Black Canyon Kayak Trip, Day Two – “How to Cure an Internet Addiction”

I had a few concerns about my first overnight rafting trip.  As a left-brained analytical, will I be able to “do it right?”  Can I get my gear and myself down the river to arrive at the same time without embarrassing myself by turning over and sending the dry bags bobbing downriver without me?   Or worse, the kayak?  Did I remember to bring not only my Snowpeak mini-stove, but do I have the right blend of fuel canister to go with it?   But not the least of my concerns is “How will I go three whole days without the internet???”  My cold turkey sweats start to subside by the second day…

View from my tent window

View from my tent window

I find Kathy and John on the river photographing the early morning light.

I find Kathy and John on the river photographing the early morning light.

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I don’t wake up until the first rays of sun are reflecting back off the rock walls.  I jump out of my sleeping bag, hoping to not be the last one up….too late.   John and Kathy have already moved their chairs down to the “beach” to watch the canyon walls change color in the early morning light.  I grab my camera and my new camp chair and join them.  John has the great idea to move the camp “kitchen” down to the shoreline so we can eat breakfast while watching the river roll by.  BJ joins us, and before long, the smell of bacon is wafting through the air.  Can there be a more idyllic way to start the day?

Breakfast by the Colorado River

Breakfast by the Colorado River

I can smell it all over again!

I can smell it all over again!

The ducks smell it too!

The ducks smell it too!

We decide we will just sit there staring upriver until the first day trippers show up.  This kayak trip is a common day trip, and Arizona Hot Springs is one of the most popular stops along the eleven mile river trail.  Finally it is getting close to noon, and so far our only visitors have been ducks, traveling two by two.  We watch a courting dance, some territorial chases, and plenty of antics to vie for a hand out.  It is obvious they have had a great deal of success with their strategy, as one even pecks at the bottom of my shoe as if to say “Don’t be so stingy with those cashews, lady!”

BJ has got this relaxation thing down!

BJ has got this relaxation thing down!

"Aww, come on, lady, pay no attention to those who say 'Please don't feed the wildlife!"

“Aww, come on, lady, pay no attention to those who say ‘Please don’t feed the wildlife!”

John and BJ have planned this as a two night trip, not just to enjoy time on the river, but to allow time to hike, as BJ knows where there are some petroglyphs.   This involves hiking back up through the hot springs, and then another 1.5 miles through a canyon.  We pack accordingly, as we plan to stop on our way back through the hot springs for a soak.

BJ scouts for prospective camp sites on the way up the canyon.

BJ scouts for prospective camp sites on the way up the canyon.

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Once through the hot springs, we stop for a shoe change...

Once through the hot springs, we stop for a shoe change…

After the half mile trek through the warm water, we stop for a shoe change, then continue on up the gradual climb through the canyon.  The rock formations and coloration are just beautiful!   I am quite surprised, as I anticipated a walk through desert scrub brush to reach the petroglyphs, but instead, they are eclipsed by the beauty of the canyon!   John is not impressed with the petroglyphs, and says we should refer to them instead as “rock art.”  😉DSCN8143 DSCN8146 DSCN8154 DSCN8156

As we turn to head back down the canyon, we see rolling thunderheads in the distance.  Fortunately, it is a quick hike back downhill, as the clouds are moving almost as quickly.  Once we reach the hot springs, there is thunder overhead, and it is starting to rain.  The rest of the group decides to forgo the soak, which is torture for me!   I can’t imagine anything more heavenly than soaking in these springs after a hike with the rain cooling my head!   There are others in the pools as well, and they show no signs of leaving.  I tell John, “I think this is just a quick moving thunderstorm.  I will be okay to get back down the ladder on my own, so I am going to stay and soak for a while.”  He responds, “Okay.  Your choice.  But remember….it IS a slot canyon…”  I think back to the mile and a half of canyon we just hiked through, lined by stone worn smooth by the power of rushing water.   I remember the warnings I have read about slot canyons….it’s not only what is happening here, but what is happening upstream as well.  I figure discretion being the better part of valor and all, I will forgo it, and let go of the fact that I just hiked three miles wearing a swimsuit beneath my hiking clothes for no reason.  😉

BJ and John spot sheep on the hillside!

BJ and John spot sheep on the hillside!

A closer look...

A closer look…

The layers of color looking back toward the river are so beautiful.

