Twig Adventures

GC Day 4: LCR Perfection

Thursday, February 22nd 2024
Upper Nankoweap Camp mile 53 to Tanner Camp mile 68.7
15.7 miles, elevation 2691′

I woke to yet another migraine, even tough I tried to hydrate really well the previous day. I was officially out of my own meds this day, so someone gave me some of their extra. At this rate, I might still have to hike out of phantom Ranch in 2 days. I helped with breakfast in the morning while some of the rest of the group that didn’t get to do the hike at night went up in the morning. I saw a bunch of other people from the other 2 groups heading up as well, so I was glad I went in the dark.

We left camp pretty late, considering the side hike and a relatively easy day ahead. I switched things up and rode with Magnus and Leo. Dania and Lucas took turns paddling a stand-up paddle board and some others rode in different rafts, as well. I really was enjoying paddling a raft, sharing some of the workload with Chris, so I thought Magnus might enjoy getting break, too. I hadn’t seen Leo ever take the reigns, so I thought it was because he didn’t want to row. But little did I know, it was because Magnus wanted to set a personal record by rowing every mile of the canyon. He politely let me row after I asked several times, refraining from telling me about his goal. I would have been happy to sit by the side had I known. Mostly I liked rowing to stay warm and get a bit of a workout, but after awhile I was really gaining confidence in making the raft do what I wanted it to do and enjoying the challenge. With a slightly lighter weight raft, I think I could have run some of the bigger rapids. I’m sorry for messing up your record Magnus! He sure was a good sport about it.

After just 8 miles, we reached the confluence with the Little Colorado River. Back in May the previous year, the extensive smow melt had turned the LCR an ugly brown. I didn’t even attempt to cross it because it was running so high. Our rafting friends gave us a ride just past it, where we picked up the Beamer trail to carry on with our hike. But on this day, the LCR was showcasing its famous and magical blue silt color. We took a long lunch break there, marveling at the spectacle. All the ladies went for a bath and a few of the guys floated down in their drysuits. Magnus smeared gray silt all over his body and appeared to turn into some ancient Viking God. I simply soaked up the sun and enjoyed the scenery. In Rob’s 2 previous trips down the canyon, he’d never seen the blue color. I’m so glad we were able to fit in a long stop into our schedule.

Just as we were leaving, the other group from Main Nankoweap showed up. They were very nice and we chatted about our schedules. They were on a much more relaxed schedule than us, so we determined we would probably never see each other again. We bid farewell and continued. The afternoon was really chill. I’d loved the view from the Beamer trail when I hiked it and I enjoyed the view from the river just as much. I recalled this section as probably my favorite part of the canyon. One can see all the way to both rims as the canyon opens wide. We had great views of the Desert View WatchTower, a viewing platform built on the South Rim in 1932. Our guidebooks told us it was over 50 miles away from where we first spied it.

The South Rim and Watchtower are on the far ridgeline, center right. That is the point where the river stopped trending south and turned west.

We arrived at Tanner camp pretty early and decided to call it quits because of the nice afternoon sunlight there. The camp was on another extensive sand flat, kind of exposed but at least there was no wind. We had boil-in-a-bag lasagna with garlic bread and salad and enjoyed another nice campfire. I went looking for scorpions with my UV light and came up short again. But I got some nice views of the moon rising over the wide valley. It was another great and scenic day.

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