Wednesday, May 4, 2011

the call of the canyon

I'm finished with winter. Like a lover I no longer need, I'm ready for winter to beat it. It persists, though, salt-shaker snow as recently as yesterday. The mountains are clouded over, unreachable. The wind bites through my coat. Like I said, I am finished.

Fortunately, I do not have to stay crushed in winter's icy grip. Here there is a choice: descend to the canyon and I did, to find where summer had gone. It's been around all along, down at the Snake River.

I don't know why the canyon has such a seductive hold on me. By any account, there are only a few weeks when it does not bake in the sun. It is a harsh place, full of rattlesnakes and ticks and waist-high poison ivy. The old sheep trails are being overtaken by non-native blackberry, making passage impossible.

But there's something about the place I like. It knows what toughness is all about. It can keep you on that edge--watching your step on the high rims, searching for hidden seeps in a dry ravine. I kind of miss that razor's edge I grew accustomed to in Alaska. Here it is again. It keeps me on my toes.


  1. Great photos...sure makes one caught between winter and spring in the North want to escape to the sun, river and toughness of the Canyon. As ever, you make word-pictures that evoke the area and the experience.

  2. It looks like a beautiful place. I know what you mean about getting used to the rugged terrain. Every once in awhile, I really miss Alaska in that regard. I miss routefinding. They canyon looks awesome. :)

    We've got those darn blackberries everywhere down here too. They grow out of control really fast.


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