Floating down the river

The September afternoon was warm and sunny, and my friend Lauren offered to take me canoeing. Who wouldn’t want to play hooky on an eighty-degree autumn day to float down a river?

After stashing one car downriver, we put in, though I’m going to be vague about exactly where to protect the fragile ecosystem from people who might want to do higher-impact recreation. Here’s Lauren and her canoe, with its nifty fold-up two-wheel lightweight trailer already tied to the boat, after we used the trailer to get the boat to the river. Much easier!

We waded through thigh-deep water, hopped in, and discovered the river was tranquil. I sat in front; Lauren guided from the rear.

The water level was navigable throughout, with the exception of a few portages and a few shallows. Hopping out of the boat, we sloshed through water that was cool but not chilly. Perfect!

The highlight of the trip was a long stretch of sandstone cliffs full of raptor nesting niches. We pulled to the far bank to snack and birdwatch. A black phoebe sailed off a high branch in repeated forays for insects, and a prairie falcon soared by overhead, wings pulled in.

After almonds with chocolate bars, it was time to move on.

Did I mention this was idyllic?

We glided past a huge snag. I’m into dead trees lately:

Finally we reached the bridge at the downstream end of today’s trip—though Lauren dreams of exploring the next few miles another day.

The swallows’ nests under the bridge were beautiful—mud creations that set my fingers twitching to hollow out such lovely pots in the clay studio.

It was five o’clock, time to leave the golden silence of the past three hours and drive back home. We’ll be back. I promise.

Update: Lauren Bond Kovsky soon after became a professional river guide for canoe trips—she’s great! You can find her at The River’s Path.

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5 Responses to Floating down the river

  1. Sandy Hockenbury says:September 27, 2010 at 5:31 pm

    I didn’t know there was anywhere to canoe in Colorado! Also, watch out for the snags – they are notorious for creating undertows and weird whirlpool-type currents…

  2. Rosana Francescato says:September 27, 2010 at 6:27 pm

    Looks wonderful!

  3. Loved the dead tree observations. Even though summer is my favorite season, in the last couple of winters I have cultivated an appreciation of naked trees (not dead, just defoliated). Only in winter can you truly observe the intricate patterns of the branches, the architecture of the tree. Thanks for the reminder…but I’ll still revel in the leaves for a few weeks to come!

    • Priscilla Stuckey, PhD says:October 3, 2010 at 9:36 am

      I’ve been photographing dead trees all summer. I think there must be a blog post in the making! Yes, I too love the architecture of trees in winter–plus the birding, which suddenly becomes easier. But my favorite week of the year is when the leaves sprout again in springtime.

  4. I somehow missed this post – thanks for writing about it 🙂 Let’s go play again soon!!!