Sponsored by the Grand Canyon River Runners Association
Highlights from our SECOND trip - August 3-13, 2016!
25 Warriors were on this trip:
Returning crewmembers included retired Marine Hank Detering (GCRRA), Army Vet Mark Seavey (American legion), and U.S. Navy Corpsman Manny Gonzalez. Our new passengers included Doctor Bill Krissoff, one U.S. Navy Vet, and twenty Marines – two of them WOMEN.
First stop, Paria River:
Hopi priest Marvin Talayumptewa, - “SLOW WALKER,” met our warriors. As he did last year, Slow Walker explained why the Grand Canyon and the Colorado River are sacred to his native people, and he encouraged us to let the river cleanse us of our demons and renew our spirits. He blessed our boats, and our trip, and each of us. And, he presented each warrior with a talisman – a Road Runner feather – to protect them on their journey. Slow Walker’s message resonated with every warrior and set a healing tone for our trip.
We proudly escorted “Old Glory:”
"Old Glory" was first raised at Valley Forge in 1999, the start of her "World Flag Tour." Her mission, in part, is to honor the service and sacrifice of veterans and the fallen. She has participated in ceremonies around the world and flown over Hallowed Ground, including Mt. Suribachi, Iwo Jima, and Ground Zero, NYC. We were honored to be her caretakers for ten days. We could not have had a better symbol of the American Spirit to travel with us!
Hail Storm and Flash Flood:
It was bright and sunny when we hiked to the Deer Creek patio, but shortly after we arrived it started to rain. The rain quickly changed to hail, LARGE hail! We took shelter under a ledge, but soon realized we had to get back to our boats. As we hiked out we had to slip behind falling water that was pouring down from the ledges above us. Then, when we got back to the river the ankle-deep creek we had easily crossed was knee-deep raging muddy water. So, we had to set up a rope and do a “swift water crossing” to get back to our boats. Fortunately, this “drill” was old-hat to our veterans.
Our paddlers were the best:
Horror stories about last years paddling adventures, and flips in Deubendorf and Lava, caused a bit of concern but we had no shortage of volunteers for the sixpaddling slots. Our two gals,Brandy and Jillian, were in the crew that bested the dreaded Deubendorf, and we had so many volunteers for Lava that we had to draw straws. Once again, at Lava Falls, our warriors prevailed!
A “Helo-Evacuation” for Mark Seavey:
On day seven American Legion rep, Mark Seavey, began to experience abdominal pain. That evening Corpsman Manny Gonzalez gave him pain meds but Mark’s pain only worsened. The reason? Kidney Stones! At 4 AM Manny inserted an IV into Mark’s arm and Dr. Bill Krissoff administered morphine, which got Mark through the night. In the morning we had to raft downriver for almost an hour before we got to the Ledges where a Park Service helicoptercould land and pick Mark up. Mark had to climb up almost 40 feet to get to the landing site. Thank goodness we had a first-rate medical team!
A Jet Boat to Lake Mead:
On the morning of day ten we arrived at Diamond Creek and learned that a recent flash flood had washed out the road and that we would be departing the river at Pierce Ferry, river mile 280. So, we motored to Separation Canyon where aJet Boat met us and sped us to Lake Mead!