On the edge of winter: 22 days in the Grand Canyon [PICs]
Matador Ambassador Henry Munter Recently spent 22 days in November rafting and kayaking through the Grand Canyon and brought back this gallery to give us a glimpse of the majestic canyon on the edge of winter.
Floating, Running our raft through Horn Rapid, Charging my gps on a hike to the Tabernacle with the Goal Zero, and Kayaking Lava Falls, the river’s trademark rapid.
On the first day of a 22-day trip, we float under the last bridge to cross the Colorado River for over 300 miles, as it descends into Grand Canyon.
Morning light rarely reaches the river during fall trips in Grand Canyon, but we settle for the light reflecting off the water from the canyon walls.
About the size of a football field, the beach extending back into a layer of Redwall limestone here tells the story of the Colorado that is constantly eroding its way deeper into the canyon.
It’s not winter yet, but it’s getting colder, and the last rays of sunshine for the day are a precious luxury.
Anasazi ruins at Nankoweep overlook the once-fertile floodplains of the Colorado river.
Little Colorado River
During the fall, with the summer rains over, the Little Colorado River runs a turquoise-blue from minerals it carries from eroding limestone.
In exchange for the November cold, the afternoons see the canyon fill with soft, golden light.
Big horn sheep
A Ram escapes uphill after we surprised it at the riverside.
Although the Colorado River is famous for its whitewater, a few days during our trip we dedicated to exploring the canyon on foot.
Eric and Alex take a big hit in Hermit.
Rain and wind
Two rare things in the Grand Canyon, rain and downstream wind, combine for an afternoon of easy rowing.
On a 22 day trip, keeping trash space to a minimum is important work. Here I’m using my Gerber E-Z rescue knife to shred some plastic bottles.
Aaron McCloskey, Donny Chavez, and Alex Johnstone treat us to a concert in Blacktail Canyon. Slot-canyon acoustics are a marvel that are hard to describe.
Day 12, we can track the layers of Geologic time as well as our float, through the rock strata of the canyon walls.
Great blue heron
With a wingspan of around 2 meters, the sound of heron wings flying reverberate in the canyon on quiet mornings.
Deer creek narrows
One of the most dramatic of the slot canyons to enter the river, Deer Creek carves its way into the canyon walls before plummeting to the river.
Canyon walls reflect on my trusty, old-school kayak. I keep this old guy around for surfing the big glassy waves on this kind of river.
Eric climbs through a limestone cave up Havasu Creek.
This summer, heavy monsoons caused flash floods that redefined many familiar places in the canyon, leaving behind the well sorted gravel that will slowly erode away until it happens again.
It's not over until it's over. Although our group managed to keep the rafts upright in all of the named rapids, mile 231 rapid got the best of Tiff. Here the crew is appeasing the river gods by drinking a beer from a river shoe.