The Bottom of the Grand Canyon

As we left the Hualapai Visitor Center we entered the reservation.  The houses were small and many in various states of disrepair. Almost all had old cars and what we white folk would call junk piled in the yards. Joe explained that we had to remember the Native American culture is different from ours. It is deeply ingrained in the Native Americans to not waste anything. Throw something away and you are bound to need it later. He also explained that the housing was supplied by the tribe. This tribe also supplies medical  services to its members. Each tribe works differently supplying different goods and services to its members but the bottom line is that they take care of their own.

It would have been rude to take pictures so none of us did plus the road, like the roads on the reservation in South Dakota, was dirt so we were bumping around  quite a bit. We didn’t linger in the village. Our permit would only allow us to get out of the van twice. Once at a spot of Joe’s choosing and again at the bottom of the Canyon. The tribe has a ranger patrolling the roads  so Joe said it was important to comply with all the  regulations and restrictions.

As we started the downward grade Joe continued to point out the geological sights and even gave us a lesson on the ” Great Unconformity” a gap in time in the geologic record of the Grand Canyon of over a billion years. The missing layers of sediment were first noted in the Grand Canyon by the explorer John Wesley Powell. Unconformities are not unique to the Grand Canyon but like the Canyon itself, it is one of the largest known.

 Not too much after that  Joe said he saw the ranger coming so he pulled over and got our paperwork out. It was a reminder that when we are on a reservation we are in another nation. Native American Reservations are sovereign nations unto themselves.

Back on the roads again, papers in order we bumped and slid for a while longer before Joe pulled the van over to the side of the road. We all got out for a quick leg stretch and he turned us lose to take pictures with one stipulation. We were NOT to leave the road.

So far the month of May had been unusually wet in the area. It’s normally one of the driest months but there had been a lot of rain and the desert was blooming. There were predictions of showers all day too but so far none had hit us. Joe pointed out different plants and their uses one of which is called a Wiki up. The Indians used it to make shelters by bending the long stalks over and then covering them with grass and shrubs.

Back in the van Joe explained that even if we didn’t get rained on, we still had to be aware of the possibility of a flash flood. By now we were following  small creek called Diamond Creek. It meandered along next to the road even crossing it now and then. It didn’t look like that  big a stream but Joe pointed out where previous flash floods had rushed down depositing huge boulders, rocks and gravel. The last bit of road actually was in the creek.  Then we turned a corner and we were there.

 I was looking at the Colorado River.

 I was in the inner gorge of the Grand Canyon! Even today only about 1% of the people who visit the Canyon ever make it to the bottom. What an awesome feeling!

Joe pulled out coolers with sandwiches and water and pointed out where the “facilities ” were located then we were turned loose to explore.

 A raft was pulled up on the bank as we watched two more rafts come down the river running the rapids.

Another raft pulled in that was a science vessel. The people on that raft were doing a count of bugs that had been released in the canyon to combat another invasive species. They wanted to be sure the bugs were not out of control compounding the problem they were supposed to correct.

Where Diamond Creek entered the Colorado a Great Blue Heron settled in to look for its lunch.

Some of the other passengers climbed up to a cat walk around the bluff. The rest of us received permission from the Native American at the river to cross Diamond Creek where Joe showed us some fossils in the rocks.

 Crossing back I spotted a fish that swam right over my feet. Since my shoes where now soaked I had to make it official. I waded in the river. I can now retire those sneakers and say they waded in the Colorado River at the Bottom of the Grand Canyon!

There were no flash floods today and pretty soon Joe said it was time to start the climb back up out of the canyon.

We made one stop again for pictures and met the ranger a 2nd time. Back on top Joe took us to Snow Cap on RT 66 for ice cream and more chances to get pictures.

 This time of the RT 66 memorabilia.

Back in the van for the last time Joe started the stories of the Native Americans.

It is not a pretty history and it is not they way we are taught in school. In many ways it’s very sad. Often I felt a sence of outrage and shame at the arrogance of the white man and their disrespect for the Indian. The van was silent as he talked. Joe said he didn’t mean to depress us but he felt it was better to tell the truth.  His stories lasted until we pulled into Sedona and would take up far more room than I have here but one of the biggest truths for me was that the Indians learned to murder and torture from us. They learned to scalp from the Mexicans. Native Americans were a peaceful people. We, the white people, caused the bloody Indian Wars, not the other way around.

I am also happy to report that Dave, from Native American Journey’s honored the original quote and processed a credit of $40.00 for the over charge. Also since he used the wrong bank card resulting in an over draft fee, he refunded the $27.00 bank charge. The refunds were processed promptly and without any hassle. I must admit that after all the confusion I am happy to say I can recommend them.  Joe was great and the tour delivered everything they promised. It was worth the cost and they acted responsibly in responding to my issues.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

0 Responses to The Bottom of the Grand Canyon

  1. Joe sounds awesome, just think how he added to the experience. This is so cool to be able to visit along with you. It was neat how all the flowers were so cooperative for you to be blooming all over. Did you see any wildlife? Be safe! 🙂

    Some long winter, read the book Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee. Very eye opening. And sad.

    • Dusty Roads says:

      I loved seeing the cactus bloom which was just because we had so much rain which was unusual. There wasn’t too much wildlife. We saw a roadrunner and a couple of Mule Deer. No javalina’s this trip and no pronghorns or elk. Maybe the way the desert bloomed was our treat this time. I am familiar with Wounded Knee. I think if I read Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee I will have to be sure to bring in a good supply of tissues.

  2. Sandra says:

    I am very glad that they got every thing done they said they would do over the money issues. I have read the book”Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee” and it is very sad. I have a few books on the Native Peoples of this Great Nation, and trust me the white man isn’t as nice as they claim in Schools books. You should watch the movie ” Son of the Morning Star”. It puts General George A. Custer in a much different light. Sorry I got carried away. Good job and great pictures. I really like your muddy feet. 🙂

    • Dusty Roads says:

      It makes me ashamed that we could treat another human being the way the white men treated the Native Americans but you see it still going on around the world today. I will never understand man’s inhumanity to man and other creatures. I like my muddy sneakers too. A symbol that I waded in the Colorado River! I’m glad the Tour Group came through too. I wanted to be able to recommend them as Joe did a great job and I think it was just a communication problem.

  3. Patti Ross says:

    Thanks for sharing the experience and the sentiments. It is so very sad to see how we have acted throughout the years. . . and still act today in many interactions with other cultures. I love visiting the Southwest and learning about Native American culture–it is so appreciative of nature and so family and community oriented. I like murder mysteries so enjoy the series by Tony Hillerman. If you have not read them, you might enjoy hearing about the tribal police through the characters Jim Chee and Joe Leaphorn. All the locations put the reader on the mesas and gully roads of the Southwest, but the main character also makes comments on the differences between the Indian and the White world and sensibilities–interesting. Thanks again for sharing. I have waded in the Colorado River, but not at the bottom of the Grand Canyon, what a terrific trip and guide!

    • Dusty Roads says:

      I know it’s an old cliche, the saying :why can’t we all just get along?” but I often wonder that. I have seen Tony Hillerman on the book shelves but have not read any of his books. I will have to make a point of it. I ran across another book in, of all places, the Dollar Store. It’s written by Margaret Coel. The title is The Girl with Braided Hair. It’s also a mystery with Native American characters and life on a reservation. I gathered from reading it that it is part of a series as well so I will be looking for some more of her work too.

  4. cellulite says:

    I’ve not too long ago started a weblog, the information you present on this web site has helped me tremendously. Thank you for your entire time & work.