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 Dear Eddy
  BQR ~ Fall 1999

lthough I am a private boater, I have thoroughly enjoyed your newsletter, particularly the depth of the articles, interviews and historical stories of the canyon. I also appreciate the poetry, pictures and drawings—anything that helps me mentally get back to the canyon.
I have been privileged to raft the Grand four times, first in 1975. I've run it once in my '20s, '30s, '40s and now '50s! Each journey was exquisite and they have left in me impressions as deep as the canyon itself.
This May we spent 22 incredible, perfect, cloudless days down there with great water—18,000–22,000 cfs! I waited eleven years for this permit. If the list is truly 7,000 people and 20 years, I will be 71 for my next trip. Among my group of 13 friends we had 33 Grand Canyon trips unlike my '75 trip where none of us had even been down.
It has been interesting to note the changes through the years. The motors have gotten quieter (although the helicopters are still obnoxious), most of the big beaches were gone or under water. Havasu was a bit of a shock—some vegetation, the travertine pools and parts of the trail washed out. But the sense of solitude (except for the usual places) and grandeur, and the wonder I feel hiking up side canyons discovering pools and falls and flowers and so much more… all of that thankfully has survived the onslaught.
There is another more human quality that remains in the Grand Canyon—caring, brotherhood, and looking out for each other. We had nothing but very positive encounters with the professional boatmen and women whose paths we crossed. You were all willing to negotiate campsites in a friendly manner. Someone gave us two blocks of ice on about Day 10 or so—a gift most appreciated. At Little C a Hatch boatman ferried several of our party from the island across to shore. They had missed the pull-in and would have missed the hike without his generous gesture, and I got my first ride on a really big boat! He also gave us a pound of coffee—muchas gracias!
A really big thanks to Hatch and oars for their efforts and assistance after our (not one, but two) flips in the ledge hole at Lava (don't ask how or why). The Hatch boatmen grabbed and righted our 18-foot raft from which the frame had been torn off. They then towed that raft and the remaining half of our 16-foot boat across the river to the rest of our group. Michael Ghiglieri from oars donated glue, material, D-rings and some great advice. The “bandaids” worked great. Thank you Michael! You all helped immensely on that not very fun day. Most of our flotilla of cooler, ammos, oars, “dry” bags, onions and zucchinis was retrieved. Even the Teva I lost in the flip and never saw again on the river has come home.
The river experience lingers on. I'll never know all the answers, like who found my Teva and how it found me, but each journey in the canyon is enlightening, uplifting, gives me sanity and food for my soul. It is home.
Several of us “middle-agers” are considering a commercial trip in the future. One friend wants to take his father and many of us want to hike, photograph and relax! Funny how these trips are a lot more exhausting than they were 24 years ago!
Thanks to all the Grand Canyon river guides who helped make our May journey most memorable.


Jan Dorsey

 
big horn sheep