Day #11: Wednesday, September 17-Mile 134, Out of the Storm
Today, we ran Blacktail, Forster, Fossil rapids interspersed with smaller riffles created by recent flood events. Bedrock Rapid is unique in that it is created by the schist and granite rock that form the lowest layers of the canyon. These igneous rocks formed over a billion years ago are hard and very slow to wear away. The erosion “flutes” the rock in smooth grooves that create irregular shapes and pockets. Bedrock is a well-known raft flipper with a must make right move, not much of a problem in a kayak, but certainly some anticipation, knowing the consequences of going into the rock. We camped at Talking Heads Camp (mile 134).
Photo of the team kayaking down the river. Photo credit-James Q Martin
Erik, Lonnie, and the rest of the team are facing some unexpected adversity-filled days that are preventing them from getting updates out of the canyon. They are experiencing in their words, “melt-your-phone hot” days of up to 101 degrees Fahrenheit and wind gusts up to 14mph. The wind gusts have forced the team into their tents throughout the afternoon and evening because of the significant amount of sand coming off the ground at their campsite and sand blasting them. Adding to that, the heat is on and it’s turning everything off! The team’s computers have been shutting down in the middle of constructing dispatches because of overheating. Like we said, adversity!
Looking at what the team is facing, we are reminded how Erik has never wanted to live a comfortable life. Adventure literally means venturing out with adding discomfort, whether from below 0-degree days on the mountains or windstorms in the Grand. In Erik’s book, The Adversity Advantage, he speaks about “suffering well.” On his last continental summit, the winds were well over 80 mph. It literally picked up one of his teammates, sending him sliding a hundred yards down the slope. To help define this topic of suffering well, Erik quotes Helen Keller: “Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience or trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired, and success achieved.” Paddle on, team!
We hope you will stay tuned as we retrieve more updates out of the canyon hopefully later today. They’ve run some fun rapids called the Gems so it will be an interesting read!
Concerning the weather, there’s a solid chance of thunder and lightning every day this week through Sunday, hence the gusts of wind because of monsoonal weather patterns. If you would like to follow the weather reports for the trip, here’s our recommended link for where they are now, at the South Rim http://explorethecanyon.com/weather/