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"Delicate Dusk" -- call concerning
"Ancient Mayan Ball Court"
"Deer Creek Falls"
"Ghosts of the Past"
"Marble Canyon Reflection"
"Matkat Canyon I"
"Moon Through North Window" -- call
Below are direct links to the Grand Canyon/Landscape narratives:
Grand Canyon narrative -- " The Big Show"
Grand Canyon narrative -- "The Soul of
Grand Canyon narrative -- "Rhythm of the
Grand Canyon narrative -- "The Ribbon
Grand Canyon narrative -- "Into the Gorge"
Grand Canyon narrative -- "Nature's
Grand Canyon narrative --"The Human
(Special note: The Grand Canyon narratives came to be during our private
float and as a result of my dissatisfaction in the attempt to express
myself only with photography; which, although somewhat successful, seemed
a bit incomplete. In frustration I began to write down my feelings,
often in-flow. The results include these narratives. The narratives
should be read in the order presented above. I hope you exact some of
the power and glory of this marvelous place from the writings.)
"The Soul of the River"
Yesterday was a great day, both on the river and off. After awakening,
we hiked up North Canyon, encountering pools and slick-wall friction
climbs. The side canyon was running, although not heavily, with
slightly silt-laden waters; probably a result of some rains borne
of the rim. On the third day we were somewhat threatened by rains,
but on the fourth, after lunch and just above the confluence with
South Canyon, we were the fortunate witness to a rainstorm with
lightning and thunder. Not too cold, though, as we all doned rain
gear and proceeded downward. It felt good to pull the oars and "push
downriver," and rowing in the coolish weather warmed our muscles.
The daytime high air temperature here is typically well in excess
of 100 degrees, and probably averages 110 degrees during the month
of July. Herein, then, lies the great paradox of temperature differential
in the Canyon. When the experts of river destruction --the Grand
Dragons of River Blockades, the suits from the Bureau of Land Mumbojumboment
-- when this group did their number on the river up at Page, they
produced, quite on purpose, a ridiculous trout stream in the middle
of the Arizona desert! Yes, in their infinite wisdom, this river
is 110 difficult, sometimes unmanageable degrees on the outside
(air temperature) and 50 frigid degrees on the inside (the river
temperature itself). This anomaly has occurred because the water
release at the dam is from the bottom of a very deep synthetic lake.
Oddly enough, the human-introduced trout prefer the interface temperatures
at the mouth of the Little Colorado River, a beautiful, Caribbean-like
natural waterway which flows into the Colorado at probably 70 to
75 degrees. Similar to the trout, humans find the mixture of hot
and cold somehow pleasant, however false.
The rain and associated eroding streams cascading off the (now)
2000 foot canyon walls have produced a bit of silted waters, which
have elegantly colored the clearer main channel. As we floated from
South Canyon down toward Redwall Cavern, the river turned a bit
muddy, but the eddies were still essentially green (like the Salmon
River in the great Idaho Wilderness). It was contemplated that perhaps
this phenomena would afford an efficient way to observe the eddy
fences; areas on the river plane where downstream currents meet
opposing upstream flows. Earlier in the day, while "pushing
downstream," we would all occasionally be shoved by a "swirly"
into an eddy fence, which would spin the boat uncontrollably and
slow progress. We were often being moved upstream by these powerful
areas, these eddies. The flow here, we surmised, is ancient; it
has grooved a river channel so specific that the eddies themselves
take on a personality of their own. The most successful strategy
I have discovered to counteract the river's attempt to push these
insignificant rubber craft into it's backwater is just to shut my
eyes and feel the eddy lines. This is not always successful, however.
it be that the river, perhaps as a distinct organism, is pulling
at its visitors -- not necessarily to hold them (which would
be an honor!) but to indicate an active presence for one to
enjoy -- a presence to perhaps have a relationship with?
attempt by the river, there is of course an obvious explanation
concerning the physics of downstream flows; for every action there
is an equal and opposite reaction. I prefer, however, to think that
the reason somehow is more rooted in the soul of the river. This
concept is something we are all feeling more and more as we progress
on our journey. Could it be that the river, perhaps as a distinct
organism, is pulling at its visitors -- not necessarily to hold
them (which would be an honor!) but to indicate an active presence
for one to enjoy -- a presence to perhaps have a relationship with?
Every once in a while, I shall allow the river to just grab at and
capture me (although it many times has done this to my dismay) and
just float and circle in one of its soulful eddies.
We tend to
define the river flow by rapids; perhaps it is time to at least
partially define the river's personality and nature by its eddies.
We may be looking at it backwards and upside down. Humans suppose
they can conquer rapids (although that is surely an erroneous thought);
humans cannot even really define the eddies. Perhaps, then, the
eddies are the real soul of the river.
Today we float from just below Redwall Cavern ( a huge cutaway at
just above river level) down to Nankoweep. Clear, cool morning;
the song of the Canyon Wren awakens us to another day.
Willis Greiner, 1994. All rights reserved.