Saturday, October 10, 2015

Stillwater Canyon, Day Four

September 26, 2015 - Loading out from our Anderson Bottom camp was a bit of a challenge. We weren't under any pressure, but still managed to be on the river at 9 a.m. Teamwork paid dividends as did the IKEA bags!

Kathy paddled bow in my tandem canoe on a couple trips before we built her the "perfect" boat - or so she thought. Now she's lusting after a solo canoe, so I tied down the load and traded my single blade paddle for her kayak and kayak paddle, but just for one day.

With just 6 miles to our next camp, drifting would have been the order of the day, and it was, when we weren't in the shadows where it was fairly cool. It didn't take long for Alan and Julene to demonstrate appropriate effort and appreciation for the beauty of the river and the canyon walls.

As we approached the lower end of Unknown Bottom, and the beginning of Valentine Bottom on the other side of the river, we started looking for structures. There are quite a few granaries visible from the river in a layer of rock below the White Rim.

My favorite is a two story structure built into the cliff about river mile 25.8. It is much bigger than the granaries upriver. In this photo you can see the differences in the quality of stone work between the first story and the second. This structure sits alone. We don't know why it was built here, but from this position there is a great view of the river, both upstream and down - if there were windows on the southeast side.

Like our previous days, the river was glassy smooth with reflections of cliffs everywhere you look.

We'd hoped to stay at the Tibbets Cabin site on the upper end of Cabin Bottom, but the same party that had been at Fort Bottom were there. We stayed at the lower camp, about 1/4 mile downriver. The whole reason for stopping here was to visit Newspaper Rock - one of the sights along this river that I'd never visited.

Thanks to the heat, we huddled in the shade and watched the clouds build. Slowly but surely, we got our tents set up, and some enjoyed a soak in the river while others inspected the inside of their eyelids.

We had a couple beaver check us out, but they weren't interested in stopping since the two wood boats were sitting in the grass on the bank. They turned up their noses at the plastic boats.

About 4 p.m. we headed off down the trail to see if we could find the famous Newspaper Rock. It was easy going with a clear trail and occasional cairns to guide us.

Newspaper Rock was a bit of a disappointment to me. Lots of petroglyphs on two sides of the rock, but none were especially outstanding. There were a couple other boulders nearby that also had a few petroglyphs.

Newspaper Rock was nicely positioned to show what an amazingly short day tomorrow would be.

All afternoon the clouds had been building and dissipating in waves, leaving us to wonder what tomorrow would bring.

Just a couple thin clouds obscured the moon, but our interest was more about what tomorrow night would bring. We really wanted to see the blood moon eclipse if possible.

Ascot (or his cousin) stopped by to visit. This made three nights in a row that we all sat around laughing while Kathy flirted with a Western Screech Owl. A great way to end the day!