Trinity to Crystal Camp

This was a day for photographing dories running rapids and getting very wet running them too. But first we hiked up Trinity Canyon to see some nice rock — actually the metamorphic gneiss — and scramble up a few short but tricky climbs.

Stephen and Roger packed their big cameras, and Roger even brought his tripod on the hike. Charlie dressed in camouflage to blend in with the gneiss.

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Below is a shot of Emma hiking the trail twice. And on the right you can see me scrambling up a ledge, or is it down?

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Back at camp Charlie entertained a visitor, I photographed the beach, and Roger waited in his dory for the exciting day ahead.

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The boatmen planned some great photo ops for us. At Granite Rapid all would beach their boats. The passengers and crew from two of the dories would walk downstream to get in position to photograph the other two dories running the rapids. After lunch the process would be repeated at Hermit Rapid with the running and photographing passengers switching so all would have a turn photographing the action.

I photographed Granite from a great position on shore balancing precariously on a small rock over the water to try to avoid taking photos of the backs of other photographers. Here is Duffy running Granite Rapid.

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Did you notice everything but the bow of Duffy’s boat disappeared briefly in the set above?

The second boat through Granite was rowed by Nick with an expression of confident determination. These two rapids had a 7-8 rating; Lava Falls six days ahead comes in at 8-10 on a scale of 1 to 10.

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At lunch we got a chance to dry off. Since the Martin kids missed the earlier foolishness, Charlie challenged them to a game of face Oreo cookie catch. (See Day 6 for the earlier installment of this nonsense.)

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Those who didn’t get to photograph the dories running Granite got their chance from shore at Hermit Rapid. I was riding with Roger, and ours was the first dory through the rapids. That was fortunate because it gave me a chance to photograph the other three dories running the rapids.

I madly bailed the boat, shook off as much water as I could, and quickly retrieved my camera from the hatch and its Pelican case. Roger did a fantastic job of getting our dory in position for photographing the other dories and keeping us there for the 10 minutes it took the others to get through. The first dory came immediately, but the photographers in the other two had to hike back upstream to their boats before they could come down through the white-water.

Lew was the first through. I managed to get my camera out in time to catch his run with Frank, Renee, and the Martins. You might be able to see Shawn Martin in the stern giving the thumbs up sign after surviving the waves.

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At Hermit I got another chance to photograph Duffy’s skill in navigating rough water. At one point the only thing that was visible above the waves was his head, but he made it through without dumping Nick, Emma, Kaylee, or Cassie.

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Finally Nick took his turn carrying Pat, Jill, and Stephen. Nick likes his passengers to keep the boat steady from side-to-side, “no wiggly wobbly” or something like that, but he doesn’t shy away from ups and downs which are in his control — somewhat.

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I also managed to get Charlie and Stefanie coming through, each with their own style.

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We cruised downstream to our beautiful campsite at Crystal.

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As soon as we arrived we heard a helicopter. We raced up the hill to the edge of the cliff to see it. It was practicing rescuing people off the island below Crystal Rapids.

I managed to find a wonderful sleep site under overhanging branches. It was just large enough to hold me and all my stuff and had built-in clothes hangers. That evening I managed to shampoo my hair. It was wonderful.

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To prepare us for a very challenging chimney climb on Day 12 up Galloway Canyon, over the top, and down Stone Creek Canyon, the crew positioned the toilet up a steep trail. You can see the green and red hand-washing station below and the first of 6 to 8 red reflectors leading to the toilet so one could find it after dark.

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Once you got to the toilet it was in a pretty nice spot. One just had to be very careful not to go over the cliff in the dark later.

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Stephen had a problem with his iPad. It was full and he needed to delete some images from previous trips in order to make room for photos from this one. But he couldn’t figure out how to do it. He consulted me of course, but he must have known that was useless as I am not a Mac person. Plus he needed to find someone in the right age group — the younger the better. KayLee served the purpose well and shortly had the iPad ready to accept more images.

That night I was able to get a shot of the Milky Way over our camp at Crystal. The green in the sky is likely airglow from excited oxygen atoms high in the thermosphere. The weaker red light is from oxygen atoms further up.

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Please enjoy the slide show that follows with more photos from another wonderful day along the Colorado River.

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