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.
Did I mention this was idyllic?
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.