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 The Trek: The Journals

•
Team: South
Jan Nesset
Saturday, August 31
The Wheels Have Left The Tarmac

We’re more than half a mile into our planet. We have two options to get back to the surface: hike out nine miles or float out on the river.

After a star-speckled night camped on the Tanner Trail, our team of five walked away from camp at 6 a.m. Leaving early afforded us cool temperatures and plenty of time to make the noon rendezvous with our team members on the raft.
We arrived at the river at 9 a.m. just as the heat of the day began to settle on our shoulders.
The dry creek bed near the end of our hike had tumbled boulders into the river during earlier floodings, forming a rapid a few hundred feet long. My first thought was of the big glassy waves formed at the top of the rapid and how much fun it would be to surf them in a kayak.
We nestled under shady cliffs upriver of the rapid on the bank of a long sweeping eddy. It was a natural spot for a big raft to safely pick us up.
A quick dip in the frigid Colorado invigorated us. But lying there drying off we soon got sleepy. Some of us, including me, briefly napped.
Near 11 a.m. a huge raft 35 feet long swept into view. We heard a whoop. Our team had arrived.
Jessica, Jacob and I were in the throes of traversing cliffs along the river when the raft showed. Joining the gleeful rendezvous took a few minutes because of the difficulty of the rocks but soon we were back with our comrades, getting ready to launch.

Ankar Rapid, Hance Rapid, several others, we were in the Grand Canyon squeezed along by the mighty Colorado River.
The last any of us expected was to be physically cold here at the bottom of the canyon. The temperature is normally 20 to 30 degrees warmer than at the rim. But if you listened with a healthy imagination you could hear our chattering teeth echo off the canyon walls.
Why, because the Colorado River blasts out of Glen Canyon Dam at 48 degrees Fahrenheit.
Dressed in cotton T-shirts and nylon shorts, our team -- especially those of us in the “Bath tub” at the front of the raft -- was well equipped for heat but not constant washings in chilly rapids on a cloudy day.
There are drier places in the boat but none had the high fun quotient as the front of the boat.

Our guides, John Paul “J.P.” Running and his wife Mag, of Hatch Expeditions, provided excellent food, fun and river-running expertise and a wealth of historic and geologic information.
Together they had been on hundreds of trips down the Grand Canyon. J.P. alone was somewhere around 200. What a life!
The view on the river is vastly different than the one from the rim. The scale makes the difference.
From the rim the scale that makes the best sense is in miles. On the river it is possible to see the tops of ridges and rims miles away yet most of the landscape is stepped closer, obscuring distant vistas.
Vertical and horizontal rock formations constantly changed from river bend to river bend. J.P. interpreted what was unfolding before our eyes. Some of the oldest exposed rock on the planet can be seen here. Millions of years is a long time but seeing rock formed a billion or more years ago is difficult to comprehend. What is less difficult to see is that these monstrous formations have spent their existence squeezed and baked and pushed around. Down here the biggest bully wins.
Conglomerate, intrusions, and glassy black rock jockey for space with sandstone and granite. An ancient Anasazi wall shows where early Grand Canyon inhabitants built a shelter in a hole high on a rock face. How’d they get there?
I am in disbelief. It is common for me to feel this way when I am looking forward to a big trip to a land of excitement. Until the airplane wheels leave the tarmac I remain in a state of disbelief that the trip will ever materialize.
But today on the Colorado River something’s going to happen. The plane is moving down the tarmac.
The years of dreaming about this are about to come crashing to an end.

Our raft heaves into a big wave. Water piles over the bow and blasts through the narrow slit between the pontoon and the raft. Few are spared the big wave, and we’re hit again.
Whoops and yeehahs fill the air.
Bob Hammond, our trip leader, has held fast to his position in the “bath tub” in the bow. Pummeled and wet, Bob looks at me over his shoulder. His face is lit up with a Grand Canyon-sized smile. Looking around at our drenched but giggling group, it’s easy to see that the party is underway.

The wheels have left the tarmac.
for Saturday, August 31
North South Both




Biographical
•
Team: South
Jan Nesset
An experienced outdoorsman, Jan Nesset knows that everyone has to pitch in at camp
A native of Montana and the third of four children, Jan Nesset joins American...
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List of All Journal Entries
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Wednesday, April 28
Jan Nesset
American Frontiers: Part II: Taking Stock
   >> more...

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Sunday, December 1
Jan Nesset
Canyonlands in December
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Thursday, November 21
Jan Nesset
Snow Raspberry Bounty
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Sunday, November 17
Jan Nesset
The Bisti Badlands
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Friday, November 15
Jan Nesset
Public Land Flows Through It
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Thursday, November 7
Jan Nesset
A Day At Earth Analytic's Home
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Tuesday, October 29
Jan Nesset
Slot Canyon Adventure
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Monday, October 28
Jan Nesset
Some Things Never Change
   >> more...

