President Harding Rapid Stories, Grand Canyon


We had made our way down a canyon, then down the river a ways, the day before. Today's plan was to boat a couple of miles downriver to President Harding Rapid, then climb out of the Big Ditch at Eminence Break. Our friend Sonny Lawrence from Redlands, California has visited many sports in his outdoor career. He spent the 90's boating, using various (larger) craft than we brought with us. So we were somewhat surprised when he decided to run President Harding Rapid, though, well, not TOO surprised. What WAS surprising was that he made it without tipping!

President Harding rapid from up on the trail.

Sonny and Ram enjoying a GC Breakfast (no pancakes)

I (Tom Jones) have wiped out in this rapid twice. Once in May 1996 in a 16' Avon raft, my first-ever flip - very exciting. And once a week prior, when I struggled to get out of the downstream eddy, and got tossed out by a micro-hole, in a 4-1/2 foot Sevylor, Sonny's pooltoy of choice for his run.

Aaron moving into photographer's position

Aaron moving into photographer's position

Aaron moving into photographer’s position

The victim… er, daring adventurer, about to enter the jaws of dismemberment!

Centered on the tongue…

Centered on the tongue…

Centered on the tongue…

… and into the first big wave…

Yee Haw!

Yee Haw!!! – into the wave train.

Over the top of a haystack…

down in the foam…

Out the end, upright!

Victory Lap!

Pack up the rafts and load in the packs for the uphill slog!

Glad we’re doing this in February, not June! 1/3 of the way up, smiles still apparent.

All we gotta do is climb up there (about 2000 feet).

Ram feeling the accumulated abuse of two weeks on the strip.

But we have all day! Aaron looking out, about 3/5 of the way up.

Back in camp – no adventure is complete until the pictures are downloaded to the laptop and shared around the campfire…