Sunday April 16, 2000 - I woke up in the middle of the night for the first time and watched the moon set over a downstream rim. The sky was clear and shone brilliantly with starlight even with the absence of the torch-like moon. When I woke up a second time, clouds had moved in enshrouding the inner canyon and would stay with us until mid-morning before dissolving away. As a treat for the cook and her assistant, Bronco cooked breakfast this morning to let them sleep in and for a half hour, it was just the two of us. With the heavy clouding, people slept in and after they finally gathered in the kitchen area, we ate a breakfast of French toast served with an apple/raisin sauce and bacon.
After we got packed up and shoved off, I almost immediately saw a coyote scrambling for cover in the rocks overhead. They are definitely a hardy animal to be found way down here at the bottom of the canyon. We pushed through Forster, Fossil, Specter and Bedrock Rapids, all of which had large waves. We did hop out and quickly scout Bedrock but ran it without difficulty. The last rapid of the half-day on the river was Duebendorf Rapid and it was a dandy. We pulled into the eddy below at Stone Creek and after a lunch of pita sandwiches, hiked up the creek.
Although it had obviously been scoured clean in a flash flood several years ago, there were many waterfalls and Anasazi ruins left behind. At one point, there is an old Anasazi ruin with a door still sealed, something that may not exist anywhere else. Whether it is a forgotten grainery or perhaps a burial chamber, our guides didn't know and forbade us from walking up to it. Although it is visible with the naked eye, unless you knew what you were looking at and where, it can only be seen by binoculars. It is that well disguised and I was content to see it through the binoculars and use my imagination as to its contents.
At the very end of Stone Creek was a beautiful slot canyon with a thirty feet tall waterfall. Nick, Lee and I hunkered down in the icebox coolness of the shade and just waited out the heat of the day. We were wonderfully successful and by the time I got back to camp, supper was underway. We had turkey, mashed potatoes, yams, dressing and a salad. Eleven days out with no supplies brought in and we are still eating like kings. I'm glad I've been doing a lot of hiking or I surely would have put on several pounds by now.
I must say that the pre-dinner entertainment before supper was particularly good today. Our campsite was fairly open and little in the way of hiding behind for those who decided to bathe tonight which seemed to be a few of the younger women among the crew. For privacy sake, I kept my eyes averted as much as possible but I wouldn't be a red-blooded man if I didn't sneak a few long peeks now and then. In a land full of sharp rocks, prickly cactus and stinging scorpions, their well toned, tanned and now wet bodies certainly fell softly on the eyes.
Just as dinner was finishing up, the moon rose from behind the upstream rim of Stone Creek. The usual crowd sat around a fire and told stories well into the night while passing around some of the German's apparently bottomless supply of brandy. Why would anyone else want to do anything else with their life but repeat this day over and over?