Day 4: Lava Chuar to Rattlesnake Camp is only 9 or 10 miles on the river so it wasn’t the paddling that was daunting. We got to camp early so we could take part in the yearly tradition of “Mike Hikes”. He pointed up to a peak that looked to be beyond not just the first wall behind camp but over another and then one more. That was a daunting visual. I was thinking to myself, really?
Day 3: We started to gel as a group. I have a feeling our late night party in Yonton’s hotel room the night before putting on the river may have set the tone. The Truth serum brought out the camaraderie in all of us. It takes a little luck, social flexibility, and empathy for those in your group to come together as easily as ours did. It seemed the 3rd day was when everyone felt as though they could deal. Packing the boats was coming a little more easily. The cold was cold, for lack of a better word, but manageable. There were still nerves in some of the group about the whitewater but those were more known fears than the big questions that people had before the beginning of the trip. By day 3 most of us had used the groover so that was behind us.
This trip just about didn’t happen for several of us this year. Snow storms were moving across the country in many different regions which delayed, canceled, and forced lots of scrambling to make it to the Put In in time for check in with the Park Rangers. Chuck had to buy a first class ticket to make the date. Tom luckily ran into a counter agent who was from Flagstaff and knew all about the desire to make it to the river. She managed to get him to the Flag airport just in time to meet the shuttle headed directly to the put in. Woody had electrical problems on the road which left him a day later than he wanted to be but it all worked out we arrived at the Motel 6 in Flag got ourselves organized and loaded the rig headed for Lee’s Ferry.