By Elise Otto
April 15th–– 300 some girls are captured from their school in Chibok Nigeria by the group Boko Haram.
April 19th––Pack, drive, Flagstaff to Lees Ferry. Rig my second Grand Canyon Baggage Boat.
April 20th––Easter Sunday. Oars in the water, guests in the dories and deli sandwiches for lunch. I launch on the Grand.
April 21st––Salt Creek and the Roaring Twenties. Good runs though I seem to be finding every eddy on the river.
April 23rd––Wind. Having trouble keeping up.
April 26th––The wind blows sand off the long spit we’ve camped at. Cutting boards, knifes, shirts, and pacos go flying. We throw buckets on the sand to keep it from blowing in peoples faces. “why doesn’t it just rain and save us the trouble?” I wonder. It rains. I can’t find my headlamp and I spend a while curled up under my cooler shade, before I get in the tarp that Jeff set up.
April 27th––Hance in the rain. All the boys are in their drysuits. I’m wearing two Pendleton wool button-ups and a sweater under my rain coat. I set up a tent as soon as we get to camp.
April 29th––Good, dare I say “easy” low water runs through the gorge.
April 30th––At the Bedrock scout one of the guides comments on what I thought were sun spots on my feet. They turn out to be Tolio, a revelation that involves no small amount of tears. I go over the table rock in Dubendorf sideways, and fall way behind rowing through the wind.
May 3rd maybe––The wind continues. I’m getting stronger, and weather it well. I get shit-f*#ked in a rapid and don't want to talk about it.
May 5th–The jet boat driver calls me the Maytag dishwasher and I am too tired and sensitive to think of a comeback worth saying, so I resort to hatred. Two handsome men fart in my face, which I pretend is gross but really I’ll take the attention. Its clinically proven female farts smell worse than male farts.
May 6th––Derig and drive.
May 7th––276 girls remain in captivity. 53 escaped. One of the escapees tells her friend, “It is better to be killed than to be taken to a place that we did not know.”
Elise Otto is from Spokane, Washington. She has been lucky enough to work with good people in wild places in Viet Nam, Timor Leste and the Western United States. You can follow her @ikankiik on Instagram.