Saturday, November 5, 2011

2011 River Trip Day 1 - 9/24 Lee's Ferry to 18 mile wash

2011 River Trip Day 1 - 9/24 Lee's Ferry to 18 Mile Wash camp
2011 River trip - we will be discussing an Arizona Raft Adventures (AZRA) Hikers Special Grand Canyon river trip with a focus on Geology along with information on the AzRa trip, their guides/stories and more.  
After several years of Canyoneers motorized  trips I am back to AzRa on a raft and dory hybrid oar / paddle trip.

2011 River Trip dramatis personae
2011 Trip Summary has Links to all Days 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16

Lunch was chicken caesar salad w/avocados whole grain bread and choc chip cookies with peanut butter on them
Dinner was salmon with couscous, red/green pepper and onions desert cheesecake factory

Geology is the science that deals with the history of the earth (including volcanism, weather, ocean/lake locations/levels, and the record of life on earth) as seen in rocks.  The Grand Canyon is one of the best places to see, hike and experience Geology.  We will discuss aspects of Geology in these journals.
For more information on Geology and the Grand Canyon I provide a number of links on my web site but also share this NPS link – it is a great basic resource for those interested in more information on Grand Canyon Geology.  And, I encourage everyone to have a copy of Wayne Ranney's Carving Grand Canyon and Ancient Landscapes – I reference them in various journals.

These journals are posted to my website when completed – your feedback and corrections are desired and will be incorporated.
The images for our 2011 Grand Canyon trip are all Geotagged and available for your use at - you have access to all resolutions of all photos I took.  Selected photos from a 2010, 2009 and a 2008 Sept River Trip are already on Flickr.  The 2011 video materials are not yet loaded – I am still processing the data for over 100 videos.
In the below - click on an image to see a larger version.

Lee's Ferry - for more information see this link

Lee's Ferry is above the official start of the Grand Canyon - rising above it are 
Mile 0 layers above GC strata - from river up, Moenkopi, Shinarump Conglomerate and other Chinle Formation members, Kayenta, capped by a thick exposure of Navajo Sandstone. Downstream from Lees Ferry, the Kaibab Limestone emerges from the river marking the start of Grand Canyon.  For the Grand Canyon park area all the layers above Kaibab were eroded away and we see only rocks of Kaibab age and older.  

As we pull out from Lee's Ferry we see people fishing - this is one of the last spots where visitors can access the river without a long hike (until we exit Grand Canyon park in 16 days).

Training rock is used by park service and river guides for rescue training (in below we have just passed it and are looking back upriver towards Lee's Ferry and its rocks all newer than the grand canyon rocks ahead)

As we proceed down the river we quickly get to the start of the Grand Canyon where the Kaibab Limestone rises out of the river at the first point on river left

The Grand Canyon cuts thru the various rock layers but much of what we see rapidly appearing as we proceed south is the result of the river cutting thru rocks raised by a general uplift caused by the Kaibab Monocline.

Soon (around mile 1.7) the Toroweap Formation appears (this forms the layer under the Kaibab) - below a 2010 photo of river left

Here is the Coconino as seen at Mile 3.9 - it will be visible for most of the rest of our journey.

The Coconino has extensive cross bedding from its sand dune origins.

12:32 looking ahead we see the Navajo Bridge (where we stopped and walked across the bridge on our way to Lee's Ferry).

12:42 we pass under the Navajo Bridge and I use the Canon SX30 to show off its super-zoom capability by zooming in to two people on top of the bridge.  This will come in handy for a number of trip photos.

Nearing Mile 5 we see Coconino above water level topped by Toroweap and Kaibab - below looking back up river at Navajo Bridge on left we see the top cliff is Kaibab Limestone, the slope under it is Toroweap Formation, and the bottom cliff is Coconino Sandstone.  
These 1st three layers will soon be followed by the rest of our mnemonic for the main Grand Canyon rock strata: Know the Canyon's History, Study Rocks Made By Time.
So far we Know (Kaibab) The (Toroweap) Canyon (Coconino) . . .

12:47 we see a Blue Heron along the shore - this is one of many we will see on this trip

After mile 5 we see the Hermit Shale appear on river left (red at bottom of picture) – this is a slope forming deposit and is the History in our mnemonic.

14:01 we see Ten Mile rock - this is a large block of Coconino Sandstone that fell from the cliffs above

Mile 11.4 the Supai Esplanade (top layer of Supai Formation) appears

Here is Brown Inscription at Mile 12 in the Supai (from a 2008 AzRa trip)

After Mile 12.5 the Supai Gorge becomes well defined – we will see a number of different gorges at river level during our trip

below is a detail of the Sheer Wall rapid we saw ahead in the Supai gorge

14:35 reflections of the coloured rock layer and the sky in the river is a highlight of every river trip I have been on

14:35 nice detail in the Supai layers to the side of the above shot

14:43 here is a shot of a pothole formed in the Supai - rocks caught in eddies swirl around and drill these holes into various layers (notably on this trip the Supai and Tapeats)

15:08 our water level was around 15k which is high for this time of the year but we see the high water mark bathtub ring left from this summer's flows of 25k

15:13 I was on Jody's boat on day 1 - here he is rowing

multiple video clips were taken from 14:50 through 15:40 that will be on youtube

16:00 our first camp is 18 Mile Wash

 groover path is marked with a yellow lid 

groover always has a fine view as we see below

16:26 view upriver from our camp is a fine one

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