Thursday, June 30, 2011

going to the river

It's a relief to leave the canyon heat, poison ivy and ticks behind and travel into the river country, just waking up from winter.

If a wilderness can have a soul it would be like the Minam River, a powerful pulse of energy flowing from the melting high lakes down through the forest. Right now it is at flood, and impressive.

Ain't nobody crossing this puppy.

I was in the Minam river country to walk the hot ridges. That's my name for the broad-backed spines that tower above the river and loop down to its banks. They are beautiful but broiling, the only water far, far below. You have to carry water with you if you ascend the hot ridges. You have to be prepared.

Dana on a  higher ridge a few days back.  This time I was on my own, on a parallel ridge below this one.
This is ultrarunner territory without the ultrarunners and if I didn't have to carry so much pesky work gear I would be tempted to break into a run.  You could go for miles and days up here, making long loops down to the river and up again. It's so undiscovered, and I'm glad.

I was checking contractor work but I was also letting the ridge and river country do their magic after a week of trying to make unhappy people happy. At my job I catch a lot of weather: people venting about everything under the sun and wanting me to fix it. Sometimes I feel like I absorb their unhappiness like a sticky dark cloud and I have to unwrap it somewhere, let it go. That's really why I come here.

Sometimes I think that the complainers are way too entitled. I'd love to shove a pulaski in their hand or put them at the hard end of a misery whip and have them clear trails for a week. Clearing trails is the hardest work I've ever done and it puts everything into perspective.  But since I can't change anyone, just myself, I come here.

 Tally: Days: 2. Miles: Lots.  Elk: 2. Bears: 1. Thunderstorms: 2. Scary water crossings: 2. People: Zero.


  1. Your photos are really pretty. I want to go run there!! :) Enjoy your solitary break from all the annoying people.

  2. Writing and photos are lovely. Your post even calms me down from annoyances experienced far, far away, and leaves me wishing for your mountains.

  3. Just remember that any photos you take while performing your official government duties are the property of the government. Nice photos!

  4. Anonymous, I am well aware of that rule. I use my own camera and I do have breaks. However I don't sell my photos or profit from them. Thanks for commenting.

  5. Nature is where I shed all my emotional baggage, the one people put on my shoulders and the one I keep lugging for one reason or another.
    You are very lucky to have the kind of job that takes you out there.
    Love, love your blog.

  6. Lovely writing, Mary! And pics too.
    P.S. Can I have your job? Please? I'll clear trails for food, hee, hee.
    P.S.S. As a journalist, I SO understand about the unhappy people trying to unload their stuff on you. Oh my!
    Cheers and happy Fourth,


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