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Sunday, October 27
Jan Nesset
Back To The Wave
   >> more...

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Monday, October 7
Jan Nesset
The Thing About Summits
   >> more...

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Saturday, September 28
Jan Nesset
A New Beginning: National Public Lands Day
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Thursday, September 26
Jan Nesset
Big Day of Sneak and Salvage
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Wednesday, September 25
Jan Nesset
History-Coated Strawberry
   >> more...

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Tuesday, September 24
Jan Nesset
The Last Of It
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Monday, September 23
Jan Nesset
Dinosaurlandia
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Sunday, September 22
Jan Nesset
Over The Edge
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Saturday, September 21
Jan Nesset
God Bless America
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Friday, September 20
Jan Nesset
Sometimes It's A Tough Life And We Get To Do It
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Thursday, September 19
Jan Nesset
The Niche Near You
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Wednesday, September 18
Jan Nesset
Snow Day
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Tuesday, September 17
Jan Nesset
A Capitol Reef Bull's Eye
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Monday, September 16
Jan Nesset
A Lucky Rift
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Sunday, September 15
Jan Nesset
Riding The Hog's Back
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Saturday, September 14
Jan Nesset
Oh Rhythm My Rhythm
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Friday, September 13
Jan Nesset
Precious Images
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Thursday, September 12
Jan Nesset
From the Hole to the Staircase
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Wednesday, September 11
Jan Nesset
Happy Days
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Tuesday, September 10
Jan Nesset
Do You Believe In Magic?
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Monday, September 9
Jan Nesset
The Bridge Over the River Why
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Sunday, September 8
Jan Nesset
Public Lands And…Not You?
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Saturday, September 7
Jan Nesset
That Place So Special
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Friday, September 6
Jan Nesset
Just Looking To Have Some Fun – Be Dammed!
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Thursday, September 5
Jan Nesset
Do The Wave
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Wednesday, September 4
Jan Nesset
The Condors Are Coming!
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Tuesday, September 3
Jan Nesset
Fires Are For The Birds
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Monday, September 2
Jan Nesset
Back On Top
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Sunday, September 1
Jan Nesset
Perfection
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Saturday, August 31
Jan Nesset
The Wheels Have Left The Tarmac
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Friday, August 30
Jan Nesset
Star Light
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Thursday, August 29
Jan Nesset
The Traditional Connection
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Wednesday, August 28
Jan Nesset
Onward and Upward On Mountain Bikes
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Tuesday, August 27
Jan Nesset
Checkerboard Kings and Queens
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Monday, August 26
Jan Nesset
Aldo Leopold As Ranch Manager
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Sunday, August 25
Jan Nesset
A Story In Everything
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Saturday, August 24
Jan Nesset
Fire In The Whole
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Friday, August 23
Jan Nesset
"Good Morning, Flagstaff!"
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Thursday, August 22
Jan Nesset
Hoping For The Best
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Wednesday, August 21
Jan Nesset
Could Get Stinky
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Tuesday, August 20
Jan Nesset
Wheels Asunder
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Monday, August 19
Jan Nesset
Hurt Me, Thank You!
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Sunday, August 18
Jan Nesset
Roads Aplenty and Rocks of Pleasure
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Saturday, August 17
Jan Nesset
Of Dragons and Fire
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Friday, August 16
Jan Nesset
Motorcycles and the Zen of Route Mechanics
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Thursday, August 15
Jan Nesset
Puzzled
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Wednesday, August 14
Jan Nesset
A Day Off, Sort Of
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Tuesday, August 13
Jan Nesset
A Delightful, Light Day
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Monday, August 12
Jan Nesset
Courage On Eagle Mountain
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Sunday, August 11
Jan Nesset
Farewell
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Saturday, August 10
Jan Nesset
My Aching Back In The Saddle
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Friday, August 9
Jan Nesset
Back In The Saddle
   >> more...

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Thursday, August 8
Jan Nesset
In The Saddle
   >> more...

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Wednesday, August 7
Jan Nesset
Shut My Mouth!
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Tuesday, August 6
Jan Nesset
Diversity and Song
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Monday, August 5
Jan Nesset
An Unraveling
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Sunday, August 4
Jan Nesset
A Bagged Peak
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Saturday, August 3
Jan Nesset
Lines On A Map
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Friday, August 2
Jan Nesset
GPS-Marriage Made In Heaven
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Thursday, August 1
Jan Nesset
Free Wheelin'
   >> more...

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Wednesday, July 31
Jan Nesset
An Excellent Start
   >> more...








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