The layers of color looking back toward the river are so beautiful.

We make it back to camp just as the rain starts to pepper down. The raindrops on the rain fly of my tent lull me into a wonderful afternoon nap, and all too soon I hear people stirring outside, giving me no excuse to sleep away the afternoon.  The sun is out, and daylight is wasting.  A late lunch morphs into dinner prep.   The Schroeders enjoy Beef and Mushroom Stew over Rice, Kathy has Thai Curry Soup, while I have another dreadful meal from National Geographic’s “Live Prepared” line of reconstituted meals obviously geared toward the preppers.   Their packaging reads, “Living prepared is about everyday peace of mind.  LIVE PREPARED provides the essential food and gear needed to help you plan, prepare, and keep your family safe in the event of the unexpected.”   If this is what is on the menu for the end of time, I am gonna be really skinny!

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BJ scouts ahead, looking for the petroglyphs

BJ scouts ahead, looking for the petroglyphs

Okay, maybe "rock art" is more appropriate.

Okay, maybe “rock art” is more appropriate.

Dark thunderclouds come rolling in out of nowhere!

Dark thunderclouds come rolling in out of nowhere!

The moon is in its waxing phase, just two days shy of being full, and there is not a cloud in the sky.  We decide to take our chairs down to the river’s edge again and watch the moon shadows glimmer on the black water and canyon walls.  The night is cool, but we add layers of warmth and stay out “moon bathing” until 9:00pm.  I fall asleep with the moon shining through the unzipped slits in the windows of my tent and wonder how two nights could have ever seemed like too much internet withdrawal?

To be continued….

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17 thoughts on “Black Canyon Kayak Trip, Day Two – “How to Cure an Internet Addiction”

  1. Good decision with the thunderclouds approaching. Great hike and loved the rock art. I am enjoying everything about this trips especially the memories of bacon cooking and coffee boiling first thing in the morning. Enjoy your next day.

  2. Suzanne – I just noticed your sentence at the bottom asking readers not to forward links to your blog. I confess to having done this a couple of times when you were showing pictures of areas where I had kayaking friends visiting, and thought they might enjoy seeing your photos. Mea culpable. :-(

    • Judie — I didn’t even know that was there! It must have been something that was put there to prevent spam…I am sure you know the type “You have great website! Follow the link to this software for more traffic!” Please do continue to send/post any links, recipes, photos, etc. that you think would interest me, as I always enjoy what you offer here, FB, blog, etc!

  3. Darn it all for not being able to soak again, one of my favorite pastimes. But smart not to linger if there’s any chance of rain. Next trip leave the MRIs behind.

  4. What is it about bacon frying in the open air, especially on a fine day. Mouthwatering. Those little camping tables are worth their weight, so very handy. I always find that those tables and a folding chair more than pay their way on a camping trip. These posts remind me of a friend who rafted the Colarado and the videos of her going through Lava Falls was awesome.

  5. Ha, ha, loved the quote off of the Live Prepared meals. Once did a 3 night canoe trip into the Boundary Waters. By the time you would get the meals rehydrated and cooked, you weren’t hungry anymore. Your trip looks a lot more relaxing than our “experience” was.

  6. This trip looks heavenly. I do understand what you mean about rainclouds in a slot canyon. We were caught in a flash flood several years ago in Havasupi.

  7. What an adventure. Love the beautiful pictures. I would also have had a hard time bypassing the hot springs in the rain. One of my favorite activities, but the slot canyon definitely adds a danger element. Thanks for sharing after your internet hiatus.

  8. Waking up next to the water and watching the sun change the view for hours – don’t know if I could have moved my tail out of the chair :-) I guess it would have been challenging to have a relaxing soak while wondering if torrents of water were descending on you! Looking forward to Chapter 3 :-))))

  9. I am so enjoying this revisit. We saw the petroglyphs on our hike back up the canyon. Let me tell you that that is one challenging hike going UP a few of those pour overs. We came to one that almost did us in but finally figured out how to get around. Definitely one should come DOWN and through the hot springs, then go up and out the canyon we came down!! We had a whole family of big horns that we followed all the way down to the river. Your beach camping sounds like so much fun!! How neat to sit by the river all alone and watch the moon shine on the water. What a cool experience:) So glad you didn’t hang in the slot with a storm around…smart girl!!

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