Thursday, August 26

What I Did This Summer

Yesterday was “back to school” day in Poway. I was late for work… and I don’t even have kids in school any longer!

We live within one mile radius of four different schools, two elementary schools, one middle school and one high school. It was great when my kids were in school (btw they WALKED to school), but now we do everything in our power to avoid being remotely near the area during school hours… What happened to kids riding the school bus?? Why are they all empty.. and there are a gazillion cars on the road with one kid each in them…. Amazing.

But I digress…. More fondly I remember the first few days of returning to school and the teacher made you write a paper on “What I Did This Summer”… remember? Oh that actually was pretty miserable too…. As I was sure I had the most boring summers of any kid in my class….

But anywho, I thought I’d take a moment to tell you What I Did This Summer… Actually we don’t usually take “Summer” vacations per say … since we’re Empty Nesters, we have the luxury now to avoid the Summer crowds and generally vacation in the Spring or Fall… but this year we took off for a couple of weeks in July and checked off one of our Bucket List items… we went white water rafting! This was an act of faith on my part… “living on the river” for four days and three night… tent camping and sleeping on the ground… can’t remember the last time I did that…. Not even in our desert camping days as we’ve always had a camper or trailer or at least the back of the truck to rest our weary bones.

But nonetheless we signed up with OARS Tour Company… they have several locations and after much research and knowing we wanted to head toward Colorado, we selected the Green River going through the Dinosaur National Monument and through the Gates of Lodore It’s actually in the tippy top north east corner of Utah at about 9000 ft elevation.

They prepare you pretty well for the trip before hand… we had to either rent or bring our own tent, sleeping bags and pads/pillows. Of course limited amount of clothes and shoes, but mind you they insisted you have gear “for all seasons”… so in went the rain jackets along with the bathing suits… weird. We covered 45 miles on the river in basically four days.

If you’re familiar with rafting, it was a Class III river.. pretty mild actually (compared to the Class V we did in Alaska!)…. Minimum age was “7” so I figured.. if a 7 yr old could do this.. then I could do this.. right? First of all let me tell you were we the oldest couple in our group of 18 people plus 6 guides…. And it was really fun! We of course became “family” with everyone and the Guides were all so incredible… knowledgeable and personable… you couldn’t help but feel like family (Hey Judi if you’re reading this you still owe me that game of Farkle.. and Amy how’s the wrist healing?)

The rafting was pretty mild as the river water was at “medium” level… actually for that time of year it could have been lower so we were fortunate to experience what “rapids” we could. It was definitely a very relaxing trip… loved that the cooking was all done for us. Most days were we on the river by 9am and setting up camp by 4pm. They offered organized hikes 2-3 different times. The weather was great for the most part… probably about 85 during the day… only one afternoon had some consistent drizzles yet it was still pretty warm therefore humid. But we constantly wore a hat, kept us doused in sunscreen (and bug spray) and so we faired pretty well.

Their motto is Leave No Trace. And they are serious.. and we were glad. Because of that the entire National Park was BEAUTIFUL… not like any other Park we’ve ever seen. They literally teach you to not leave one crumb of food (we ate “over” the river as much as we could). We took all trash with us.. and I mean ALL. We learned to live with nature… and I do me “a la natural” when it comes to the serious business… think about that for awhile.

Here’s a few pictures you might enjoy…. First one is just paddling through one of the smaller rapids… I couldn’t take pictures of the larger ones as I was hangin’ on!!


Look closely at these next two… first is one of our lunch beach stops.. again notice how clean the sand is… not one speck of food, trash, paper.. anything. The second is one of our first camp sites… look closely at it.. you’ll see our Guides (aka Chefs) preparing dinner on the left… in the left far background you can see Jerry playing horseshoes with some of the others. To the right is the “living room” where they set up camp chairs every night. And notice the right front portion of the photo is the “key to the bathroom”…. you can barely see the yellow box. That was the container that held the TP. If it was sitting there that meant no one else was “down stream” so it was safe to take it and go… literally. You’ll also see the blue plastic water container and pump.. this was the “wash station”. You can see some of the tents in the background. Cozy hun?

Here's a couple of river rats:

and our traditional "Self Portrait"


We really did become friends with so many. Jerry and I especially took up with Tom, one of the guides, and his girlfriend Judi…. Aren’t they cute????

Tom even let Jerry paddle his boat for awhile….. in the calm waters that is.

It was one of those vacations I’ll never forget and am sooo glad we did. Seeing God’s creation in almost untouched form and living in nature was awesome. Now mind you do believe God determines the times and exact places that we should live…. That’s why he didn’t make me a pioneer in the 1800s nor a Plantation owner related to Huck Finn….

The last final day before we said our farewells, we snapped a shot of the awesome Guides.. and one “family group picture”…. Note the hats.. remember this was after 4 days of no shower or shampoo…. Be grateful you don’t have smell-a-vision.

After leaving the Raft Tour in Utah, we headed to Colorado to spend time with our friends Walt and Sheryl. That’s another story for another day…

Until then, keep those cards and letters coming in!

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