The river races downhill to find the sea in the end but in its journey passes along the most amazing scenery. At first the water behind the dam is placid, gently flowing even hardly moving it seems. I dangle my arm into the water and it is cool, not cold but a refreshing dip against the scorching heat. My inflatable raft slowly meanders, as though the river is guiding me.
I see something and row to shore to find some petroglyphs which are subtle reminders of years past when indians camped along these banks, handprints and crude drawings of animals, perhaps wishing for a good hunt. I linger having a sandwich and big gulps of water and wonder about these people from the past surviving on their own, skilled hunters and gatherers a nomadic life dependent on the seasons. It is so quiet as though the rock walls absorb all sound and I am completely serenely and alone. But I know what is ahead and must continue my journey.
The river becomes narrower the water more free flowing and I am on alert, anticipating what I think I know what is coming. The oars are really too big for my hands and arms, but I know their power will be needed for the tough stuff ahead.
The cliffs seem to rise up ever higher and close in on either side and I am running much faster. I do my best to keep myself on course and as we gain speed I am on the lookout for boulders just beneath the surface. They cause a slight eddy and I know the dangers and must read the water well. I strain against the power of the oars trying desperately to stay on course. I must pace my energy knowing full well that things are going to be more difficult.
The soaring red cliffs begin to funnel the river into a rushing roaring frenzy and I am beaten about, thrown against the side of the raft and I must regain control or I will be a goner. Water crashes over the sides of my craft dashing buckets full on over my heated body and it seems all of Nature’s forces are working against me. But I will regain control and at the end of the journey at the sea I will beach my craft and walk along the shore of the affluent river now just a gentle beast exhausted from its journey southward.
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