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Day 158: 12/29/17  Rafting the Grand Canyon and actually hiking again!!!

Miles: 10 Steps: 23,840 Vertical gain: Strava Knows! Liquid consumed: oz. Wildlife: Saw one small Lizard!! Faith in Humanity: thanks again so very much to the raft group that gave me a ride downriver, you’re awesome! Well, well, another fine day! I woke up and got packed up, attempting to make everything as waterproof as possible since my pack and body would be rafting for 10 miles or so. Apparently I didn’t get the memo for the exact time I was supposed to go over and help the rafters assist in getting ready (someone cane over and seemed ever so slightly annoyed) but I went over and helped with everything I could. Carrying things, blowing up rafts, bundling firewood, etc. etc. Life’s just full of trade offs: rafting has so much tasty food and chairs and kitchens and all that, but it’s also a bit of a nightmare to have to assemble and take down everything every single day... similar to backpacking vs. car camping. Personally I get much more than a backpack and I’m not quite overwhelmed but it just gets a bit more tedious to set up or break down camp. Anyway, just interesting to note the different styles of travel. The river was really neat. I do wish I had a dry suit though, my God when the water hit me in my rain gear I was literally shivering and hypothermic! They let me drive for a while to warm up which was super awesome. I was amazed at how much control I had with the two oars, pretty cool! After a couple of hours we arrived at the confluence of the Little Colorado River and the Big Colorado. Little was super bright and beautiful turquoise blue which was Very cool. This is a common recurring theme on this trip: getting dropped off in the middle of absolutely nowhere! This probably tops all though: an 85 mile hike to the river to a 10 mile raft (after waiting 3 days for the ride) to an intersection of two rivers in the Grand Canyon! Sure feels nice to be adventurous! I said goodbye to my short term friends. They were really great. As a whole, that was a really great group of interesting and extremely intelligent individuals! Thanks for hanging out for a bit! I really enjoyed meeting you and hope our paths cross again sometime soon! I got to play the role of garbage disposal and eat leftover dinner twice with them which was incredible both times, a ride down the Colorado River, and got to hang out by the fire with them which was awesome! Such a treat in many ways that likely benefitted me more than them: thanks for tolerating my presence and being great! The hike was cool! At first I was like: how do I get to to the trail, but found a scramble fairly quickly to get up there. My feet were so cold and toes took what seemed like forever to regain complete feeling and warmth. I passed another backpacker and he said he started sweating just looking at me, haha. It was pretty warm in the sun where we were and I did delayer soon after our encounter, but that was pretty funny. He was also doing a pretty ambitious trip, good luck, have fun! The Beamer Trail was pretty cool. Mellow walking then a whole ton of small drainage crossings. There was another warning about exposure but nothing on this trail bothered me at all really, I thought the really steep views down to the river were cool though! I almost hiked all the way to Tanner Beach, but ended up camping maybe a mile before it or so. Two reasons for this: one, the rafting party was thinking about camping there and while I thought they were amazing, I didn’t want to infiltrate there Trip. Two, Tanner Beach is really popular for rafters and hikers alike and I thought maybe there’d be less mice and other critters if I camped a bit away. I’m on a nice spot a little off the river in a side that shows sign of use. Perfect! So tomorrow I have 10 miles to hike out of the canyon. I could either wake up early and just bust out the huge climb, or linger and do the climb in 2 days. I’m thinking the former is more realistic, but it sure is fun to gawk and enjoy this here Grand Canyon!

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