Friday Sept 4th- Today, the guides promised a day for hiking, and a lot of river miles. This would be our last full day on the river, and we would try to squeeze all we could from it.
After having gotten thoroughly chilled yesterday, Fred decided to ride in the raft with me today instead of taking the ducky. Due to the way the fishing guides and the interests of the guests had worked out, Fred and/or I had ridden with Koni as our our raft guide each day. It had been fun to spend the time really getting to know him. As I have said before, rafting guides tend to be a unique and interesting group. : )
We would spend all of today traveling through ‘Impassable Canyon ‘, which lived up to its reputation for being the most beautiful stretch on the Middle Fork.
Mile 77.8 – We stopped at Waterfall Creek for our first hike.
We reached the top of the falls after a pretty good scramble over a rock field to get there. You can see the wooden bridge that spans the falls……
Where we posed for a picture.
Mile 79.6 - We stopped for lunch at Elk Bar Camp.
It is hard to say enough nice things about the guides who pull up at a beach and immediately begin to get out the kitchen stuff and start fixing lunch. (Shown here – Kirk and Koni) It is a wonder and a luxury to not have to think about food preparation for a week!
After lunch, we rafted on a ways and stopped at Veil Falls – mile 80.7. The destination for this hike, I was assured, would be worth the effort. I did not get any pictures on the way up…..I was too busy scrambling up the rocky hillside to think about pictures.
After what seemed like a straight up climb to the very middle of the canyon bluffs, we reached this bowl shaped patch of green.
Veil Falls was finely cascading over the rim above our heads and creating an oasis below.
Down in this depression seemed to be where the best view of the falls was to be seen. Fred joined the rest in scampering down to the oasis, while Inger and I decided to enjoy the view from where we were.
At the bottom, laying down and looking up…….
Water droplets caught in the sun…. a picture could never really capture it!
On the way down, Koni offered his hand as I made my way over the rocks. We were able to return by a somewhat easier route – one that we had not used going up due to another group having occupied that site for lunch.
As we pulled away from Veil Falls, we spotted these long horned sheep.
You have to look close, as they almost blend in with the rocks!
9 more miles on the river….And several more rapids.
Dave, who had been in the duckies some of every day, was getting pretty skilled. Though at Upper Cliffside Rapids, where the river sweeps along a sheer cliff, Dave got caught by the rapid and his ducky flipped over. Dave managed to keep the kayak between him and the cliff and not get raked along the cliff side. At the rapid’s end, Dave managed to get out of the water and back into his kayak. This flip, and ‘Gator’ who had taken a spill the day before, were the only two incidences on the water. Nothing serious, and everyone kept smiling.
We got into Cliffside Camp around 5:30 pm. A very full day! The temperature had dropped over the afternoon and the sky had looked threatening. Just as we pulled up to our camp, it began to rain.
Mostly a sprinkle, but cold, with a real threat of a possible downpour. We quickly put up our tent and tossed our gear in to keep it dry, and scrambled inside.
Dry…and warming up in our sleeping bags……we felt a whole lot better. The weather, being as unpredictable as it is, cleared up! We emerged to explore the campsite and enjoy a bit of down time.
This campsite had this amazing tree, with massive roots that stretched clear out to the river bank!
Our last evening on the river seemed suited to a bit of quiet reflection…….