate that said “Bessie DeRoss,” and a pistol stashed in her underwear drawer. Historians, however, could not verify the documents, and photos of Clark as a young woman don’t resemble Bessie. No bodies have been found to date leaving this mystery unsolved.
The rest of our trip after Killer Fang would be unremarkable rapid wise. With few remaining between us and Separation Canyon, our destination for the day, and after that none until Pearce Rapid right after we takeout. The rapids after Gneiss Cayon Rapid are now submerged under water and silt from Lake Mead. In July 1983 the lake flooded just upstream of Gneiss Rapid to Bridge Canyon. Even as the water levels recede it will take a very long time for sediments to be washed away reveling the rapids once more.
When we got to Separation Cayon, so named because it is where three men, William Dunn and two brothers O.G. and Seneca Howland, decided to walk out from Powell’s party in August 1869, never to be seen again. I wandered off and sat on a rock in the mostly empty drainage of the canyon and took in the everchanging shapes of the clouds and listened to frogs’ croaking on this beautiful evening, probably neglecting my unloading duties. I got back to camp; stuff was unloaded so I went with Oz and Eric to find the Cenotaph dedicated to the afore mentioned men. (I had to look it up. Cenotaph -an empty tomb or a monument erected in honor of a person or group of people whose remains are elsewhere.) You’re welcome.
When we set off down the river the next day, we kind of separated ourselves into two groups each doing our own thing. This would continue on the water until the end of the trip, but we would come together once again at our campsites.