River miles 110-127; Elves Chasm and Blacktail Canyon

When starting to pack up, we found a cicada on our tent next to its molted shell. Our guide Lynne found a snake in her boat; Jeff, one of the guests, identified it as bull snake, and let everyone hold it before relasing it in the bushes. We got into the wooden dory for the day with Pablo, who we realized had been a guide as our 2001 trip!
We rafted through five rapids, then scrambled over a short trail to Elves Chasm, a magical pool with a waterfall. We all climbed up and jumped off; Evan did it at least five times.
After lunch, we saw lightning over the rim as big dark clouds rolled in. We pulled over as it started to rain, put on rain gear, and the rain stopped. We went into Blacktail Canyon to wait for the storm to pass. Gary described the "Great Unconformity" in the rocks: 540 million year old Tapeats Sandstone stacked directly on top of 1.8 billion year old Vishnu Schist. Over a billion years of rock formed, then eroded away, leaving a gap in the rocks of over a billion years. Guides Lynne and Pablo played music and sang songs while we lounged on a ledge across from them.
Back on the river, we rafted through another four rapids, then made camp across from Randy's Rock at river mile 127. After dark, Jeff found scorpions in the bushes by making them glow with a black light flashlight.
The guides blew a conch shell to wake us up for coffee shortly after sunrise, and a second time when breakfast was ready.
In the morning, we found a cicada next to its empty shell on the outside of our tent.
The cicada rode on Evan’s finger or shirt for a while as he walked around camp.
As she was packing, our guide Lynn found a small snake in her boat. Jeff identified it as a baby bull snake and everyone who wanted to got to hold it.
Evan found what looked like the seed of a lollipop tree on the beach.
We rode in the handmade wooden dory with Pablo, who had been one of the guides on our 2001 trip.
We started to see pancake rocks (Tapeats sandstone) around mid-morning.
lounging in the back of the dory, looking back at the canyon
The buff colored rock in the distance is the Kaibab Limestone of the rim.
We scrambled over rocks a short way to get to Elves Chasm, and scrambed up behind the waterfall to jump into the pool.
Evan jumped at least five times.
walking back from Elves Chasm to the river
back on the river, passing Tapeats Sandstone and Vishnu Schist
We had lunch under the shade from layers of 500 million year old beaches
Our lunch stop was a broad beach across from an amazing canyon cliff.
downriver from our lunch beach
dark clouds started to gather upriver of our lunch beach
The clouds got darker and we saw lightning as we set off after lunch.
In the distance, the canyon walls were covered in mist.
We pulled over to the side as it started to rain, although it mostly stopped by the time everyone had their rain gear on.
Lynne and Pablo played music in Blacktail Canyon while we waited for the storm to pass.
We set up a can crushing station, and the guides were happy for help crushing cans used for dinner.
We set up our tents under ledges of Tapeats Sandstone. It was hot for a while after the sun went down, and we were happy for the occasional cool river breeze.
The kitchen was right up agains the rocks.