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Posts Tagged ‘Grand Canyon Whitewater’

My blog hit 100,000 views yesterday- thanks to all who have visited! Whether you came for my journals, pictures of hiking, animals or stumbled on it randomly- I’m glad to be able to share the wonderful experiences I have with you.

This year for the Arizona River Runners/Grand Canyon Whitewater end-of-the-season party we got to go for two nights at the Bar 10 Ranch on the Arizona Strip. This is where our passengers helicopter out  to on our six and seven day trips from Whitmore helipad, mile 187. We also do a shorter 3-day trip where they stay at the ranch for one night and one night on the river. The ranch is part of the Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument.

Flying from the South Rim

Flying from the South Rim

Brian and I met the others at the Grand Canyon Airport for a half-hour flight to the ranch. This was my first time flying over the Canyon and it was so incredible to see familiar landmarks from a totally different perspective! I particularly liked the views of  the temples in the Inner Gorge and the lava flows farther downstream.

Fantastic Grand Canyon Temples and Buttes

Fantastic Grand Canyon Temples and Buttes

Vishnu Temple all the way to the right

Vishnu Temple all the way to the right

Lava Flows from above

Lava Flows from above

We landed in what seemed like the middle of nowhere- it’s 80 miles of dirt road to get here from the nearest town of St. George, Utah. The Arizona Strip is the part of Northern Arizona that is geographically cut off from the rest of the state by a certain big hole in the ground- the Grand Canyon. Brian and I put our things in one of the covered wagons that are available. Kinda goofy, but when do I ever get to sleep in a wagon?

Whitmore International Airport

Whitmore International Airport

Whitmore International Airport

Whitmore International Airport

Covered Wagon

Covered Wagon

Bar 10 ranch house and covered wagons

Bar 10 ranch house and covered wagons

We had lunch and then most of the group went skeet shooting. I took the nature trail around the ranch. The ranch is in Whitmore Canyon about 10 miles from the north rim of the Grand Canyon. Fall colors and cooler temps made for a perfect afternoon.

Marine Fossils

Marine Fossils

Grand Canyon Rattlesnake in the Nature Center

Grand Canyon Rattlesnake in the Nature Center

I was excited to go horseback riding, I just love being able to look around from up high on the trail. We rode over to the old ranch house and heard stories from Gavin, who grew up at the ranch, and Garth, who has lived on the Arizona Strip for many years.

Bar 10 Horseback ride

Bar 10 Horseback ride

Horseback riding in Whitmore Canyon

Horseback riding in Whitmore Canyon

Garth Bundy tells stories of long ago on the Arizona Strip

Garth Bundy tells stories of long ago on the Arizona Strip

Meow!

Meow!

The day was filled with activities- next was a short ATV ride to a place called Pa’s Pocket, where Garth told stories about working out here. I’d never ridden an ATV and it was noisy, dusty, and bounced me all over the place. Still, I appreciated the ability to travel through this vast landscape.

Arizona River Runners and Grand Canyon Whitewater

Arizona River Runners and Grand Canyon Whitewater

Cabin at Pa's Pocket

Cabin at Pa’s Pocket

Dam in the sandstone- one of the "Pockets"

Dam in the sandstone- one of the “Pockets”

Sunset from Pa's Pocket

Sunset from Pa’s Pocket

We drove back to the ranch in the fading light and were treated to an incredible meal. Afterwards, we sat around the campfire where a couple of guitars were passed around, punctuated by the occasional joke or story. What a fantastic day!

Brian and I slept soundly in the covered wagon and the next day got ready for another ride, this time out to the Whitmore Overlook, where we’d get to see the Colorado River. This time we opted to ride in a side-by-side, a larger vehicle that gave a much smoother ride. It was 11 miles out to the overlook through ledgy sandstone and lava fields.

Lava Flow

Lava Flow

Whitmore Overlook

Whitmore Overlook

Echo Canyon

Echo Canyon

It was so much fun to see the river so close, only 900 feet below the overlook. We had views of the lava flowing into the canyon and could see the tiny helipad below. I’m going to have to plan a trip out to this area to explore more on foot. This trip was for spending time with Brian and my coworkers on vacation.

We returned to the ranch for lunch and everyone went back out for another drive to an overlook of Parashant Canyon. Brian and I had had enough of being in a vehicle and we stayed back at the ranch and napped under a giant golden cottonwood.

Fall colors on the Bar 10- Photo by Anilee Bundy http://anileebundy.blogspot.com/

Fall colors on the Bar 10- Photo by Anilee Bundy

After watching the sunset, the others came back and we had dinner, then another round of stories, guitars and singing. I am lucky to work with such fun and talented people and to work for a company that treats its employees well.

Smoky sunset

Smoky sunset

We flew back to the south rim and wished each other a good winter- many of my friends are going to exotic locations and traveling. I, on the other hand, am looking forward to being at home with Brian and my dog Bailey.

Here’s a picture of a beautiful Great Horned Owl from Wildlife Rehabilitation Northwest Tucson. Click below to donate to feed and house these amazing birds!

Donate Button with Credit CardsGreat Horned Owl

Great Horned Owl

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Clear Creek Waterfall

Last May, I volunteered on an electrofishing survey with Arizona Game and Fish on the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon. I hiked in on the Bright Angel Trail and was picked up at Pipe Creek and my trip ended 12 days later at Diamond Creek. The Grand Canyon has always held a special place in my heart as a hiker and backpacker, but seeing it from the river was a wildly intense experience for me.  I was devastated when I left the river last May, not knowing when I would be able to return. I enjoy the Grand Canyon on foot but I had tasted the river life and wanted more.

I was persistent in trying to get a job as a swamper, or boatman’s assistant, for this season. In January I was hired by Arizona River Runners and its sister company, Grand Canyon Whitewater and have six trips scheduled this summer. After months of wondering and anticipation, on May 12th the day finally came for the launch of my first working river trip!  It was such an incredible experience, the crew and guests were fantastic. I truly enjoy teaching people about the desert and the Grand Canyon. I was fortunate to learn from such an experienced and patient crew about the minutiae that goes into making such an intricate trip work.

It was also my first time seeing the entire length of the river, and I can’t wait to go back for more! In fact, I’m packing right now to head out again soon. Instead of the usual blog post, I have tried to describe my trip through the captions on the pictures and videos on my Picasa account. Click the link below to go to the album.

Grand Canyon Whitewater River trip 5-12 to 5-25

In Wildlife Rehabilitation Fundraiser news, I will be taking a hiatus from volunteering at the rehab for a couple of months because of my new job on the river. I’ll definitely miss seeing faces like this baby Harris Hawk.

Baby Harris Hawk

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