Wednesday, July 15, 2009

What I did on my summer vacation - part 1: sometimes Thoreau is wrong

I was groggy with sleep, grief, and the remnants of a cold and laryngitis, when a phone call from N offered me a place on their 4th of July weekend trip. I heard something about river trip, and North Umpqua, and impulsively said sure. She said to bring clothing that I didn't mind getting wet, and salad fixings for six.

When I woke up the next day slightly more clearheaded, I wondered just what I had agreed to...

Spent some time with the reference library that never sleeps and I was more than a bit nervous; my most adventurous/only previous river experience involved an afternoon canoe trip on the placid Charles River outside Boston, drifting among the willows and waterlilies. The prospect of time away from the city and out in the woods was very appealing, I made cutoffs from an old pair of fleece pants, and a trip to REI yielded Keen water sandals, which I had been wanting and saving for months to buy anyhow, (the next weekend would be OCF, with miles of walking every day).

The whitewater rafting trip was amazingly delightful. Rather than being too scared to have fun, I was having waaay too much fun to be scared. I realised that rafting is like meditation, you have to be totally in the now to be able to do it at all. The North Umpqua is beautiful, and we saw many butterflies, turkey vultures not only aloft but also hanging out on the ground near the riverbank, and a young osprey catching a fish.

There were more delights in store for that weekend: In the evening, after the whitewater rafting, we hiked in to Umpqua Hot Springs. I love hot springs, and was glad I decided to go along, the setting was spectacular and the warm/hot water felt wonderful, though I found the log bridge across the river rather challenging. Pushing the edges of my comfort zone is a good thing.

The next morning, a waterfall excursion to Clearwater Creek Falls and Watson Falls, both beautiful and quite different from each other.
. . . .
On the way home the next day, we toured the Safari Park just outside Roseburg. Very different from an urban zoo, the animals have much larger open areas to live in. They have quite a large breeding population of cheetahs there, which was interesting to learn about, and I enjoyed seeing animals on the range and in the brushy habitat.
giraffe in the woods
~ : ♥ : ~
I think that the reason it is called recreation is that it can re-create you, bringing you back to your self. Being in the woods, being in the now, being on (and in) the water, was very healing for me. Many thanks to my friends for the gift of a weekend adventure that did me a great deal of good.


  1. Awesome! I love the Umpqua! If you get a chance the Boulder Creek area is amazing, at least it was a few years ago. I haven't been there for about almost 10 years. I haven't been to the Umpqua Hot Springs but will keep it mind. Hope you "faired" well last weekend.

  2. I love everything about this. :-)