arc August/September Issue 117

Page 130

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#17 Fisher Marantz Stone / Charles Stone

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“Wherever in the world you find yourself, you’re always above Lava Falls.” As taught by every Colorado River guide to every young rafter.

What: The view from Blacktail Canyon, gazing along Conquistador Isle, at mile 122 on the Colorado River in The Grand Canyon. Where: Miles from nowhere, Arizona, USA. How: On a white water rafting trip. When: In every season. At all times of the day. Understanding that completing this task will require substantial commitment. Why: I’ve rafted through the Grand Canyon, down the Colorado River in a paddle boat a dozen times, and floated awestruck through the splendidly colourful Conquistador Isle at all hours, including magical dusks and dawns from beach camps at the river’s edge. 80 kilometers and two days downriver, my visual system switches from “wide angle colour discrimination pleasure mode” to “primal terror edge detecting survival mode” for the 10 second, 12-metre vertical drop of hydraulic madness that is Lava Falls. And all I want to do afterwards is to see it and do it, all over again. Should you wish to see the stunning sight of Conquistador Isle for yourself, you can only get there in a raft, and it is devilishly difficult to escape the Canyon without passing through Lava Falls. You’re above it right now. Photo: Conquistador Aisle by Charles Stone, 2008

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