Women on the River

The River
By Marilyn Karras
  |  Gorp.com
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Goofing off in the Great Outdoors
Goofing off in the Great Outdoors

If the rafting trip was a party, the river was our hostess. She provided transportation, bathing facilities, entertainment, decor. But there was much more than that. The river and the canyon she has carved through rocks a billion years old provided more than a backdrop for four days of sheer enjoyment and beauty. Bighorn mountain sheep, antelope and deer, great blue herons, hawks and Canadian geese watched with curiosity as the rafts passed through their land.

Buzz Holmstrom, who traveled the Green River alone through the same canyon and left his name on a rock so future rafters like us would remember him, wrote in his diary in 1937:

I think this river is not treacherous as it has been said to be. Every rapid speaks plainly just what it is and what it will do to a person and a boat in the currents, waves, boils, whirlpools and rocks if only one will listen carefully. Anyone whom it allows to go through its canyons and see its wonders should feel thankful and privileged....

The river probably thought, "He is such a lonesome, ignorant, unimportant and insignificant pitiful little creature with such a short time to live that I will let him go this time and try to teach him something."

And there is much to be learned from the river: How to work, how to listen to and really see the surroundings, how to forget the rest of the world for a time, how to laugh.

As one of a group of women, you may learn that you are stronger and more self-reliant than you thought, that women are intelligent, powerful, and supportive, and that they need one another and enjoy relationships that endure.

On this trip, Mary Kay was a mother accompanying her daughter Jamie, a guide. Susan Ann brought her daughter-in-law Rebecca. Susan Ann and Arlene have been friends for 45 years. They all enjoyed a close companionship that was, by the end of the trip, reflected in the bonds that grew among all members of the group.

Talk around a portable campfire continued long into the night. Under a billion stars, the women discussed everything from their careers to their families to politics. They talked about what it's like to make a marriage work after 30 years and how to live happily single. A few jokes that are best not reprinted here had everyone crying with laughter.


Published: 29 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication

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