August 27, 2005

Off the river

I just returned from a really wonderful two weeks on the Colorado River. We hiked side canyons, gazed at ancient cave paintings, plunged into waterfalls, and slept under the stars on beaches of silt. By 7 am each morning, we were on the river, letting the current pull us along. We travelled through the entire Grand Canyon, running hundreds of rapids and stopping a couple times a day to explore the amazing landscape.

It's easy to see how people fall in love with the Colorado River. During stretches of flat weather, we drifted along lazily in the hot sun, listening to the rhythmic sound of the oars and the occasional pleading call of the canyon wren. During the rapids, I hung onto the raft, one hand in the boat and the other out, clinging tightly as we rode up and down waves higher than my head, with icy cold water sloshing over me until I was soaked and knee deep in muddy water.

The canyon does seem to go on forever. For fourteen days, and over 200 miles, we followed the river, always moving downstream, with cliffs of rock towering over us on either side. Every side canyon is different: some wide enough to hold acres and acres of land, filled with prickly pear cacti, mesguite and tamarisk, while others were so narrow I could touch the wall on either side as we scrambled up waterfalls and swam through pools to make our way upward.

By the end of the trip, it seemed natural stare up at the stars as I fell asleep and to wake to the sight of those tall cliffs of rock. It will seem strange tonight to sleep in a bed, inside a house, with the whole sky on the other side of glass.

18 comments:

Songbird said...

So glad you're back! It sounds wonderful.

Nels said...

Wow, sounds stunning.

Phantom Scribbler said...

It sounds like a life-changing experience. Can't wait to hear more gem-like details when you're settled in and accustomed to sleeping under a roof again!

Pilgrim/Heretic said...

HURRAY!! You're back!

Yeah, sure, the Grand Canyon has all the nice cacti and stars and cliffs'n shit, but it didn't have the Internet!

(oh, wait, that was probably part of the point.)

We missed you!

jess said...

I feel lazy and pale reading that. Wish I had it in me - or someone to make me.

BrightStar said...

I can't wait to hear more about it. And maybe you took a photo to share?

Welcome back!

Friday Mom said...

Yea! Jo(e)'s home! Sounds wonderful. Hope we get to hear more about it.

What Now? said...

Hurrah, welcome back! I'm so glad you had a wonderful time.

Scrivener said...

Welcome home! Sounds like a wonderful balance between exhilaration and bliss. Hope you got lots of both.

peripateticpolarbear said...

sounds amazing. And not that I've been riding my bike by your blog 8 times a day for the last two weeks, but I'm nonchalantly glad you're back home.

Mieke said...

Welcome home! That picture looks amazing. What a great trip.

Puts life in perspective doesn't it?

Suzanne said...

Welcome back to civilization! I hope the re-acclimation process goes smoothly.

liz said...

Welcome home!

Yankee T said...

Sounds wonderful, and boy oh boy did we miss you!

halloweenlover said...

Wow! Sounds fabulous!

So glad you are home! Can't wait to hear all the details.

Running2Ks said...

I think you just described it perfectly--how it will be to adjust to home after being out there in the great vastness of nature. Details!

Piece of Work said...

I have been on a river rafting trip once--the Sacramento river, almost 10 years ago. The first day, I was terrified. The second day was exhilarating. The third day, a forest fire began threatening the canyon where we were rafting, and our guides cut our trip short.

Anyway, sounds like you had a wonderful time, welcome back!

Pink Cupcake said...

Oh Jo(e), it sounds amazing. Glad you are back :)