After the Inner Gorge delights, the river’s difficulty drops off again leaving days of cruising and the occasional surf wave, or entertaining move through a rapid. Yet its all about the environs of the Canyon which is part of the draw. There are a number of attractions to consider, side hikes up various creeks to view geological phenomena, or native artefacts or just for the pleasure of being in such a unique place. We did an excellent day hike you Thunder Creek, over a dry bench and down another creek, hot, dry and world class hiking.
Lava is the single biggest high light of many days of action. The group were nervous, especially as its certainly Class IV, you need to go for a line in amongst it, yet rolling in the wash out is pretty much the worst you’ll face. Still the guys lined up for the action, and action they got. Great fun watching from above and seeing all enjoying themselves. We camped just below Lava, and a few of us went back in the morning for a few more runs. Myself, well I needed to master a clean line, after 5 runs and 5 rolls, the day before. After no breakfast just after dawn, 3 runs and all clean, the trick was to surf the face of a diagonal to cut the top of an exit lateral, the day before I was always a metre too right, and got involved with a brace off, I never seamed to win. Still its great to be able to challenge yourself a little harder to nail the beast.
My mother fired it up with the paddle raft crew, that also included my in laws, all loved Lava Falls.
After Lava, the days mellow out, there is the occasional river attraction, yet its a cruise into extra holiday mode. We had a few next delights at camp with both a rattle snake and a skunk visiting in the moon light.
Most people take out at Diamond Creek, yet we pushed on for an extra days good paddling. These rapids had a little extra push as the Colorado reminds us its battle to the dammed lake below is still a little ways to go. On the morning of the last day, a jet boat picked us up at the top of the lake, and we rocketed to South Cover, with a van ride to our accommodations and the real flip side of a near unearthly experience that is Las Vegas. Below we’re in a stretched Limo heading out to dinner in the urban jungle, near removed from the pristine experience of the Grand.
A truly World Class trip, and a must do for each and every paddler, at least once in their paddling career.