We headed into the GC down Tanner Trail with high aspirations of climbing Vishnu but as it turned out we decided to practice our packrafting skills instead. Starting hiking, a little after 2am on almost no sleep did not help our cause either and by the time we were nearing the Colorado Lee came up with the alternate plan of packrafting and exploring a side canyon on the north side. After doing the math on a Vishnu summit and the level of difficulty based on the amount of daylight required plan B seemed like a better option.
Once down on the Colorado we picked out a spot near Basalt Canyon to practice and hopefully cross. The goal was to cross and then check out Basalt Canyon on the north side. After some test runs and getting used to the current we finally made a run at crossing. It wasn’t too difficult and we made it across at the spot we wanted. We dealt with some brush and then floated some more getting to Basalt Canyon where we grabbed our daypacks for a short hike. Basalt Canyon had some short narrows and interesting rock coloration with a small trickle of water. Unfortunately, the water was just salty enough we didn’t want to filter. Eventually we headed back to the river and the packrafts.
Going back across was a bit more difficult with the current working against us but we gave ourselves plenty of runway to cross and hit the beach on the other side. I think that was my biggest takeaway from the practice to always give myself more runway than I think is needed just to have some margin of error. Back on the south side we took a break and re-packed everything. Lee had convinced me to hike back out that day which I can say wasn’t too excited about especially with full backpack. But it did get us out early and with all the packrafting practice the day turned out to be a nice alternative to Vishnu.