Thursday, April 15, 2010

A December to Remember. Part 2: From the Grand to Mexico

Below: Owen Lucas by Jon Miller

We awoke before dawn, packed up camp in the dark, and put on the river in the first few minutes of daylight. It was our final day on the Grand Canyon and the short float to the take-out went smoothly, but the rest of the day was a harsh baptism back into the outside world. As we began the arduous process of de-rigging everything, the shuttle service arrived with our vehicles. As they pulled up we could immediately hear the air escaping from one of the rear tires on my truck. Apparently sharp rocks in the final creek crossing had cut my tire just as they arrived at the take-out. Welcome back to civilization.

Below: Christine Boush by Adam Goshorn

Eventually we managed to pack everything into our two trucks and we made long drive up Diamond Creek Road reaching the pavement an hour later. Not wanting to be driving around without a spare, I stopped by the Hualapai maintenance department to have my tire repaired. Somehow our second vehicle missed our stop and with no cell service in the area they started back towards Flagstaff planning to meet us there. With my tire repaired we were about 30 minutes into the drive to Flagstaff when one of my trailer tires shredded. Not only was the tire destroyed, but since it happened at about 70 miles per hour, it also badly mangled the wheel well. We finally got back on the road after an hour of beating, banging, and bending the wheel well back into place and then putting on the spare trailer tire. Welcome back to civilization, part two.

Below: Adam, Chris, Owen and Jon by Kim Rudge

We met up with the rest of the crew in Flagstaff, unloaded gear, and took our first showers in two weeks. We hit the town for a celebratory dinner and by the second beer of the evening we were laughing off the troubles of the day. The following morning we said our goodbyes and the various factions of our group went our separate ways. Two headed back to Utah for the winter, two heading back to Virginia for family holiday celebrations, and three of us drove all day and into the night to reach Austin Texas the first stop on the next leg of our journey, Mexico.

Below: Adam Goshorn by Christine Boush

Below: Owen Lucas by Adam Goshorn

In the earliest hours of the morning we dropped Chris at his brother’s house in Austin where he would catch a ride back to Birmingham for the holidays. From there we drove directly to the airport to pick up another friend Jon, who flew into Austin to join us for our trip south of the border. Kim, Jon and I drove through the rest of the night to meet two more friends in Brownsville Texas. We crossed the border together and reached our campsite along the Rio Valles just after dark that night after around 35 hours of continuous travel after leaving Flagstaff the previous day. Welcome back to civilization, part three.

Below: Owen Lucas by Jon Miller

Below: Christine Boush by Jon Miller

We knew that water levels would be low over the holidays in the SLP region. The best water is almost always October through November and even in a good rain year it is quite low by late December. However, during the fall, the deeper we got into planning our December trip down the Grand Canyon the more we started kicking around the idea of heading south afterwards for some warm weather creeking. What could be better after two weeks in a chilly Grand Canyon than sunshine, blue water, and travertine?

Below: Jon Miller by Adam Goshorn

Below: Christine Boush by Adam Goshorn

Low water or not, Mexico was just what the doctor ordered! We spent nine days in the region, ate a lot of great food, and ran a lot of the classic runs in the area (albeit lower than I had ever seen them in my five years of visiting the region). Despite the water levels, every day was filled with laughter and good vibes from the whole crew. What we lacked in water levels we made up for with multiple laps, good times, and silly antics. We made endless failed attempts at rock spins on the grippy travertine ledges and developed new freestyle-creek moves like our patented “rock stall”. This impressive maneuver involves a kayaker paddling downstream and who drives up on a midstream travertine formation and comes to a complete stop. The boaters who are best at this move can stall totally motionless, sometimes for days!

Below: Owen Lucas by Adam Goshorn

Below: Crew on the Rio Valles by Jon Miller

Until Next Time...

-adam goshorn

Below: Adam Goshorn by Christine Boush


kayak session

4 comments:

Erin said...

awesome pictures!

Jon said...

Calle de la bicicleta muerte

greg said...

next year, drive another day or two and look me up in Guatemala! --greg at mayanwhitewater.com

Shaun Stille said...

That faulty tire is indeed a bummer. Well, at least it didn't steer you further into hazards. And it didn't stand in the way of a fancy weekend, from the looks of the pictures. It does open an opportunity to get yourself a robust variant for the wonky tire.

G Parts Inc.