But still, lazing around the raft listening to the symphony of the engine mixed with buzzing cicadas was a marvelous privilege.
Today I was on Erika's raft. Which seemed fine until I heard that Elk had given every passenger on his raft a manicure during a slow hour.
We pulled up at a slot canyon after lunch for swimming and shade. One passenger had brought her watercolors, and the day turned into a festival of face-painting and kid-art. One kid painted a picture of Elk driving his raft—a big, blue raft captained by a man in a green sarong and a bandana. Looks silly but keep the sun off.
Then, it was time for Lava, the most challenging rapid in the entire run, named Lava because this part of the canyon is covered in dry, black, ancient lava.
I moved two seats back for Lava. Enough! I'd been swearing at walls of water today. In front of children. Lava was mind-blowing, but I think I was too tired to be threatened by the rapid this time.
Our last night on the river included steaks, guitar music, and even a tango.
- "August 25, 1869 — Great Quantities of lava are seen on either side; and then we come to an abrupt cataract. Just over the fall a cinder cone, or extinct volcano, stands on the very brink of the canyon. What a conflict of water and fire there must have been here! -Powell Report."