River Rambles on the San Juan

I floated down a river. It was really nice. Here’s a little something I wrote, and some pictures I took. If you’ve ever considered making your way down a desert river on some sort of inflatable vessel, I would highly recommend making that dream a reality. ASAP.

Floating down the river you feel you could be anywhere. At least I do. Can’t speak for you, don’t even want to. Funny the way we talk.

I’ve heard people describe this water as brown, but I feel that betrays a lack of imagination. Drab olive green, some indiscriminate shade of army fatigues is more like it if you ask me.

This river goosenecks as apparently boaters say. As far as I can tell it just goes along its merry way. Slow but steady, not in any kind of hurry, just moving right along.

Travel of this variety seems to manifest a certain degree of amicability. I find myself feeling fraternal towards the lime green tamarisk strands waving on the shore. Are they native? Invasive? At this very moment I couldn’t care less. All the world of right and wrong is down the river somewhere far away. I ain’t keeping score.

Or am I waxing philosophical? Which came first, the chicken or the Twain? You know, it’s a thing in writing life and art that you’re not supposed to go saying the same darn thing as too many folks that’ve said it before. That’s called being trite. Cliche. Sposed to be more original than that. And don’t throw in too many cutesy wootsie rhymes either if you can help it. That’s what they say. Oh well. I’d like to think Mr. Clements wouldn’t mind. Riveres are in red white and olive drab camo green American blood. And floating along like a ne’erdowell free of all industry not doing or achieving nothing is my god-given birthright as a member of this proud nation. Or now am I channeling Abbey?

I don’t mind either way. Feels like I’m in fine company. I’d just as soon called it Down the River if I didn’t half worry someone would sue me.

But now I’m getting all carried away like a hot air balloon. No cause for it. Blue sky. Red cliff. All these horizontal bands of stone running through time. Juniper sage brush Mormon tea and pine. Not bad at all.

Couple of ravens up there above the canyon rim. And a whole horde of Canadian Geese accompanying us all the way down. I know I’m not supposed to like em much or think highly of a thing so common as a goose, but I don’t mind admiring their handsome faces, those jet black eyes, and the pleasant look of them when they fly. Crispin saw a big ol’ beaver and an old indian cob of corn so we got that going for us. This is wilderness sure as sugar.

Is this wilderness? Ah, to hell with it. I’m not even gonna start down that stream of consciousness. At least not today. Too much to this just floating away.


One comment

  • Hey Chris,

    Just got off a four day trip on the San Juan from Mexican Hat to Clay Hills. Interesting to see the difference in water. We had 8,000cfs and boogied down the river almost too quickly for my liking. Limited time on the river and lots of time for reflecting and side hikes. What a trip though. Amazing landscape and we were treated to several shows by bighorn sheep. I too would heartily suggest getting on a desert river ASAP.



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