Tom Norring Photography | Grand Canyon Rafting

Grand Canyon Rafting

May 17, 2014  •  12 Comments

Grand Canyon blog April 29 to May 9 2014.


April 29

Set out in the morning from Lee's Ferry at Mile 0 .The plan is to row down the Colorado River through Grand Canyon for 187 miles.

Cold weather and very cold water waits for the first two days.


House Rock Rapid rated at 4-7 was most dramatic of the day. Water relatively low so the high end of rating probably most descriptive.

Camped above North Canyon at Mile 19.5. Slept on the ground with spectacular view of the starry sky.


April 30

Beautiful morning light in the Canyon.

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Challenged the Roaring 20’s from the morning. Most challenging was the Georgie Rapid rated at up to 7. Mile 24.

Camp at Red Bud Alcove Mile 39.4


May 1, 2014

Incredible sunrise colors. Golden reflections in the river.


Short float to Nankoweap Creek Mile 52, where we camped.  



After dinner we climbed 500 feet to the Ancestral Anasazi Granaries AD 1100. Spectacular sunset views of the river.



May 2

Relatively easy day, floating slowly to Little Colorado River Mile 61.25. Water color was a most unusual turquoise due to the mineral concentrations of copper sulfate and calcium carbonate.



Continued to camp at Cardinas Mile 71.5.


Enjoyed panoramic sunset views.


May 3

Another colorful sunrise.

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Starting with dramatic rapids Unkar Rapid, Nevills Rapid, Sockdolager Rapid and Grapevine Rapid all rated up to 7. Hance Rapid up to 8.

Stopped at Clear Creek Canyon for waterfall images. Mile 83.


Dramatic end to the day when we entered Horn Creek Rapid Mile 90.2. At lower water, formed very large waves and hydraulics. Consequently rated one of the most difficult rapids rated up to 9.

Unfortunately one of our photo guides, QT Luong,  got injured with multiple head cuts and a broken collar bone, when he was thrown up in the air by the rafts violent movements.

We camped at Horn Creek Mile 91. The injured photo instructor was evacuated by helicopter first thing next morning.

May 4

Very long day traversing multiple rapids, many of them very difficult. Granite Rapid and Hermit Rapid at 8 and Crystal Rapid at 10. The guide book about Crystal Rapid: Several very large holes followed by a dangerous rock garden at bottom of rapids on river left.

Fortunately we had now experienced the violence of the rapids and we hang on for “dear life” through them. Nobody got hurt.


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Camp set at Elves Chasm Mile 117.

May 5

Morning hike to Elves Chasm Falls through spectacular narrow canyon with small waterfall.

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Ended day with difficult Bedrock Rapid and Deubendorff Rapid rated 8.

Camped at Talking Heads Mile 133

May 6

Early morning start on the water.

Stopped at Deer Creek to enjoy the falls. Mile 137.


Going through Granite Narrows, the narrowest location of the Colorado River Mile 135.


Camped at Lower Kanab Creek Mile 144

May 7

Early start on the river to get up to Matkatamiba Canyon  Mile 148.


Hiked through the slot canyon above the waterfalls.

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At Upset Rapid we hiked to position for shooting the rafts in the rapids.

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All rafts passed without incidents although Rileys raft almost capsized,

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Camped at Lower Ledges Mile 152

May 8

Early start to get to Havasu Canyon and Creek while we still have the morning light.

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Canyon is home to the Havasupai tribe that has inhabited the canyon for more than 800 years.

The striking blue-green color of the creek is due to heavy concentration of Calcium carbonate and the limestone reflections.

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Camped at Lower National Canyon Camp Mile 167


May 9

Last day on the River.


Very difficult Rapid at Lava Falls Rapid rated 10. Described as: Perhaps the most difficult run in the entire Canyon.

We all made it to camp at the Whitmore Helipad Mile 186.9.


The “helipad” was a small flat area not much bigger than a standard one car garage.

May 10

Helicoptered out to Bar 10 Ranch on the rim.

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Then boarded small plane to Flagstaff



End of unforgettable rafting trip and very tired.






Brian McGilloway(non-registered)
Hi Tom. Good to hear from you. Finally getting around to seeing your excellent photos. Too bad we don't go there! I'd publish them in a second.
Be well and keep shooting.
Brian McG
QT Luong(non-registered)
Thanks for participating in the trip and posting such a great account. That's a terrific mix of images which captures the scenery and the action equally well. The choice of presenting the rapids images in sequences adds to the sense of action. Very well done !
Mark Hayward(non-registered)
It was a great trip and I certainly enjoyed photographing with you. Hope we can do another trip in the near future. Your shots are fantastic and your words help the wonderful memories continue.
San Yuan(non-registered)
Our memorable trip continues to live through your excellent blog and photos. Thanks for sharing. Looking forward to read about more of your globe trotting photo trips.
Warmest regards,

Juergen Sattler(non-registered)
Hey Tom, wish I could include Yodel for you:-) Great write up and even better pictures. You should add those pictures to the dropbox Oliver created.

Hope you are doing well - it was really nice to get to know you on this trip.
No comments posted.

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For many years I have enjoyed the freedom to travel the World with emphasis on photography. I have found that the Worlds wonders become more obvious through a lens. It emphasizes the beauty in the variety and details in culture, peoples, wildlife and landscapes.

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