Friday, April 22, 2005

River Rats

After looking at the map, we realized that Canyonlands was too far from here. We'll visit that park from Moab, our next stop. So, we worked till 1 or so, then walked across the street to the John Wesley Powell museum. Now there was a driven man! I took a raft trip down the Grand Canyon once. That was in a large inflatable boat with a motor and a guide who knew every rock in every rapid, and it was still scary at points. John Wesley Powell did it in wooden boats with oars in 1869 when the Green River and the Colorado river were big blank areas on the map. AND ... he had lost an arm in the Civil War - what a story. Anyway, we enjoyed the museum and then asked the woman at the front desk what she might suggest as a local drive since we weren't going to go to the National Park. She had a couple suggestions, but then concluded by saying, in a rather unenthusiastic tone, that the easiest drive for a couple hours would be north along the Green River. I so often find the most magical of experiences are the totally unplanned, unexpected ones. We drove up the nice paved road about 5 miles and came to a BLM (Bureau of Land Management) campground right on the river. We stopped and let Odie run on the beach. It's so much fun to set the camera to 'action' and hold down the shutter release,letting it snap away. What a nice place to camp! No hookups, of course, but it's free for up to 10 days to stay on BLM land like this. Maybe next year we'll have solar power and can take advantage of sites like this. But, we also need phone - cell phone service *rarely* reaches places like this. We're hoping that Voice over IP will someday be good enough over our satellite Internet connection. We continued up the river where the dirt road got pretty bad - but our Honda had no trouble. Then we stopped at another parking area and started walking toward the river. We noticed a couple of boats that were beached there. We debated about walking back to the car - not wanting to upset the boaters' solitude, but Odie had run ahead - it was too late. The guys waved and said 'hullo', so we continued on. Meet Billy and Ernie. They'd been on the river for a week. They were stopped here for their last night before the takeout point just a couple miles down the river. Two more hospitable guys you can never hope to meet. They pulled out chairs, gave Jim a beer, and me a Crown Royal! I think they would have rolled out a red carpet if they had one. And we chatted for the better part of 2 hours. They were on a 'boatman's holiday' since they are both river guides in Maine. They mentioned the Penobscot river. We'll have to try to look them up when we make it to Maine - hopefully this fall. They said this trip had been wonderful. I especially liked how they referred to this *muddy* water as a 'golden river'! They've done many river trips out west - when I asked what was their favorite, they both instantly replied - the Grand Canyon. We finally let them have their peace and solitude back and drove back to that beach to sit and read aloud from Edward Abbey's 'Desert Solitude'. One thing we're missing by traveling this northern route that we did, is Monument Valley. But, looking at this view, I decided we didn't miss anything! What a magical day.

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