After 3 hours of hiking, we stopped for lunch. The hike was beautiful, but to this point did not feature anything remarkable. We had great conversations to pass the time and invented a great story about the banche of Orderville cCanyon. This character roamed the canyon moaning in search of hikers wearing denim jeans (do a quick search on the history of Orderville to understand). About 45 minutes after lunch things got a lot more exciting. The canyon walls got tighter and we hit the first rappel. This short 20-footer was perfect for the kids. Exciting, but not so intimidating that it strikes the fear of death in your heart. Needless to say, the kids loved it. By now the canyon walls were “glorious” (the preferred adjective used by Norah). We started to notice a little trickle of water on the canyon floor from a natural spring. Soon it grew into a pretty decent flow with pools appearing frequently.
The second rappel ended in a waste-deep pool of water. However, the descent was along a concave crack that made it a little tricky towards the bottom. Hannah went first and she was a pro. Admittedly, I brought a 8.0 mm rope which was not the safest decision, especially for the kids. I should have brought a thicker rope or sent each kid down with a prussic auto brake. As a result, Truman briefly lost control during his descent. It wasn’t a big deal and he would have fallen into a fool of water from 8 feet, but it was enough to teach me to be safer. Once we had finished the rappel, I was hoping to capture a sweet family photo. I set up the tripod and took a couple practice shots of the crew. These would prove to be the last photos I ever took with that camera. As I walked back to join the family photo, Melissa yelled that the camera had fallen over! I quickly grabbed it out of the water, but it was too late! Nooooooo! I was upset that I lost the camera, but I was even more disappointed that I wouldn’t be able to take photos the rest of the way down the canyon, and the best photos were yet to come.
From that point on, everyone put on their wetsuits (except me, I just never got cold enough. As Maxwell so thoughtfully pointed out, it was because I had enough whale blubber to keep me warm). I don’t think I fully grasped how much water was in this canyon. We did a lot of swimming, descending down water falls, and trudging through waste to chest high water. It was cold! The wetsuits and socks were critical, especially for the kids. It was an absolute adventure problem solving each obstacle as a family. The kids had so much fun. By the time Orderville joined the Virgin River Narrows, we were pretty tired. The Narrows were still majestic, but with all the people and our fatigue, we were ready to be done. In fact, we didn’t see a single person the whole day until we hit the last waterfall right before the confluence.
|Last photo before camera tipped over in the above water|