Early on in the trip our group had to compete for campsites with big commercial outfits. For the first few days, we were paddling roughly 30 plus miles because these groups were beating us out for our ideal spot. On day 3, we encountered a man who we quickly named, The Gorilla Man. He was built like a beast, with a shiny bald head, and glided through the canyon with his boat full of passengers and gear. We were in a race with this man for a campsite. People were tired, and we really didn’t want Gorilla Man to snag our spot. Fortunately, we had head start, with Wilson, Richard, and Andy in front and Tucker and Hop not far behind. Tucker had managed to block the commercial guide, but he was an animal. No boat or wind* was stopping him. The Gorilla Man quickly covered much “ground” with so little effort. It was frustrating and inspiring to see him move through the wind and water with such ease.
In the midst of this all, Mims decides she needs to pee. One of her goals of the trip was to pee like a man off the raft because sometimes jumping in the cold Colorado just is unbearable. Mims decided this was the perfect time to try ...while we were racing against the beast at the oars. As she squatted on the side of the raft, she fell in and got sucked under the boat. Andy and I started giggling uncontrollably. Laughter is a beautiful thing to occur when there is so much anxiety in the air. Needless to say, Andy, Mims, and I soon were out of the race to secure the campsite.
We were determined to secure the site. We were frankly a little tired of these big outfitters snagging all the good spots. Gorilla was gaining on them, and we feared we soon were to loose the coveted campsite. Neck and neck, the boats raced. A different type of adrenaline was pumping through our veins...there was an anxious energy of what we might loose if the beast were to beat us. Our boat had fallen far enough behind to only catch a glimpse of the race that was happening around the corner. As we rounded the bend in the canyon, relief and excitement engulfed our anxious feelings. We won! Hop had beat the Gorilla Man. Woohoo! Hop is A-W-E-S-O-M-E! Finally, victory was ours. Tired but excited, we pulled in to shore to begin the task of setting up camp.
Several days later, we ran into the Gorilla Man at his campsite where we stopped at for a quick hike to a waterfall. He was a very pleasant man, who had been guiding trips on the Colorado since the 80’s. No hard feelings were displayed!
* Quite often, in the afternoon, the wind would pick up creating a superb challenge for whomever was at the oars. The wind or dragon’s breath (I liked to call it “the hair dryer”), was at full force on this afternoon, giving no breaks and showing no mercy.
The photographs were shot with various mediums - iPhone, GoPro, and Fuji X-Pro 1. The Hipstamatic Application was the primary app used via iPhone.