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.
Last week was dedicated to: Floating Fearlessly
Today’s F*ing Friday is dedicated to the words:
As in, souvenirs.
There aren’t many souvenirs to collect while rafting the water of the Colorado River. Except, of course, sunburns and calluses.
We had reached Day 8 on the river.
And, after a big ride through LAVA the day before and rolling through class ten rapids, we now found ourselves on flat water.
F*ing flat water.
Flat like a lake with the wind blowing in our faces.
All except for Kolb, our one rapid of the day, we were at a stand still. And, if the wind could have its way we would be floating upstream without a paddle, all the while with that blazing orb burning down on us.
Plus, we were running out of food and drinks.
The most coveted resources on the river were definitely sunscreen, soda, second helpings and wine — in that order. Our party complained more about the dwindling supply of Diet Coke, Chardonnay and seconds at dinner, than spiders, scorpions or the bats flying above our heads each night.
So at lunch, a fellow outfitter stopped by and we traded out goods for more soda. Praise the sugar gods! Let there be peace on earth, or at least this emerald green river.
But that day, on the flat, flat water, paddling into a wall of wind…
We improvised to stay cool.
With water guns.
And boat tipping — on purpose.
Anything to get in the water and cool off from the heat.
After what felt like hours of paddling and going nowhere, (with calluses popping up on my hands), to our relief each boat hooked up to a bigger oar boat — our “baggage boats” — just to inch us downstream a little faster.
It made for a lazy ride.
We eventually pulled over to camp just shy of our intended destination, given the wind and our downstream battle. We opted for a sandy spot just before Rapid 209.
That night, I took a poll.
Being eight days into this trip and fully accustomed to peeing in the river, pooping in a can, poaching a camping spot before anyone else could run to and claim it, jumping in and out of the boat and bathing in 50-degree water every night, we all seemed to have a running list of experiences and souvenirs.
Here’s the official report…
Grand Canyon Souvenirs By The Numbers:
- 12 people with yellow duct tape covering blisters or cuts on feet
- 6 people with “boaters butt”
- 8 with swollen legs and feet
- 17 with blisters and hot spots
- 9 with bruises
- 12 rashes
- 5 people with hair braided by Jo
- 10 people who “slapped the bag” (that’s a wine term)
- 6 fell out of the boat
- 7 peed out of the boat
- 24 hit by a water gun by Justin and Andy
- 9 asked Brian for medical help
- 6 steered the boat
- 14 rode the “Bull” (more on that tomorrow!)
- 12 still had clean clothes
- 5 with red ant bites
- 6 had a hummingbird visit their boat
- 2 stole a sarong from a random rock
- 4 men wore sarongs on the trip
- 10 were still wearing the same clothes they did on Day 1
- 6 lost something to a rapid
- 2 had something broken
- 3 misidentified Dave snoring when it was really Jo
- 13 think pooping in a bucket is now normal
- 24 lowered their standards of privacy on this trip
- 13 saw fully nude nudists in a brief encounter
- 2 mooned the nudists
- 2 admitted to having AMPA (Advanced Morning Poop Anxiety)
- 2 never slept in the wilderness before this trip
- 14 figured out the camping routine so it now feels normal
- 3 poached the GROOVER
- 1 took a photo of themselves on the GROOVER
- 14 want an outdoor shower
- 1 has not yet bathed
- 4 did not jump off waterfalls
- 5 coated their body in A & J’s Goo Goo Butter (calcium phosphate)
- 5 had nose bleeds
- 4 had shoes fall apart on the trip
- 0 were able to keep up with Jim, our 77-year old pace setter on the hikes!
That night, reality slowly set in as we gathered around in a circle.
There was only one more day left on the river, our last day of whitewater rapids.
As the bats came out, flying low along our campsite, diving and dipping overhead in the light of dusk, so did something else we had not seen all week.
The new moon.
We were heading into the home stretch.