Today continues the weekly series, F*ing Fridays, which will coincidentally occur on Friday. I mentioned some of my favorite F words back on Day 5, in Year One, including: Fearless, Fabulous, Fine, Fun, Faith, Freedom, Forgiveness, to name a Few.
Today’s F*ing Friday is dedicated to the words:
As in, AMPA.
Advanced Morning Poop Anxiety (AMPA).
This condition typically strikes between the hours of 4:30AM and 7AM. It directly impacts campers lining the sandy shores of the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon, before, during and after breakfast.
If you think you have AMPA, you probably do.
It’s mostly mental.
The first sign of AMPA is rolling over in your sleeping bag at the first light of dawn, in a cold sweat, realizing you have less than two hours to use the GROOVER (a.k.a. the toilet, the pooper, the defecation station).
- racing heartbeat at the thought of not being able to use the GROOVER
- overconsumption of coffee before 5AM
- standing in line, hoping your colon kicks in before it’s “your turn”
- praying to the river gods that you do indeed get your “groove on” during “your turn”
- changing the words of the theme song MacGruber to Mac-GROOVER
If AMPA persists, you have three options:
1) Use the Day Tripper, otherwise known as an ammo can for your “day” use. If using the Day Tripper is your only option you must ask everyone in your boat to paddle over to the side of the river so you can climb behind a secluded spot and do “your biz” while your fellow boaters wait.
2) If you are on hike and away from your boat, you will use a little baggie and then be required to return your stash to the boat with the announcement, “There is a load in the chamber” — without laughing. Or crying.
3) Wait 12 more hours until the next Groover is set up at camp for the night.
(The good news is the GROOVER usually has the best view from camp. I’m told there is a coffee (funny!) table book dedicated to photos from the GROOVER. I was only able to find a humorist take on what overnighters have to pack out with them —– aptly named, Up Shit Creek by Joe Lindsay.)
I experienced AMPA every morning.
I made a pact with myself, in the event where I was not able to perform under pressure, I would go for option #3.
Nonetheless, I quickly relinquished my no coffee rule for the trip — caffeine for a good cause.
Because I wanted to f*ing float — fearlessly.
And we did.
After figuring out the ins and outs of camp, we packed up our boats, using the most effective means possible — the baggage line. This is where everyone lines up, side by side, passing items to each other. This method is able to move an entire kitchen, living room and 24 bedrooms into 4 boats in record time.
Next up: THE SCOUT.
We all meandered down towards the water with the roar of the canyon beckoning us down the trail, to overlook and inspect the mother of all rapids, Ms. Crystal.
Crystal rapid is one of the biggest and probably the most dangerous rapid on the river — you can get a sense for her power in this video and the “big-bus eating hole” that her rapids create.
In 1983 the National Park Service asked boaters to get out and walk around Crystal due to dangerous water levels.
And, we were about to run right through her. But, we were going to stay out of the middle (where the hole lives) because we all wanted to be A.B.C. – Alive. Below. Crystal.
If your coffee didn’t wake you up, then Crystal will.
And, believe me, if you haven’t been able to use the GROOVER you won’t need to after Crystal gets a hold of you.
Luckily, everyone stayed in the boat and we all made it through and continued to float on down to the next set of GEMS, the rapids named:
It was an incredible day — white water, enormous rapids, turns, twists and water soaking in the 100+ degree sun.
Plus a waterfall.
A really beautiful waterfall.
Which I will share tomorrow…