Words by Greg
Photos by Greg and Trina
It's late afternoon on what may be the hottest spring day ever. We drive to the river. This is the river? Stinky sluggish flow. Not much to it this year. Just what is left after being sucked out to water crops, wash cars, promote industry, maybe even to drink. We float away, bikes, packs, dogs stacked on top of rafts. Float across a threshold. Out of the familiar rush and bustle and into a kind of quiet.
Canyon walls rise. Sky burns. Birds call out not to us. The dirty water slides to the lowest point and we slide with it. Narrow channels through gravel bars. Roller waves in the funnel. We point and shoot. Dogs cling. We float across a threshold. Out of the afternoon and into evening.
We stop on a mudbank. Rafts pulled from the wet. Walk in shadow past spring cottonwood trees. Jump rocks. Follow the small dry path where water flow sometimes, not now. Then back to rafts. The river. Floating. Chasing the sunlight that runs up the canyon walls ahead. We do not catch it.
On a stumble-rock bank we roll up rafts. Load up bikes. Hike and push. Then ride. Familiar trail feels new with our unfamiliar loads. Familiar flow is sluggish. But not stinky. Trail and tumble. Rock and ledge. Dogs romp. Wheels roll. We ride across a threshold. Out of evening and into night.
Planets, stars, a slice of moon in a sky going blue to black. The air is summer with dust and sage. So warm on the skin it feels like home. Like there is nowhere else to be. We remain where we are but where we are keeps changing as we roll slowly through darkness. Tires draw a line of sound from gravel. Small paws punctuate. We are nearly invisible now and exist mostly in our own ears. We cross a threshold.
The sound of our motion recedes. Diesel growls in metal cages. Petrol power purrs. The noise of motor-driven tires grows until we are small. The slice and spit of gravel beneath us is nothing and lost in the familiar rush and bustle. We find the truck in the dark. Rafts, bikes, dogs stowed. Our own motor joins the rush. We bustle toward home. Unsure of where we are going. Most of us remains where we have been.