This morning I had trouble getting out of bed. I was slightly sick to my stomach. The thought of breakfast sounded awful. But of course I got up anyway. I found breakfast and let the others make it. I figured I ought to eat, but couldn't eat the eggs. So I had an English muffin and jam. And went back to pack up my stuff ... very slowwlyy.
Joel, Ben and I left camp a couple of minutes before the others. I had most of the water jugs, so we could fill them up at Echo Park. It wasn't very far down and I rowed the whole way, just because I felt like it. I like rowing. As I rowed down we came into sight of Steamboat Rock. Ben wanted to know why it was called Steamboat Rock. Well ... because, it looks just like a huge Steamboat. It towers over you. All along the cliffs at the rock were swallows. They flittered over the water and flew back to their houses in the cliffs. Their houses are made of mud, with tiny little openings that they fly into (pic).
Just around the corner from Steamboat Rock is Echo Park; so called because if you shout there, it echoes beautifully. We pulled in right next to the river ranger. He asked us if it was just us and the kayaker. I said no the others will be down in a bit, but we were ahead of them. He then gave us the "talk" about staying together for safety and enjoyment of the rest of the people on the river. Then he talked about where we were staying tonight on the river -- Island Park. He said it was mosquito heaven.
After filling up the water jugs, the rest of the group made it down. Everyone partook of the bathrooms and the fresh water. Then we gabbed with the ranger and another group that had pulled in for a while. But it was getting hot in the sun. So off we went down the river.
Ben decided that he wanted to try rowing. So I gave the oars to him (pic). He was having a little trouble coordinating them, but he was doing great for his first try. I told him a little about reading water and how to stay out of the eddies. After a while he got fed up with his parents trying to tell him where to go, and Joel took over (pic).
I actually wanted to row, but Joel figured I didn't since I was still a little sick. So he kept rowing, but complained about how hard it was since he was rowing against the wind. WHAT? You didn't really want to be at the oars? OK give them back. I love to row, even here through Whirlpool Canyon with only small little ripples. I amused myself by trying to give Ben a good ride through the little ripples.
It wasn't long before we got to Jone's Hole. It was our lunch stop and a good hike. Beth was melting down as she does sometimes. She insisted that she be allowed back into my boat. I told her we weren't getting back in the boats. We were hiking. There is a fun waterfall 2 miles up the creek (pic) and I thought both kids would have fun playing in it. I told her we would hike up together slowly and play in the creek as we went. I wanted to get to the waterfall, but told Beth if we didn't make it that was OK. Ben wanted to stay at the boats and didn't want to hike. But no one else was staying there, so I told Ben he couldn't stay there by himself. He elected to hike slowly with me and Beth. I guess my kids just weren't in a playful mood today.
But it turned out quite nice anyway. We took frequent breaks in the creek (pic) when we got hot. And eventually we did make it to the waterfall. The strangest spot on the hike is a field of grass. It has a large rock not far from the edge (pic). There is a path that goes right up to the rock and around it. I figured there must be something special about the rock, but couldn't find any reason for the path. Mysterious.
At the waterfall Ben had a blast and said he was glad he hiked up. Small waterfalls are always fun to play in. The boys went to the top and made butt dams in the creek (pic). Then we took turns going under where the waterfall used to be and we waited. When the butt dams were full, all the boys stood up and the person below got plastered with water. A great way to cool off on such a hot day.
I wanted to go see the pictographs, so I went up the other branch of the creek a short way. There are so many pictographs and in pretty good condition (pic) (pic). Beth and I wandered along the cliffs looking at them all, then we took off back down the creek to the boats. We were the last ones to arrive at the boats since we took just as long playing in the creek as we did on the way up.
We had quite a ways to go to camp still -- 6 miles. The river was really moving quickly and it probably didn't take more than two hours to cover the miles. The big excitement in our boat was when we went by Big Island campsite. About 40 deer flies came out to dive bomb us. We spent a good 10 minutes trying to kill them all. We were all thinking about how good it was that we didn't have THAT campsite tonight.
As usual as soon as we got to camp, we picked out our campsite and put up the tent. There are not a lot of good campsites here. Lots of rocky ground by the river (and of course the exciting chance of the river rising) and lots of hot open ground above. Not much at all under the shade of the trees. Joel and I decided to take the river area, right near the kitchen.
Then it was time to cook dinner. It was chicken teriyaki and vegetable stir-fry. The evening was relaxing once dinner was made. We sat around drinking wine. George let us try her boxed sangria, it was wonderful. I hope to find it at home (Ed note: no luck yet either). We were having a great time until dusk hit. This must have been the dinner bell for the mosquitoes. Because when they came out, they came out in force. I wanted to stay up late and talk into the night, but I couldn't take getting bit to death, so Joel and I ran to the tent. We did the best job we could of brushing off the mosquitoes then jumping into the tent. After we were safe we listened to them buzz, just outside the tent. I had to pee, but I wasn't going back into the mosquito swarm. I waited. A few brave souls who must have dipped their bodies into 100% deet were still talking by the kitchen. After a while they were commenting that the mosquitoes had mostly vanished. I guess the mosquitoes were full. I crawled back out of the tent to relieve myself. They had indeed mostly vanished, but I still managed to get a few bites before retreating to the tent again.
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Text and images © Copyright 2003 Daphne Gould. If there are any problems or questions email Daphne Gould.