One of the few improvements in running the Canyon in recent years is that the weather radio receives a strong signal. So I knew it was going to warm up, so I chose to go with a couple of layers that I could peal off as the day wore on.
I usually wear a hard soled wetsuit boot, but they do tend to be a little sloppy so for this trip I went with a wetsuit sock in a running shoe, along with taping my ankle up which ended up working very well the entire trip.
Ready to go, even on a cloudy, dark start, it is still beautiful.
I got out to re-scout the 2nd rapid, with the water a little lower I wanted to make sure my lines. It is a technical C III. When I was ready to go I kneeled in the middle of the boat and made sure I was very bow light so I could stay on top of the one wave and drop that usually puts a fair amount of water in the boat, I was admiring how little water I shipped when I entered the "new" feature near the bottom on river left. The boat was straight so punching through a wave hole that is only about a foot high is usually no concern. I then proceeded to "piton" a rock inside the hole that was not making any visual signs so that it could avoided. I then proceeded to immediately spin fast to the left and into the hole and to get stuck sideways on the rock and started to take on water. Once I was stable I was able to give a slight push backwards and get off the rock, with a good load of new found refreshment. So much for keeping dry on a cool morning, but all was good.
After the 3rd rapid (the Shadow spot) I really liked the photo conditions so I decided to play with the cell phone movie function and have you look through my eyes on a paddle into that G7, George Agnew Reid and unknown 1920's photographer location.
Did I say how fast the conditions can change here 😄
Just seconds ago looking downstream and overcast and this is on the way.
I love paddling through Canyon Station when the tour train is not in, 1- so I don't get in their shots, and 2 - I love having the area all to myself! By the time I got to Bridal Veil falls there was still enough cloud cover to get those "milky" water falls shots, (with out special filters and depending on photoshop)
The clear skies were catching me quickly.
From the canoe it is such an advantage for really feeling the area.
Natural lighting is just the best!
All finished and time to run the first rapid below Canyon Station just as the Tour Train pulls in.
I was going to try and meet Shaun Parent at his Ice Climbing tent, but I missed him by about 5 minutes, (he left me a note) but we did meet up for breakfast on my way home from the Park. We met on my 1991 trip to the Canyon and we have kept up our contact over the years. If you want to winter camp in the Canyon Shaun is the one who can really help you.
Shaun is on the left.
The first rapid below Canyon was a little boney at the bottom and the same with the rapid just above where the river turns west, but overall just a nice paddle down to wear the Little Agawa enters the main river. The Little Agawa was actually running pretty high and is a great example how local rains can affect the watersheds.
Some years I use this campsite, sometimes I don't, it just depends on where I may want to hike. What is funny is now that I know what to look for to to recognize these old camp sites, that at tis site everyone who has camped here has most likely set up their tent in the middle of the Baker tent location. The evidence was there all the time, along with the old wall remnants. I had known they used this point because of the old wood stove down here on the either side of the creek. I first saw it on our first trip in 85, I got some good pics of it a few years later and this year it was showing some age.
It was just doing this simple bush wacking around looking for the stove that I realized that my foot/ankle would not handle the off trail activities that I had planned, only just about 30 minutes of this and I had enough. I would have to really rethink my hiking plans.
I got back to camp made some coffee. Since the skies were clear I decided on an early supper and to be ready for the good evening light for some photography.
Tonights menu was Blue dragon Pad Tai, (stir fry) Their sauce kit and rice noodles and I added some dehydrated beef with fresh onions, carrots and mini bell peppers, this is a definite take again meal.
By the time I was all cleaned up the light was just getting perfect.
View looking upstream from the campsite.
Great lighting conditions, especially for those of us who don't like fake it
Hiking up the falls on the rocks did not really bother the foot, but again any thing off where the ground was soft was a pain in the.... foot! 😔
Another gorgeous morning in the canyon which brought me time to contemplate what I would do about my foot. I knew I had to make sure it was good for the 2 portages to come downstream.
I had already gathered enough firewood the day before.
Having a morning coffee sitting on the rock that he probably sat on to paint, it is a perfect natural chair what better way to figure out what I was going to do.
So in the end the answer was easy, I needed to make sure my foot was sound for the portage around the falls and instead of doing both the Old Logging dam and Agawa falls in one day, I would camp at the smaller falls below the Old Logging dam and break things up to make it easier.
And when the conditions are like this, it just makes you happy to be out there.
And this takes us to part III, thanks for following.