We made breakfast as per usual and organized a search through all the rocket boxes to locate any previously unknown coffee. Running out of coffee would be an especially ugly turn of events having made it this far every morning and most evenings brewing and enjoying some fine coffees - what utter pigs we were by this point.
We loaded and launched the boats and began our float to Parashant, over 16 miles away but no real rapids to run. It became more windy as the day passed and by that afternoon, we were rowing against a stiff breeze. We got to camp and were grateful that our rowing day was done. We set up the kitchen in a protected area at the base of the cliff and set up sleeping quarters behind various protective pieces of plant life. Hikers went up Parashant Canyon while the rest of us took some shelter from the wind next to the cliff face or rested in our tents. That night, the wind continued. The temperature began to noticeably drop.
We broke camp, packed up the boats and began rowing downstream against a pretty strong wind. As the day wore on, the winds had 50 mph gusts that made it truly difficult to maintain our position on the water. We went through one rapid, Kolb, in which we all had to aggressively row downstream just to make it through. The current flow appeared to be less than the upstream winds. When we reached Granite Park, just above 209 Mile Rapid, we decided to call it a day and give up trying for Fall Canyon. It was good that we did. Granite has a variety of tammie shelter and those that put up tents could reasonably expect to still be inhabiting them in the morning. A few hardy souls went walking out up the canyon looking for sights. That night, the cold front finished rolling in.
By morning the winds had died down and we were able to continue our journey without the constant swearing that we indulged in the day before. We packed up our gear, loaded the boats and shoved off into the eddy. As I was just about to pull into the current at the top of the eddy, I noticed Bill and Ken converging at the top of the rapid just downstream and almost running it side by side. Unconventional, but neither of them flipped.
That afternoon, we pulled in at Pumpkin Springs and stepped ashore to investigate the rather ornate pool. I told the others about the rock warrens that were downstream just a short distance and we looked at and climbed in those also. We passed Three Springs Canyon, went through a couple of rapids and by early afternoon were at Upper 220 Mile camp where we pulled in, set up the kitchen and spread our sleeping gear out on the beach. That night the stars were out and we saw a bunch of satellites. Our river time was now way too short.
Today was a nice rowing day after the winds of the couple of days leading up to Granite Park. Our raft made the beach at Diamond Creek after Ron pulled in with his dory and Ken pulled in rowing Josha's raft just after us in front of Bill. Brady's people, Marilyn and a Vietnamese guy, arrived shortly thereafter to direct us in derigging the boats, stacking the gear and generally organizing the breakdown. Brady arrived a half an hour later with the truck which was making a good deal of racket by towing a spare tire on the ground behind the truck. Brady said that Eva's vehicle was up at Peach Springs with a possible battery problem.
After Ron winched his dory out of the water and securely strapped it down to the trailer, we loaded our personal gear in the back of his pickup . Rebecca and I and Ken rode with Brady up the extremely rough Diamond Creek "road" to Peach Springs. Josha, Jenn, Bill, Eva and Lars piled into Ron's extended cab pickup and preceded us up to Eva's truck. Ron managed to start Eva's 4WD vehicle with some jumper cables and signaled that things looked good as we passed him. Brady's truck was pulling a gear trailer loaded with stuff - lots of stuff.
We all stopped at Peach Springs and Brady bought us lunch at the Hualapai Lodge - what a good egg. I ate half of a Hualapai taco but Eva managed to eat the entire thing - it was huge. We told Brady all of our observations and suggestions on the food buy as we chowed down. After lunch, Brady drove East to Flag taking Ken who went on to drive his truck and trailer rig East into New Mexico (Albuquerque) that night. Eva, Ron and I then begin our long drives West. Eva and Lars went to Las Vegas, Ron and I eventually drove to Beatty, Nevada where the two separate parties holed up for the night in commercial lodgings. We took our first hot showers in several weeks and watched the first layer of Colorado silt wash off our bodies and down the drains.
Waking up at dawn, we acquired some motel coffee and loaded our luggage back into the SAAB. We drove North to Tonopah and filled up with gasoline. We then turned West on Highway 6 and drove to Lee Vining where we spent an hour or so drinking coffee and oogling the merchandise at the Mono Lake bookstore. We then drove over the Sierras via Tuolumne Meadows through Yosemite. It was quite pretty in a fallish kind of way. We made made our way back to Sonoma county arriving in Camp Meeker by early evening. Another day in Paradise.
© 2008 Michael Dooley