Meadowmom

Meadowmom

Posted on 01/22/2016


Photo taken on January 22, 2016


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Tolerance Tolerance


North American Travel North American Travel


All About Water All About Water



Keywords

Colorado River
Grand Canyon
Lava Falls


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My Grand Canyon, Page 16

My Grand Canyon, Page 16
(I’m telling the story of a boat trip through the Grand Canyon.)

We are running Lava Falls.

On the brink, Factor dips an oar here and there, delicately positioning. Suddenly we sweep down the giant glistening tongue, over the 6 foot drop of the falls, into the white chaos below. It seems to be a skillful entry. But the river notices Factor. Remembers it hasn’t disciplined him since his last trip. A sudden unpredictable sweeper wave comes from the right. Pushes us into a hole. Factor yells “high side, high side” and we all shift our weight to keep the dory from capsizing. The wave crashes over us. Spins us. Carries us toward the uncertain shore, far to the left.

That’s me in front, in the blue shirt, drenched, my hat knocked back, going through one of the most dramatic moments of my life with my eyes tightly closed. The river has taken one oar from Factor, crabbed the other. He has lost control.

We are swamped in Lava Falls.

The dory slowly submarines backwards through the whitewater. It doesn’t sink. It doesn’t hit anything. Factor is unstrapping the spare set of oars. “Bail!” he yells. We passengers grab the bailing cans. We quickly discover that if you bail fast enough, you can create a steady stream of water arcing through the air. Inspired by the incredible bailing speed of my son-in-law, we make that boat look like a New York Harbor fire boat on the 4th of July. We can feel the dory growing lighter, rising in the water.

The river gives us an unusually long treatment in the rapid. A little over 1 minute. Now that years have passed, my mind has blanked out a lot of it.

At last we are riding sedately, heavily down the wave train below the rapid. Behind us, two dories come flying through without trouble. Another passes us, limping. Factor rows hard for the beach below Lower Lava rapid. I’m still trying to comprehend what has happened. Have we been through a major event or is swamping, to the boatmen, just another thing that occurs occasionally?

I get a clue when Factor, almost always cool, almost always controlled, leaps out, hooks our painter to another boat’s mooring line, and runs down the beach to celebrate and laugh with the other boatmen.


Last page tomorrow.
(Previous pages are in an album, My Grand Canyon.)

Ko Hummel, Don Barrett (aka DBs travels), Tim Hanko, Marie-claire Gallet and 5 other people have particularly liked this photo


15 comments - The latest ones
LutzP
LutzP
I have to admit, that I couldn't wait for todays part of the story. And that pic looks really scary.
18 months ago. Edited 18 months ago.
Doug Wall
Doug Wall
I take my hat off to you, that I could not, would not, do!!
18 months ago.
W9JIM - Jim Doss
W9JIM - Jim Doss
What an awesome shot! Really great story, too!
BTW, what year did you do this trip?
18 months ago.
Meadowmom has replied to W9JIM - Jim Doss
1996.
18 months ago.
William Sutherland
William Sutherland
Spectacular capture and story!
18 months ago.
tiabunna
tiabunna
Woo! I can see why you had your eyes closed, that boat is totally swamped. A great photo and great narrative too.
18 months ago.
Pam J
Pam J
What terrifying FUNNNNNNN !!!!

Oh My Laurie... you have my admiration..

The bit about the New York Harbour Fire Boat had me in stitches too !
18 months ago.
Sarah Paris
Sarah Paris
Wow! I don't think I'll do any whitewater rafting soon.
18 months ago.
Marie-claire Gallet
Marie-claire Gallet
WOW, just impressive !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
18 months ago.
HappySnapper
HappySnapper
Some ride Laurie.
18 months ago.
Judith Jannetta
Judith Jannetta
Oooh....
18 months ago.
Tim Hanko
Tim Hanko
Fantastic photo, Laurie. Cool photo, too.
18 months ago.
Ron Hanko
Ron Hanko
Awesome! Love that picture of you with your eyes closed. And who was cool enough to be taking pictures through all this.
18 months ago.
Meadowmom has replied to Ron Hanko
I wondered if someone would ask that... it was taken from the left shore by another passenger whom I had never met before the trip, and who turned out to be my second cousin. (I have a huge extended family.) Truth!
18 months ago. Edited 18 months ago.