Galloway to Deer Creek and Below Kanab Camp

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Above is an oil painting of the Dubendorff Rapid. I had plenty of time to do it while waiting for breakfast and packing up this morning. Plus my tent had already been taken down the night before so I did not have that “chore” to do.

After breakfast and loading the rafts we were told to start walking. This would be the second walk-around in a row. The boatmen claimed the water was too low and the rocks too sharp to safely run Dubendorff with our weight.  I was considering asking for a refund of part of the trip fee but quickly realized that the boatmen, who had collectively run the Colorado probably 400 times, were better judges of the river than a rookie on his first trip. So I hustled down along the rocks to get near the rapids to photograph the boats while others took the high route to the sandy beach downstream.

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I didn’t notice until I looked at my photos that Jill had snuck into Roger’s boat for a ride through Dubendorff.  Since the dories were running it empty and I had no frightened passengers to photograph, I had decided to shoot at a very slow shutter speed to try to get some interesting blurs. But I did shoot the first few exposures reasonably sharp before switching impulsively to a slow shutter speed, so I got a sharp one of Jill.

Here is a slide show composed entirely of blurry photos. I think motion-blurs can sometimes show action and excitement better than tack-sharp photos.

This spring I led a field trip for some of my students to photograph a kayak race at a local river. We were working on using shutter speed appropriately and creatively. If you are interested in seeing some kayak photos you can click HERE.

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Scrambling over the slippery rocks to rejoin the group below Dubendorff, I found a Tilley hat. I own a Tilley that my wife, Jann, convinced me to buy in Canada years ago. I like it a lot – too much to risk on this trip – so I brought this wet and dirty, but otherwise OK, hat back with me.  After I arrived home Jann noticed a name and phone number in the hat. So the hat got reunited with its owner in Tucson.

The waning moon was high in the sky as we worked our way down the Colorado River.

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We passed through the narrowest part of the Grand Canyon — 76 feet — and also the deepest. We entered Granite Narrows with beautiful reflections.

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It was now only a short distance to Deer Creek and a hike up into the canyon above the spectacular falls that drop over 100 feet.

Emma waits near the falls for the group to assemble to start our hike. A short distance up the trail we could look back at the beach where we parked and will have lunch.

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Standing above the falls, it was a long way down to the river. We couldn’t see the falls from this spot and no one ventured closer to try to get a look. Those rocks looked pretty loose and slippery.

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Below is the canyon and several of the small falls.

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Below is a 7-shot panorama looking a bit downward into the piece of the canyon that contains Deer Creek and also upward at the side walls towering above us.

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We reached the broad upper falls. But the canyon certainly continued beyond.

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Here Charlie contemplates going down into the canyon. If you look carefully at the right photo you can see Charlie working his way down to the top of the lower falls. He eventually turned back choosing wisely not to ride the falls down 100 feet into a very shallow pool. He will have other chances to take chances on this trip.

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Sarge and Frank had been here before so they knew they could wash their hair under the shower of the clear creek water. I would have joined them except I was too busy taking photos.

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On the way down I took a small detour to a ledge to get a shot looking down at the beach and our boats. Back on the trail, Lew accompanied me the rest of the way down entertaining me with stories about a character he knew who was a real stickler about people not creating “volunteer” trails.

Back down by the Colorado River, the light on the falls was now better and there were fewer people in the way of getting a photo. That is, except for Sean who was taking his shower in the main falls. 🙂

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This was a pretty spectacular waterfall.

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A little creature joined us for lunch, which we enjoyed at the falls beach. We then cruised downstream through some beautiful reflections.

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A large desert bighorn made an appearance and eventually posed nicely for us before we moved out of view.

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We stopped at Below Kanab Camp for the night, less than 8 mile below Deer Creek. I chatted with Pat while he fished, likely distracting him from his serious work. I then wandered down the beach to find that Nick caught a 12-15 inch rainbow trout.

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Barbequed chicken wings were a delicious appetizer. Dinner was sausage lasagna, bread, and salad. After dinner we toasted marshmallows for “some-mores”.

I had some too, but the main order of business was getting a photo of the Milky Way. This is a 7-shot panorama where the top for the image is actually behind me. It gives a nice illustration of how the canyon walls can close off large amounts of the sky. We were very fortunate that the Milky Way came out in a great position and early in the evening while we were still awake.

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Tomorrow we will visit the beautiful Havasu Canyon. Tonight we sleep under the stars.

Please enjoy more photos from Day 13 in the slide show below.

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