The Great Pumpkin and Rabbit Ears Made of Romaine… Rafting the Grand Canyon: Part 11

As we passed outside of the Grand Canyon National Park boundary, the Canyon lost some of its grandeur, but just barely.

I wasn’t too surprised when Susan Gishi sported Romaine Lettuce as rabbit ears. In fact, wandering around with my camera, I may have encouraged her. Nor was I surprised when she wielded the cutting knife threateningly. Or when the kitchen crew started head loading the salad containers (not too successfully). Tom ran a tight ship in the kitchen and his mutinous crew responded with humor. After 15 days on the river, his efforts at organization were somewhat analogous to herding cats, or maybe kangaroos. It tended to make him grumpy.

Susan demonstrates how to wear Romaine Lettuce, and the proper way to cut it.

This is the rowdy kitchen crew, Susan, Peggy and Eggin.

Susan demonstrating how to head load.

A convenient ledge provided first row seats to watch the crews shenanigans.

Later, Teresa decided to become a stalker.

While Don Assumed the pose of the thinker. Hopefully, the rope stayed in place.

His shirt makes a ghost appearance.

As we passed outside of the National Park boundary on our trip down the Colorado, the Canyon lost some of its grandeur. But there was still plenty to see. Pumpkin Springs was a good example. It looked like a huge pumpkin. Beth, whose nickname is Pumpkin, was glad to climb up on top of the springs for perspective. The gourd-like structure is another example of a travertine formation created by the lime pumped out by the hot springs. An interesting note is that the spring also has a high concentration of arsenic. Health standards are set at 50 milligrams per liter. The level at Pumpkin Springs has been measured at over 1000! Don’t drink the water! Bone, of course, had to take a sip, but doing anything  he does usually has an inherent risk. I once watched him dive into a pitcher of margaritas at Senior Frogs in Mazatland, Mexico and refuse to come out until a señorita gave him a kiss.

Rock formations continued to entertain us.

Volcanic rocks begin making an appearance, including this large chunk of basalt…


And columns of basalt. They reflect the way basalt may crack when it cools slowly. The Devil’s Postpile along the John Muir Trail is one of the best examples of this phenomena.

A view of Pumpkin Springs.

Beth provides perspective on the size of the springs.

While Bone gets up close and personal.

Peggy and I both took turns at the oars. Peggy’s was mainly a photo-op but I rowed for a longer period, giving Dave a break. He even encouraged me to try my luck at death-defying rapids (more like a 1 on a scale of 10.) “Point toward the V made by the water and stay in the center,” Dave had advised before going back to sleep.

Peggy takes her turn at rowing…

As do I…

Dave taking a snooze while I row.

This is an example of the small rapids I rowed through.

A final view of the Canyon for today.

WEDNESDAY’S POST: Up close and personal with the big brown bears of Kodiak Island.

FRIDAY’S POST: Living on Graveyard Alley— or not. It’s a wrap on the Mekemson Kids Did It.






23 thoughts on “The Great Pumpkin and Rabbit Ears Made of Romaine… Rafting the Grand Canyon: Part 11

    • The boatmen and women, in particular had to work hard,Peggy, especially when we faced headwinds the first couple of days and in ‘controlling’ the boat in rapids. After Lava Falls, it was pretty much smooth sailing, however. –Curt

    • Peggy and I like the “touristy” routes too, Rusha. We’ve camped on the rim several times. One Christmas, I stayed at the lodge and our room overlooked the canyon. It had snowed and was absolutely gorgeous. –Curt

    • Susan did seem to be quite talented in how she handled that knife. And maybe Don, who was a probate judge, pictured himself as a hanging judge. And then there was the dangerous pirate, Steve. 🙂 –Curt

  1. I really like the name of the springs that make them very approachable. Your adventures and photos make me realize that I’ve seen nothing of the world 😦
    This is way cool.
    I like how you took advantage of natural setting with the ledge as a perfect bench.
    I lile everything in fact 🙂

    • I think that you have seen a lot of the world, Evelyne, just different parts. 🙂 Some of my favorite adventures begin by just heading out the door and seeing where I end up. The Inner Canyon is a unique world, as my friend Tom likes to tell me. But no more so than Yosemite, where, If my memory serves me right, you lived close to when we first started following each other several hundred posts ago.
      Nature is quite good at providing opportunities, providing you know where to look. Thanks as always. –Curt

  2. A raft trip doesn’t really count unless you take a turn at the oars/paddles. Although I’m with you on those more difficult rapids – leave them to the experts.

    • Peggy and I had done a fair amount of kayaking, Dave. So it wasn’t a foreign experience. I will note that rowing one of those heavy rafts was like driving a heavy truck! –Curt

  3. Obsidian! That’s what it was! I used to have a collection of rocks as a kid, and one was a beautifully reflective black rock about the size of a large baked potato that looks as though it had been chipped and then smoothed. It was beautiful. I remember when I got rid of that box of rocks, and wish now I hadn’t. I picked up the obsidian when we were on family vacation to Colorado during my grade school years. Every now and then I’ve remembered that rock, but never went looking for its name. Now I know.

    When I was cruising the Virgin Islands with friends, one carried the nickname “Pumpkin Butt.” It was appropriate, but so funny that even she didn’t mind it.

    • I, too, had my box of rocks and always considered obsidian a treasure. Native Americans valued its razor sharp edges and turned it into knives and arrowheads. It was considered a great trade commodity. There is a whole mountain of the stuff at Newberry National Volcanic Monument in eastern Oregon.
      Sounds like the “Pumpkin Butt” had a great sense of humor! –Curt

  4. The adventure continues. Nothing better than a crew with light hearts. What a thrill for you to get to shoot some of those rapids. All my best to you Curt, and thank you for sharing this once in a lifetime adventure.

    • Susan’s a bit of a wild child! 🙂 And one of the wonderful things about rocks is that your imagination can turn them into all sorts of things. I am always on the look out for faces in rocks. –Curt

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