THE WAY OF THE RIVER

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There’s nothing that can compare to camping out beneath the stars while a cold, refreshing creek and a warm, playful river lullabies you to sleep. It’s a special moment to have such a stellar setting, one that is hard to come by unless your immersed inside a great, big wilderness. This particular setting took place on day two of a recent rafting trip down the Wild & Scenic stretch of the Rogue River.

This river is located in southern Oregon and after being birthed from Boundary Springs, which rests on the northern boundary of Crater Lake, it makes it’s way westward toward the Pacific Ocean. We rowed and paddled 35 miles from just above Grave Creek to Foster Bar. In route we had an incredible time as the weather was superb, with 90-degree temperatures beneath a bluebird sky. Fortunately, one of the most appealing things about this particular river is that although it’s source is a spring, by the time the water reaches this section, it’s cool, refreshing and relaxing. As a result, it makes for the perfect swim.

For three nights and four days we took our time savoring the joys of the river. It’s a peaceful setting with ample wildlife like black bear, Great Blue Heron, river otter, mink, deer, bald eagles, turtles, flopping fish and my favorite, the osprey. When my attention wasn’t being caught by the stir of animals, I was distracted—in a good way—by the motion of the river. But on land, I found myself distracted in other ways. They were all good, as at camp there were games, side-hikes, delicious food and copious amounts of drink to come by, but I found myself restless. Why in such a relaxing and peaceful setting would I feel restless? I should be able to take up a seat and kick my legs up and just sit, right? Well, despite being a private trip that I had put together with my closest friends and a couple of our moms—in addition to a very handsome raft guide/friend who I admit I developed quite the crush on—I still felt like I always needed to be doing something. A drink in hand couldn’t relax one of the undeniable characteristics that defines my existence. I can’t sit still. Part of this has to do with the fact that I was once a raft guide and it’s now ingrained in me to see that the trip runs smoothly, that everyone is fed and that everyone is having a good time. Sometimes it can be a little wearing on my nerves, but for the most part it’s exactly what I want to be doing.

That said, this inability to sit still got me thinking about thru-hiking, which as we all know is a daily if not hourly preoccupation at this point. I think what attracts me so much to backpacking months after months, is that I simply like to keep moving. I like to see the world transform around me and further, I love seeing the transformation in myself. Like the walls of the river and like the mountains above, we constantly change.

Those are some of my thoughts about this last adventure. I’ll be sure to add a few more soon.

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