Most stories – they bury themselves in the sand. They drift lazily up and down eddy lines. They climb into cracks in the sandstone, limestone and schist. They poke into a driftwood pile and settle in for the winter. Feelings wander up side canyons and don’t come back. Heart-words sit on debris fans and decide not to leave.
I want to open myself up to whatever that water moving downhill needs me to know. That river doesn’t need me to try to tell it stories (I’m SO FUN and SOCIAL! I’m a RIVER GUIDE! I’ve GOT THIS) and my ears are a little more open than they’ve ever been before.
I looked at these two people, standing under that wooden arch, that I look up to as boatman, that I respect as teachers, and whom I love as friends. Okay, I tried to look because I was crying pretty good and also had my sunglasses on – and I saw not only the love between them but also the mess.
Then one morning, I wake up to fire our coffee water and instead of pink dawn, it’s still dark. I fumble around for my headlamp, then watch the blue flames lick up a metal pot. A sliver of moon skates along the ridge above camp. I’m wearing my puffy jacket. The river sound bubbles against the sound of lit propane and instead of giggling, “summer, summer SUMMER” the river says, gently, “Here comes autumn.”
“Okay, so now I need you to SQUEEEEZE her sides like you are SQUEEEEZING a bean!” my mom’s husband Greg tells me in his excited Italian New Yorker accent. “The reigns are like… Continue reading
know you’re not going to make room in your already packed ammo can toiletries kit for an extra bottle of conditioner. So if the SPF is the issue, why not just run some of your sports sun screen through your hair every morning? Disclaimer: I’m not sure how this will affect your shiny bouncy levels.
It’s one of those nuclear hot Salmon River afternoons. Up on a sand bar bench, our metal dish buckets heat themselves without help from a stove. T and I are cooking dinner, trying not to add our own sweat to chicken fajitas and a black bean salad. I slide down the beach to drain a few cans, my brain running menus, boiling times and vegetarian options. It’s the end of a trip. I feel muddled by heat, my muscles sore from rowing against the wind.
“Blamph!” My head snaps back, my sunglasses crooked on my face. I take a few sharp breaths. — There’s a moment when a boater knows she has botched her line. It’s not as… Continue reading
This day was a crap day of boating the Grand Canyon. Not because the canyon was any less majestic than usual, but because I was in a crap mood. I know, I’m not supposed to say that. I’m not saying it was a bad trip overall, or that I wasn’t grateful to be in one of the most remote and extended river canyons in the world…
Holding an oar into whitewater is like putting your hand on the beating pulse of an animal with claws. Most guides are connected to their rivers straight from their hearts. Our oars in our hands are the bible that translates the river’s beat into something our human brains can comprehend.