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Recollections of Lava Falls - Part 2

The majority of my memories of Lava revolve around the aftermath.  
The decompression.  
The catharsis.  
The blowing off steam on one of the beaches within easy rowing distance.  Or the first beach you wash up on.  Or a midstream boulder, a stone’s throw from the maelstrom, imbibing a post-Lava beer with my boat crew gayly snapping selfies.  Ecstatic having the whitewater turmoil harmlessly upstream of us. 
I prefer to camp far enough away Lava is not audible or visible but close enough to have plenty of time to clean up and still allow a large, lazy portion of the day for a party.  By ‘clean up’ I mean retrieving items and rafts and swimmers and other detritus following any potential mishap.  
Not a shave and shower.
It was on the beach at the bottom of Lava I learned of Lewis Carroll’s poem  “Jabberwocky”.  When I first heard it recited I was too much in the party mood to focus but I distinctly recall being enraptured by the gibberish which sounded grammatically correct and certainly tea…

Recollections of Lava Falls - Part 1

My relationship with Lava Falls on the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon is relatively lengthy.  For an erstwhile Canyon boater, I have stood at the brink of this geologically cataclysmic, gnarly stretch of water quite a bit.  More than your average Grand Canyon duffer. 


And, in spite of its surly reputation, Lava Falls has only spanked me and my crew mates the very first time I encountered it.  Of course, I abide the hoary old adage, “There are those who have, there are those who will and there are those who will again.”  Consequently, I take nothing for granted when I reach River Mile 179.
In my original encounter, I couldn’t find the fucking bubbles.  But that is not the hoary river tale I am writing about on this go around.  
(As an aside, according to the author of The Emerald Mile, the route known as the “Bubble Run” no longer exists.  It’s magical period of existence, when those who found the bubbles slipped through Lava like greased pigs through the clutches of contestants at a …

Jesus Shaves

(The original working title for this story was 'California Dreamy'.  But I came across an ammo box sticker years ago at Bumbershoot that I couldn't pass up. And it has long been my favorite sticker - along with Porkins Lives, of course.  Due to the walking on water reference, I thought it just as fitting.   Two things - when you become a river guide, bumper stickers are no longer bumper stickers but ammo box stickers, and because of the protagonist of this tale, Orion began using oarlocks versus whatever archaic contrivance we had been using previously.  Hallelujah!)


~~~ In the end, he wasn’t known as Randy “MacBackRub” for nothing. But, in the beginning, a few of us swear we saw him walk on water. It started on the Skykomish River on a dreary western Washington day early in the spring.  Temperatures hovered around nut-clenching and penis-shriveling
The good news was - it wasn’t raining.  At least not yet.

Our guests were a UW fraternity and, though the river was high and t…

Trip of a Lifetime - Part 2

(In my last post, myself and fifteen intrepid adventurers found ourselves up to our armpits in darkest Peru lashing down gear on six rafts at the put-in for a 24-day expedition down the Grand Canyon of South America - the Rio Maranon.)
So there we were.  In a working gravel pit.  Sweltering under the relentless onslaught of the equatorial sun while lashing gear for the next three weeks, and then some, onto our Chinese-manufactured, inflatable aircraft carriers.
We were as excited and giddy as a bunch of pigs wallowing in a mud hole.  We were prepping to run a river in Peru!
Unfortunately, a slight hiccup in our river time bliss arose - nasty, ubiquitous, biting gnats.  Easy - at first - to ignore, but only at your peril.  Before long, we noticed our calves, ankles and hands were swollen, or in the process of swelling, from bites.  On the fortunate side, the learning curve was steep.  It did not take long for us to learn you had to wear protective clothing from dawn to dusk in combination…

Trip of a Lifetime - Part 1

Two winters ago an article I read in American WhiteWater magazine struck a chord with my sense of adventure.  Resonated with my alter ego. 


The alter ego not married to the couch.  The alter ego which still has a hankering for a dosage of adrenaline.  (Though the dosage is - admittedly - getting smaller.)  The alter ego who imagines himself as one of the most interesting men in the world.  (“Whose passport requires no photograph.” “Who won a staring contest with his own reflection - Dos Equis.”  You need to know the commercial to appreciate the reference.)
The article was written about one of the major tributaries of the Amazon.  Possibly even the actual source tributary for the Amazon, according to the article’s author.  It was the Rio MaraƱon.  The Grand Canyon of South America was how the article touted it.  
And it was - in the immortal words of Paddington Bear - “in darkest Peru.”
How dark?  I couldn’t have guessed or imagined by reading the article.  But the story fired my imaginati…