I discovered this sweet little stretch of river twenty years ago. Even in that short amount of time the path that follows the river as it exits its mountain lake has been changed, not by the river, by people. There’s a gate and some benches now, and a doggie mitt station at each end of the trail, but it hasn’t taken away from the magnificence of the river, which probably hasn’t changed in hundreds of years. It’s called the Wild Mile by kayakers, and crowds come to watch the fun, probably an event happening soon as the river is raging, giving good clearance over the rocks and creating swirling holes, rapids and a serious challenge. Thankfully I’ve never seen a crowd – that would totally spoil the charm.
I’ve walked the path and climbed down to the river with all my dogs. The most memorable was late in the fall, 1995 or so, when the water was low. My little black cocker girl found two rubber ducks tucked behind a huge slab of rock tilted into the water. They have duck races on this stretch of river (for fund raising, I think) and the two Cassidy found still wore their numbers. They were pretty beat up, somehow escaping a flock of yellow duckies released up river who knows how long ago. I put one of the little guys in the river and we watched it twirl and spin away, smiling at us as it bobbed out of sight. The other one we kept for years, a reminder of a good time in a great place.
This week I made time for another visit. Though it’s beautiful in the deep of winter, often draped with snow and shimmering with ice, we’re coming into spring now and access is easier, not to mention things are greening up, always a treat! Pussy willow tufts are decorating the willows that line the banks. Yellow glacier lilies are just ready to open along the shaded paths close to the water. The dogwoods haven’t leafed out yet, and their bare red branches are gorgeous in the foreground of the blue water. The roar of that blue water is amazing – all that water crashing its way west! I was a little nervous about the kids wading into the few backwashes of calm water; the current just a few feet away SO strong. The dogs seemed to know to be careful but I still hollered at them 🙂
It’s always with reluctance that I leave that soul-restoring place. It’s nice knowing it’s always going to be there, roaring now as I type, probably being rained on, leaving the path deserted and the few quiet pockets of water dimpled with drops. There are few consistencies in this world, thankfully some things continue on despite our intrusion, blessing us with their enduring splendor.