River Journal - Page Three

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Sunday, July 22, 1956—I crawl out of the sack at 5:15 AM and find myself the straggler—nothing easygoing about this crew. Frank and I load up the canteens with the river water, which settled overnight in the bailing buckets. [Our drinking water was principally obtained from the rivers. We filled our bailing buckets, allowed the silt to settle overnight, and decanted the water into our canteens without treatment. No gastronomic side effects were noted].

It had been my unvoiced idea to rotate partners every half day so as to avoid any possible personal friction which sometimes develops toward the end of a long tiring day, when faces get long and tempers short. The others teamed up so readily with their shipmates and seemed to prefer the boats they started in, that it was deemed best to continue as before.

It is funny how one can become attached to an inanimate object. My old yellow boat, Nicholas Needlefoot, falls into this category. I suppose it is because of the association of so many good times together, along with the feeling of security which comes with learning both your and the boat’s limitations, from handling in a variety of situations.

Well, this morning I felt a preference for the Jeff Davis. Only yesterday morning I picked the least favorable looking of the boats for myself as I thought the others, not having had any white water experience, should have the better of the boats. Now the boat I selected seemed a bit better than the other two.

Frank and I drop behind the others to collect some chert samples from the Organ Rock member. Chert is a uranium mineralization guide in Frank’s area of mapping.

Frank is particularly busy with notes and plotting contacts so I try not to annoy him and occupy myself with binding leather to our oars. The oars are finished, and handle much better than before.

This morning is mostly cloudy and cool. So, the oars get a workout in the new fittings, and we make good time in spite of slow water.

About noon we lash the boats together amid stream and form a lunch raft. We have passed into the Rico fm. And the canyon has become steeper and narrower.

Previously, I had scouted out parts of the canyon from the White Rim on the Inter-River side, but the country we are now traversing cannot be seen from the White Rim. Spectacular as is the canyon above with its great Wingate cliff, it doesn’t compare with the gorge we are now in. One cannot pass through many of the canyons of the Green, or for that matter the Colorado, San Juan, Yampa, Dolores, San Miguel, Gunnison, etc. without feeling the stupendous grandeur of his surroundings and the minuteness of himself.

At 1 PM Frank and I stop to sample and photograph some fossil logs near the base of the Rico fm. The logs are in sandstone above which lie a few thin fossiliferous limestone beds. A few feet below is a section composed dominantly of limestone. Frank places the top of the Hermosa at the top of this section.

A little wind and a little rain cool the afternoon. We finally catch the others at the confluence of the Green and Colorado Rivers—where they are swimming—5PM.

The boats are stripped, hauled ashore, and the hulls swamped off and left to dry while we eat supper. After the meal we check all seams and the hulls for leaks. Looie and Dick find a small tear, which they repair in the Robert E. Lee. All of the boats have small leaks around the mast wells, and operations are decided upon for the wells and keels.

Everyone in bed by 9:00 PM. No Mosquitoes!

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Last updated: February 24, 2015

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