Friday, January 30, 2009

swept away

I got a phone call yesterday from my friend Don Greene.  He’s the guy I worked for during my river guide days.  I was part of the crew that would take groups of 20 - 30 people on wilderness canoe camping trips through Boquillas Canyon in Big Bend.  Those were some fun days.  A lot of work, but lots of fun.  We would head out on a three day holiday weekend about 7 PM and drive straight through for 12 hours to the put in on the Rio Grande.  We’d get on the river by late morning of the next day and paddle for three days, get to take out, load up and drive another 12 hours straight back so people could get to work the next day.

I have some really great memories of that time.  Like the time Charles, the head guide, made me lead boat for the first time in Boquillas Canyon and I managed to get three boats flipped before lunch on the first day.  Then there was the time we drove through a hailstorm on the way into the park one Easter weekend.  It was cold and raining and we had a headwind so strong it was blowing us all backward.  We ended up having to do that trip in two days instead of three.  And then there was the time a helicopter landed near our campsite and one of the guests just about had a heart attack because he had bought a lottery ticket and told his wife if he won, to send a helicopter after him.  They were actually looking for some campers that had been reported lost.  

Not all the memories are like that though.  My friend Dee and I had a blast one trip on the Lower Canyons of the Rio Grande ferrying all the boats one at a time through a particular rapid.  And the time Renee had us all will the rain storm away one sunset and we witnessed an unbelievable light show the rest of the night from the storm that skirted us.  Or the time I was sweep boat and lagging behind and so got to witness a stallion gallop to the water’s edge and whinney for his mares and foals to come get a drink.  Or chasing the blue heron downriver until he turns and flies back up river to the beginning of his territory.

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