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Posts Tagged ‘Salmon’

Looking down at the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon.-- Photo by Pat Bean

Looking down at the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon.– Photo by Pat Bean

“The river is another world, which means that one’s senses and reflexes must begin to live another life.” – Wendell Barry

Texas Flooding got me Thinking

I grew up near the Trinity River in Dallas, which has been overflowing its banks the past few days. It was the first river in my life. The current flooding made me remember when I was a kid, sitting in the backseat  our car looking out the window, as we drove over a huge viaduct with just a skinny stream surrounded by huge patches of dry land beneath us.

The Virgin River in Zion National Park. I remember when this river tore out the Zion Canyon Road after a heavy rain. The time is fondly remembered as the camping trip from hell. -- Photo by Pat Bean

The Virgin River in Zion National Park. I remember when this river tore out the Zion Canyon Road after a heavy rain. The time is fondly remembered as the camping trip from hell. — Photo by Pat Bean

I wondered, back then, why the bridge was so long and high. And then the rains came, and I understood the necessity of the bridge and the vacant land, which had suddenly become part of the river.

The Trinity River was the reason John Neely Bryan decided to establish the settlement, which would become Dallas. He thought the site would be a great place for a great port, but he was wrong. The Trinity River’s ebbs and flows were too fickle to allow reliable navigation. But if you knew where to go, one could find a cool, quiet place to swim on a hot summer day back in the 1940s and early ‘50s — when I was a kid.

The next river in my life was the Brazos. I met it when I lived on the Texas Gulf Coast for 15 years during the late 1950s, all of the’ 60s and the early ‘70s. I swam in it, fished in it, caught crabs in it, sat beside it and canoed it. It was also the river in which I saw my first water moccasin and first alligator.

The waters of these two Texas rivers were usually brown and muddy, which is why I was so surprised at the next two streams that became a part of my life, Utah’s Logan and Ogden rivers. Bubbling down from mountain springs fed by snow melt, these smaller rivers were cold and clear as a crystal glass. They gurgled and sang as they made their way downstream.

Nothing gave me more pleasure than finding a hiking trail that ran beside them, or the joy of tubing a stretch of these rivers through a narrow canyon

The Snake River below Jackson, Wyoming. Photo by Pat Bean

The Snake River below Jackson, Wyoming. Photo by Pat Bean

It wasn’t until 1983, however, when I became acquainted with the river that would turn me into a passionate white-water rafter. For the next 20 years, after that first introduction to a six-mile stretch of the Snake between Hagerman and Bliss, every summer would find me floating the Snake (an annual trip below Jackson, Wyoming), and other rivers as well.

I’ve rafted through the Grand Canyon on the Colorado River twice, paddled the River of No Return (the Salmon), taken a wild ride down the South Fork of the Payette, and captained a raft down the Green River through Dinosaur National Park.

I feel as if these rivers are a part of who I am. They have made me stronger because I’ve challenged them, humbled because I’ve tasted their power and been lucky to escape alive, and thoughtful about their tenacity to keep rolling on, wearing down obstacles through eons of time in their effort to reach the sea and start the process all over again.

 

Bean Pat: The Outer Banks after a storm http://tinyurl.com/k37fyjd

 

 

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“There is an eagle in me that wants to soar, and there is a hippopotamus in me that wants to wallow in the mud.” — Carl Sandburg

Although I saw no bear or fish, this majestic sculpture I left behind in Salmon, Idaho, was a fair representation of the wild and mostly secluded landscape my journey took me on this day. -- Photo by Pat Bean

My drive the next day was awesome. Not only did it take me through spectacular scenery it treated me to the sight of two bald eagles soaring against a cliff backdrop that heightened the details of their flight. Two adults, white heads glistening in the sunlight, flew before me, their magnificent wings stretched out gathering in the wind.

I understand the reasoning of Ben Franklin, who wanted the turkey to be this country’s national emblem because the bald eagle is a scavenging thief. But had he, I wondered, ever seen their majesty as I had this day. Not even the day I counted 149 bald eagles sitting around on the ice and in trees at Farmington Bay in Utah a half dozen years ago could compare.

The sighting came outside of Missoula, Montana, on Highway 90 through the Lolo National Forest.

Earlier in the day, I had driven for a ways along the Salmon River, bringing to the forefront grand memories of a raft trip I had taken down it through the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness Area. While I’m always reminding myself to live in the present and not the past, these memories, I decided, were part of this day and it was right to acknowledge them.

Leaving the Salmon River behind, I entered the Bitterroot National Forest and its poetic inspiring landscape.  Winding rivers, snow-capped mountains, roadside deer, purple, blue and yellow wildflowers. The entire 140-miles from Salmon to Missoula on Highway 93 were designated scenic byways.

Normally I would have stopped in Missoula, but storms were predicted for the next day and so I drove on, intending to reach my destination at Farragut State Park in the Idaho Panhandle, still almost 200 miles away by mid-afternoon. While it was indeed a long day’s drive for me, the sight of the eagles had vanished any weariness. It was as if I had a pair of bald eagles cheering me on the entire rest of the journey.

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 “The trouble with weather forecasting is that it’s right too often for us to ignore it and wrong too often for us to rely on it.” — Patrick Young

Snow was plentiful on my journey up and over 8,700-foot Galena Pass, but thankfully the roadway was dry. ... Photo by Pat Bean

Dodging Storms

After leaving Lake Walcott, my travels took me up Highway 75 to Ketchum, which sits in full view of the awesomely ragged Sawtooth Mountains. I checked into the Meadows RV Park on the outskirts of town for one night, expecting to travel on the next morning. I awoke, however, to four inches of snow on the ground beside my RV.

Staying in Ketchum had more appeal to me than meandering on down the road, so that’s exactly what I did.

The next morning, thankfully, I awoke to a clear sky, which soon had me packing up my RV. These pre-road chores include unhooking water and electricity land connections, kicking the tires and walking around the RV on the outside, then making sure everything is in its proper confined space on the inside. The last thing I looked around for was my coffee cup. It’s been know to escape my attention and the result isn’t pretty.

My grand drive this day took me up and over 8,700-foot Galena Pass. I saw plenty of snow along the way, but thankfully none of it was on the road. Arriving early afternoon in Salmon, the gateway for rafters going down “The River of No Return,” I decided to treat myself to a late lunch in a restaurant.

Bertram’s Pub and Brewery looked the most inviting. It was a good choice,I decided as I drank down the last swallow of the dark, award-winning Sacajaweja beer I had ordered to go with my Belly Buster hamburger, two thirds of which went back to the RV with me in a doggie bag. Maggie did get a bite, but the burger also made a filling dinner for me.

The Salmon River, also known as "The River of No Return." For the record, one can return up it. I did. After a five-day white-water rafting trip, a jet boat took two hours to return me to my starting point at Corn Creek near Salmon. ... Photo by Pat Bean

I awoke the next morning to rain, and a forecast of snow about 5,000 feet. Some of the passes I needed to cross were above 7,000 feet. I decided it was yet another good day to stay put here at Salmon’s Century RV Park. And so I did, feeling as if someone had hit the replay button.

Copyrighted by Pat Bean

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