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Day Seven - May 22, 1999

Rafting on the San Juan River


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Darryl and Ellie make breakfast "What's for lunch?"

We awoke to the sound of the river after a peaceful sleep.  The guides had coffee prepared by 6am, followed by an impressive breakfast of eggs (prepared to order), has browns, freshly baked bran and blueberry muffins, sliced fruit, granola, yogurt and oatmeal.  After everyone ate we broke camp, packed the gear and loaded the boats. 

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"El Bano"

The portable toilet situation is interesting.  "El Bano" (Spanish for "leave me alone over here, I'm taking care of business") is a tent that is set up every night with two portable latrines.  One latrine is for ladies only, the other for solid waste only.  Men are expected to water the plants.  As part of leaving no trace of our presence, the guides pack out the latrines and their contents each day to be emptied at the end of the trip.  It is not one of the glamour jobs of being a river guide.  If you want to use El Bano you turn a piece of painted wood from the green side to the red side, signaling others that it is occupied.  We joke that there should be a flashing yellow light for the moments after certain people whose initials are Jim have visited El Bano.

We float for about an hour and pull over to hike the Honaker Trail.   This trail goes up 1200 feet from the river to the top of the canyon wall.  It takes us about an hour to make the climb, and the view at the top is well worth the effort.  We see three other groups en route.  After resting at the top and taking lots of pictures, we head back down to the boats. 

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Mark surveys the scene The view from the top
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At the top

We get back on the river, and Carl and I take the inflatable kayak "duckys".  It's pretty fun, we each drenched from the water washing in and the splashing we give each other. 

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Carl at the helm

Mark took this shot of me

Lunch is declared as we pull over to a sandy area.  Today's lunch is a pasta salad, some sliced vegetables, along with bagels and cream cheese, peanut butter and jelly, and sliced fruit.  We're starting to see some reruns on the food, but there is more than enough and no one is complaining.  Umbrellas are brought forth for shade, and we enjoy a brief break after lunch sitting along the river.

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Jim tracks the escaping umbrella

Back into the water for the final leg to tonight's camp site.  The water is starting to get more and more rapids areas, and the wind is picking up.  We decided to keep the umbrellas out on the boats, but the wind catches them and you have to be quick to snag them as they start to leave the boat.  One does get away from our boat, and Darryl slows the boat down so that there is a chance we can retrieve it.   It goes under water in a few seconds, and we assume it's a goner, but Darryl says that they often come back up.  Sure enough, it arises from the deep and Carl grabs it.  Loud cheering erupts from all boats in our party.

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View from my tent

We pull over for the evening just past some loud rapids on another sandy beach.  I learned a lot last night about what not to do while setting up your tent.   Hopefully, tonight's experience will be better organized.

I'm going down to the river while the sun is still hot to rinse out my (stinky) clothes.

Tonight is Mexican night, with chips and salsa appetizers.  For dinner, we get fajitas, refried beans and rice.

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Fajitas! Gratuitous image Jerkville

There has been lots of discussion about the next JerkFest, to be held in 2001, when Lyle will be JerkMaster.  He wants to go to Alaska.  We've also discussed a golfing expedition, a scuba-diving outing, a dirt-bike adventure, and just holing up in a hotel somewhere to play cards and drink.   We'll spend the next two years discussing it and then it will come together at the last minute. 

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