Monday, June 10, 2013

what the river knows

If your heart hurts, go to a river. When you are on a river that is flowing faster than you can walk, the only thing that matters is getting through the next wave train without swimming. The only thing you can think about is which way to follow the current and standing waves and how to ferry across to the campsite at Deer Creek. After that a group of bighorn sheep will climb onto the rocks opposite from you and you will see how beautiful the world can be even while the extreme unfairness of it all is a tug you can never really forget.

Sheep on a rock

I haven't been on many river trips and, still in backpacking mode, I packed my little tent and a spork. My friends had a table, plush sleeping pads, and a kitchen. It's definitely a different way to travel. The shuttle alone took hours. It was reminiscent of sea kayaking trips where we had to practically draw a diagram in order to get the float planes, kayaks, gear and people to a remote bay. It can be frustrating, but is worth it once you throw off the lines and get started.



There's not a lot of talking on the river. The riffles make their own music and you are in your own little cocoon, occasionally checking to see where the raft is and which line you should take. I'm more comfortable on the ocean and in lakes than on rivers, and I have much more to learn. I'm drawn into eddies and over rocks and into the twirl of the wind. 

The enchanted poison ivy garden.

I'm still a  hiker, but I can appreciate rivers, especially big ones, that have flowed practically forever and will probably flow after we are all gone. There's something healing about a river too, and it is hard to get to the  pull-out and know that you are done, at least for now.


 It was one hundred degrees and a world away from the mountains on the river. I almost didn't go, but I'm glad I did. Sometimes you just need to run away from home. A river is a good place to go.

3 comments:

  1. Enchanted poison ivy indeed.

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  2. Thanks for the journey Mary. The trip sounds like just what you needed. I know about the music of the water, the worlds-away feeling that lets you settle somehow.
    I had forgotten how that felt, having not been on a river in anything other than a jetboat in many years.

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  3. Thanks for the journey Mary. The trip sounds like just what you needed. I know about the music of the water, the worlds-away feeling that lets you settle somehow.
    I had forgotten how that felt, having not been on a river in anything other than a jetboat in many years.

    ReplyDelete

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