"I dream of a hard and brutal mysticism in which the naked self merges with the nonhuman world and somehow survives...Paradox and bedrock."-Edward Abbey

11 July 2014

Old Man River

Hanging Lake did not impress me to rocket science. Oh, sure, the color of the water bordered upon supernatural, and one could be forgiven for thinking such a lake is out of place in a Colorado canyon, perhaps instead belonging somewhere tropical of fantastical-never mind that home state is fantastical. The geology of the canyon itself was certainly easy on the eyes.

It was a whore, a conga line. I do not go on walkabout to be surrounded by a few hundred eking and scratching half-bald primates who call themselves Man. I'll hang out in a town for that brain damage. The trail, whilst steep and rocky was strangely well-groomed with plenty of little places to ooo and aww at the sterilized nature.

"This is fucking Disneyland with fucking rocks!" I growled to myself as I pressed up the eleven-hundred foot climb, the whole mile and ten percent grade done in a half hour on my long shanks.

Sabina, when she caught up, asked me if seeing unicorns and fairies would've made the hike better. She asked me if my relentless march to see this lake that supposedly should be on everyone's metaphoric bucket list-if you're going to be so boring as to die, and I've never been good at doing what everyone else should do-calmed my vitriol. She was glad I didn't go up to Spouting Rock without her and just marched back to Old Scratch to go back home, a-snarling and a-stabbing as I went.

Now, I concede that Spouting Rock was pretty neat. The rain that began to fall as we made that climb left the triple-jetting waterfall to just a handful of people, and the ensuing downpour left just us. The droplets were cooling, both literally and figuratively.

I was a bit slower going down, but Sabina still joked that with my trek poles I spidermaned-new word, like it?-along the rocks. The rain ended halfway down and the humidity shot up. We were at a lower elevation than we usually trek, and I noticed the slightly thicker atmosphere.

It was the river coursing through the canyon that held my attention. Once, someone drunkenly told me had there not already been a Rio Grande, the Colorado would've been named the Grand for its headwaters, just a few hours from my front door. I doubt that story, but have never bothered to research it further.

What I beheld was the one of the major arteries of the 'Merican Maghreb. The river of Powell and Abbey. Something of power, beauty, death, and terror. Perhaps even enlightenment, if you knew how to listen.

I knelt by the river, and slowly put my hand to its chocolate surface. This wasn't the first time I'd seen the Colorado, or even been near it, but something intangible told me this was important. The water was cooler than the large rivers I remembered from my southern exile. Slowly, I removed my spectacles and took a deep breath.

With a splash! my head was underwater. I shook it there a bit before pulling out of the river. Water cascaded down my face and through my thick, wavy hair. I put back on my spectacles and saw Sabina was regarding me with an amused look.

"Nice," she said. "How was it?"

"Invigorating," I replied with a smirk. "You should try it some time."

The river in question, the Colorado, meandering through Glenwood Canyon...


  1. I had a somewhat similar experience the only time I've been on the Colorado. Two friends and I camped at Lee's Ferry and for two days went on a guided trip up Marble Canyon, fishing. It's a beautiful place, and the stretch for several miles below the dam the river is crystal-clear. However, jetting up the river on a 20ft boat along with several other boats, and seldom being out of sight of other groups rather marred the whole experience. Glad I did it, once.

    This weekend is the Montana Folk Festival here, it's estimated that 100,000 people will be here, a town of 25,000. I'm tempted each year to find old appliances and put them in the front yard, maybe a rusted out '71 Chevy.

    1. I can see where something like that would lead to murder thoughts. It cheapens everything, making me leery of the popular places. Still, like you, I can say I've done Hanging Lake...once.

      We're dealing with the Triple Bypass bike race this weekend. The idea of junking out the residence is fantastic. Now I just need to get in touch with a scrapper...

  2. Oh you're a jealous lover of your land. Let them come...soon they'll be long gone, but you'll still be there to appreciate the quiet wonder they will never know. That would make me smile... ;D

    1. Hey now, jealousy is a sin. I learned about that in one of them-thar moving picture shows with Morgan Freeman, Brad Pitt, and Kevin Spacey, and we all know those moving picture shows never lie.

      Never mind that the concept of sin does not really exist in Buddhism...

      The experience gave me a deeper understanding of some Edward Abbey's rants, that's for certain...