The Salmon River in Idaho is the longest free-flowing river in the lower 48. Its unpolluted waters cut through rocky canyons dotted with white sand beaches, and peppered with exciting rapids and a plethora of wildlife.
Earlier this Sept. my spousal equivalent and I had the privilege of joining other family members to spend 4 nights and 5 days on this lovely river on a fully guided raft trip courtesy of Salmon Raft based in McCall, ID. A fully guided trip means that a group of lively 20 somethings take care of all your needs- among them navigating the rafts, cooking fabulous meals, doing the dishes, and loading and unloading your gear. Our crew were champs, always smiling and gracious even after a long day of rowing. I was a raft guide as a young woman one summer in Arctic Alaska so I know how hard a guide can work.
The gear boat went ahead in the morning so when we arrived at our campsite everything was set up including our tents. Our job was to enjoy the view from the rafts, learn about the geology, wildlife, and history from our guides, swim, and fish. Two small inflatable kayaks called “duckies” were available for the more adventuresome. We are kayakers so paddling these little “sport car kayaks” were a highlight of our trip.
With a knee injury, I had to pass on a hike to a historical cabin and a bit of cliff jumping but I did get to a waterfall close to the river. We spotted several bands of big horned sheep and a golden eagle overhead. I read the stories of the rocks in the canyons of columnar basalt and serpentine imagining their formation during volcanic time millions of years ago as we floated past. Then the ever changing river was captivating, from placid swirls of current and eddies to raucus rapids. Going through them were like wet bucking bronco rides waves spashing over us as we hung on laughing.
In camp, we read, napped, and enjoyed pleasant conversation during meals and over cards and games of dominoes. There was no cell phone service. We were blissfully unplugged and relaxed.
I so enjoyed the comradery of this trip, the chance to be fully immersed in nature, kayaking through rapids, poking around on the beaches for interesting rocks and treasures, and the opportunity to just BE. It’s a treat to go to sleep to the lullaby of a river and wake to the call of canyon wrens announcing a new day. Why go on a cruise when you can enjoy the magic of a wild river? I highly recommend it.
Pay attention, be astonished, tell about it.Mary Oliver
I notice small things. This probably started when I started birding and identifying plants in college. Little brown birds become wrens, those spikey white flowers in a bog become bog orchids, rocks in a canyon tell stories.
As I slow down and notice things around me, the world becomes less chaotic. When my cell phone is left behind and the portal to insanity shut off I can sit on the porch step and notice the honey bees probing in the flowers of autumn joy sedum and the variety of clouds in the sky. Noticing helps me to be a more imaginative writer and artist.
A book, The Art of Noticing by Rob Walker, recently came to my attention via Austin Kleon’s blog. I checked it out from the library recently and have been impressed by the plethora of unique activities that will get the novice and experienced noticer into prime form. Enjoy taking a color walk, documenting odd things from a road trip like gas stations, writing a review of manhole covers or fire hydrants, start drawing, write a field guide to the dogs in your neighborhood, write a poem about the items for sale in the check out line of a store, stop talking and inventory what sounds you hear.
If you need help downshifting into observation mode this book has the tools to do so. Who needs Facebook and Instagram for entertainment when one knows how to notice? As a new hardback it’s around $15, or check it out from the library as I did. Everyday life will become full of new adventures.
It’s late summer and the berries are ripe and the apples are coming on. My sweetie and I have a tradition of riding our bikes down the road on a summer’s evening when the air is cool and picking enough wild blackberries to make a pie
Now, I am not the best pie baker, and sometimes I have been known to purchase a crust (Trader Joe’s is the best) but this time I dove in and made a gluten-free crust. We both agreed it was pretty good. Raymond likes Ice cream on his pie and I prefer yogurt.
Now the thing about eating a fresh-baked pie is that it’s pretty hard to be depressed about the world at large when you’re digging into a warm concoction of sweet berries and crust. In that moment nothing exists but the pie and the people enjoying it.
Never baked a pie? Don’t be intimidated. Have someone show you how to bake the crust, watch a YouTube video or just buy one. The fruit part is easy and it must be fresh!
Pie makes people happy. They should serve it at peace negotiations. Sit down at the table and serve the slices to the ones you care about. Serve with coffee, tea, and ice cream, or whipped cream if you prefer. Spread a little joy one pie at a time.
(sketches from my day planner)
Learn about the history of pies by watching this video