Members of Crew 2016 from Norco and Crew 377 from Bermuda Dunes attended the annual Black Canyon Trek. On March 26 they launched their canoes and kayaks from Willowbeach, AZ, and headed down the Colorado River for a 5 day adventure.
After only a short distance from launching they were ensconced in the sheer canyon walls of Black Canyon. After only 30 minutes on the water they witnessed a red tail hawk grab a seagull in midair and do a controlled dive while the seagull was complaining about being lunch for the hawk. At camp on that first night they got to see another rare spectacle of nature when a colony of bats flew out like a wisp of smoke from a large cave above their campsite.
Day 2 of the trek was Easter Sunday. The venture scouts were woken up by a surprise visit from the “kayak Easter bunny” who left them a bag of candy next to their sleeping bags. The scouts also proudly practiced their leave no trace skills as they searched through the campsite to pick up Easter eggs that the kayak Easter bunny saw fit to hide around the canoes, in a kayak, around the campsite, in scout’s shoes, etc.
The weather on Sunday was excellent and they were able paddle 9 miles by burning off the sugar from the candy thanks to kayak Easter bunny. Along the way they spent lots of time exploring more caves, winding coves that concealed recesses in the canyon walls for climbing, and swimming in a cove rimmed with towering white boulders.
On the morning of day 3 of the trek the scouts were on the water at 5AM so they could experience paddling the river at night and watch the sunrise while on the water. They enjoyed this so much that they elected to start getting up every morning at 4AM so they could be on the water by 5AM and watch the sunrise.
On day 3 of the trek they watched from the safety of a sheltered Cove as 60 mph winds stirred a tempest of 6 foot waves on the water. The waves were so high that they were rising up 10 feet as they struck the canyon wall on the opposite side from them They also got to experience a sandstorm known as a haboob late in the day when the wind began blowing directly from the west. The next day they surfed 4 foot rolling waves into another Cove to seek shelter from another windstorm.
On the final day of the trek, March 30, they again were on the water at 5AM to watch the final sunrise of their trip. They paddled the final 4 miles to Cottonwood Cove, NV, to the sound of hooting owls, coyotes, and calm water with a gentle wind from the north to help push them along. The stillness of that final morning gave them the opportunity to reflect on their experiences and to put in perspective their shared adventure on the Colorado River through Black Canyon.
– James Hermes