Monday, June 29, 2009

Bridge Canyon

MILE 237

We had lunch at Travertine Falls (just a mile downstream from Travertine Canyon), where we crowded into what little shade we could find. It's definitely getting hot at this end of the canyon.

Devon and I are riding Sandra today. This section of the Lower Granite Gorge is steep and narrow and straight and it was fun to be hanging out over the front of Greg's boat, which is leading the flotilla this afternoon as we run the nice set of rapids in the 230s (river miles, not temperatures). There was a great blue heron that kept one step ahead of us through this whole section.

For much of the last 50 years, Gneiss Canyon Rapid has been under the still waters of lake Mead, but with the lake falling, it has now re-emerged. Unfortunately, the other rapids that Lake Mead flooded are buried in silt and sand and we will see no signs of them. Although the river is flowing in this last section, it is not flowing fast and rowing would be slow and painful, so once we got past Gneiss, we tied all the rafts together around Big Mona (the motor rig) and traveled under outboard power.

We're starting to see mudlines along the sides of the canyon - the bathtub ring from half a century of reservoir. Bridge Canyon, level with the top of Hoover Dam and therefore where Lake Mead runs out is, not coincidentally, where they planned the next in the originally proposed series of dams.

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