Hot Na Na to South Canyon Camp


I wasn’t the only one up before 5 AM, a full hour before coffee would be ready. Day 2 on the river would prove to be even more spectacular than Day 1. We would get very wet very early, try to dry out as we glided through amazing reflections, lunch on salmon — not surprisingly the same as we had the night before, take a breathtaking hike above our camp at South Canyon, and dine on cordon bleu.


By 6:15 AM the camp was stirring and coffee was almost ready. Breakfast was waffles, sausages, and fruit. The maple syrup did not taste like it came from New England, but it was welcome.


The reflections in the water foretold things to come.


The photo below of packing up Camp Hot Na Na is a composite of 14 shots. You can click this image to zoom way in then pan around. Please wait for the resolution to download. You can also use the + and – keys to zoom and the arrow keys to scroll. Or use the scroll wheel to zoom and the left mouse to drag.


No sooner did we hit the water for the morning then we learned the water was soon going to hit us. We pulled over before 9 AM to scout House Rock Rapid. I think the boatmen scout rapids just to make us apprehensive, because they are masters at getting us through safely. I didn’t do the math but I think the average number of times this crew ran the Colorado is over 100.

Scouting House Rock Rapid

Scouting House Rock Rapid

As we were drying out from House Rock Rapid we had some time to reflect on what lay ahead — the “Roaring 20s” — a rapid every mile from Mile 20 to Mile 30. So while we enjoyed the calm water and great reflections, much more splashing lay ahead.


I was in the bow — Nick and Duffy always put me there mindful of my keen interest in photographing the canyon — so I was able to lean out of the dory and shoot the mirror-like reflections ahead from near the surface of the water.

Below is a fanciful image of Duffy, the clouds, and the canyon walls. It is a 180 degree panorama composed of 8 individual photos. The top of the image is downstream of our boat. At the bottom of the image I am looking back toward Duffy from the bow.


Partway through the Roaring 20s the clouds put on an amazing show patterned in a way that echoed the canyon walls below.  It was hard to imagine we had been on the river for less than 24 hours. And we had come within an hour or two of having the trip  cancelled, but that is another story.



Finally we stopped for lunch and were able to dry off a bit before our afternoon immersions.



We survived the rapids, cruised through some beautiful sections of the canyon, and made camp at South Canyon just before Mile 32 and two interesting features — Vasey’s Paradise and Stanton’s Cave. The best looks at these would come tomorrow.




The day was not yet finished. Our dinner would have to wait until many of us climbed up South Canyon for a great view of the river and the canyon walls. In the photo below you can perhaps make out our 4 dories and 3 supply rafts parked on the beach. Directly above them is a green slanting feature on the canyon wall that is the lush Vasey’s Paradise.


We dined on Cordon Bleu, potatoes, and salad and sat around the campfire savoring a chocolate cake (!) until well after dark. “Another outstanding day!”



Here are some more photos from Day 2 of our adventure. I had forgotten how great this first hike of the trip was — we had so many spectacular ones later — until I saw my photos.