Tuesday, November 25, 2008

One last touch of the river

Today the air thickened and the sky paled with the welcomed sensual early symptoms of an approaching winter storm. And I feel all the better for winter's imminent arrival because I got in a last blast of river season over the weekend.

It was a cool blast, for sure. When the sun was out -- or was shining on the same side of the canyon I was paddling -- it felt like we were really in the desert outback of Utah's San Juan River. But when the sun's low near-solstice slant was sliced by the canyon rim or, more so, when it made its early-evening descent behind the sandstone landscape, the cold grabbed hold and was held at bay only by the thickest polyester shields and the primeval radiant warmth and security of a driftwood fire.

Colors, too, were subdued, robbed of the life of summer -- but offering up a purer, deeper sense of raw bone against the bottomless blue of the November sky. And at night? The stars were ridiculous.

We were too, probably, seven guys away rom work and family and the general demands of the daily business's busyness. But we sucked up every glorious minute of it -- three days of paddling and guitar playing and bocci throwing and beer drinking and talking and sleeping out for two glorious and treasured bonus nights alongside the river.

Remembering yet again why we live here. And love it here. And fight for here.

And now we turn our eyes toward that slow-building proto-river we call the Snowpack ...

Click on the slideshow below for mo' and biggah pics.

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