This was the day to soak in the beauty of the canyon. After five days floating beneath the immense cliff walls on either side, you almost become immune to the natural spirit of this place. We floated down a peaceful stretch of river to Havisu Canyon, where we stopped for lunch and play. It’s a beautiful place. Pools of blue water and rocks to jump from. I could stay here forever.
The atmosphere in camp that night was good. The trip was coming to an end and everyone was very talkative, reflecting on the adventures we had experienced. Tomorrow was going to be our last day, and it would be a short one. Lava Falls Rapid was the only thing between us and the helicopter ride that would take us out of the canyon.
The TV guys went around and interviewed everyone. My exhaustion was making me really silly. Even worse than last night. When they interviewed me, the TV reporter said, “Put that camera around your neck and hold it in front of you so we know you’re a photographer.” I was out of it. When the show aired a week after the trip, there was a short clip from the interview. I’m bobbing and weaving, not standing still, completely fidgety. Maybe it was just from soaking up the beauty of the canyon.
I got a photo of one guy’s shins, which were now covered with scabs and bruises from the trip. The man had been stumbling over rocks and boulders for a five days now. One more hike and they would probably have to bury him next to the trail.
The river guides wore white dress shirts and black bow ties as they cooked our last supper and announced the after-dinner talent show (which we would be the cast of). The rainbow trout was very tasty.
Searching for an idea for the talent show, Prince wrote a song about the boatmen that we were going to sing. Karl and Matt had other ideas. “Let’s do an imitation ‘People’s Court’ and put Dan on trial for being an ass.”
Their other idea was even more drastic. “I want to go up in front of everybody and say, ‘Dan, would you come up here for a minute?’ and when he comes up in front of everyone, I’ll just go sit down and leave him standing there like the dumb-ass he is.”
So much for the spirit of camaraderie!
When it got dark we all gathered around a bonfire and the talent show began.
A thirty-something couple I haven’t mentioned yet had a bizarre act in the talent show. The only notable thing they had done so far, that I noticed, was to drink Heineken all the time. The wife took center stage while the husband stayed in the crowd. She began to explain that this was their fifth honeymoon together and that they really enjoyed being together. She told us they especially enjoyed acting like teen lovers and having sex all the time, especially in their tent. So during the time they were going to plan their act, he started making moves and they ended up having sex instead. “So that’s why we don’t have an act,” she explained to the entire group.
I don’t remember if anyone clapped or not.
We got up and sang our Prince-penned “Mamas, don’t let your babies grow up to be boatmen” song. Then some of the older ladies on the trip sang love songs to the boatmen. I got the feeling some of them were quite serious, wishing that there would be a midnight visitor to their tent.