Rafting the Grand – Day 3 (11/12/2015)

Today we rafted from North Canyon at mile 20 to Buck Farm Canyon at mile 41 for a day of 21 miles on the river. If you consider that the river flows at about 2.3 miles per hour it would take you just under 10 hours to float that distance with no paddling. If you add in paddling, as well as breaks for lunch and for a short hike you can see that 21 miles becomes a pretty long day.

To give you a little clearer sense of how things work I’ll explain how our group worked. We were split into three group, (1) Kitchen crew (2) Clean-up crew (3) Day off crew. You would rotate between these groups each day. Cook one day, clean the next, day off on the third. The day was structured like this.

6-7am: Kitchen crew cooks breakfast while everyone else breaks down their camp and loads their dry bags (dry bags are exactly what you would expect, places to put your stuff so they don’t get soaked by water)

7-8am: Everyone eats breakfast and the kitchen crew, if they haven’t already, breaks down and packs their stuff. The clean up crew does dishes and people begin cleaning up camp.

8-9am: Most everyone has moved their bags to the boats and we begin loading the boats. Everything has a place. The stove goes in a specific compartment of a specific boat, just as personal bags go to specific places as well. This entire process can take more than an hour and takes the help of everyone.

9am: Launch. Hop in the boats and start floating.

9am-3pm: Float. Quite generally you are making your way down the river during this time. If there are rapids that we need to scout to look for potentially hazardous elements, we will stop and look to make sure we can make it down as safely as possible. Additionally, at some point in there we will stop for lunch. Usually, we would try and coordinate lunch at a sunny beach, or a place with a little side hike that we wanted to do.

3pm-5pm: Usually somewhere in this time we would stop to set up camp. There are river maps that show you good beaches where you can camp, places that will have sun, or hikes.

As you can imagine with a 9am launch and 8 hours of river floating you’ve got to be pretty organized to make sure that you can get to your camp before dark. You do not want to be out on the river at dark. It is easy to miss your camp, or you can go down a rapid and have someone fall out. Looking for someone in 50-degree water during the dark is not a great way to unsure the safety of your crew.

Day Three had two side trips that are classic stops in most trips down the Grand Canyon. The first stop was at Redwall Canyon, which is an absolutely massive cave that is cut out in the wall, from a distance it looks tiny, then you get inside of it and it is incredible. Our other stop was at Nautiloid Canyon, where you can see some nautiloid fossils.  The best way to describe both is through pictures, enjoy!