Last week I was in Arizona, enjoying the company of fellow outdoor lovers as we paddled down the Colorado River through Marble Canyon and Horseshoe Bend.
Normally today would be a “Wednesday Words” post, but I’ve got to share my canyon discoveries with you after catching up on all things home this week!
Day One: The Journey Begins
We were really looking forward to beautiful warm Arizona weather, and the forecast predicted daytime temperatures in the sixties with only a few hours of rain on the last day of our trip.
On the first day, we hopped on a boat with new Outdoor Nations Network friends at Lees Ferry that took us upriver almost to the Glen Canyon Dam. The view was amazing before we even left the dock!
After the boat dropped us off upstream, we packed up our kayaks and canoes and paddled or drifted a short way down to the Ropes Trail Campsite along the riverbank.
We set up our tents and did a little exploring around the area before gathering around the campfire for dinner and conversation, and stayed up until after the moon rose above the canyon wall.
We enjoyed our time together listening to each other’s stories and encouraging one another in what God is doing in our lives.
Day Two: Beautiful Sights Abound!
In the morning we gathered around for hot coffee and breakfast, shared a few encouraging thoughts about God and his creation, and went off to spend alone time with him before packing up and setting off downriver for the day.
We paddled downriver for a few miles, and stopped off at Mile 10 (measured from Lees Ferry) for lunch and a short hike up to view petroglyphs. If you know me, you won’t be surprised to discover what I chose to capture with my camera. I apologize for the lack of historical sights while I focused on the living flora and fauna in the area! It was a bit breezy, so my subjects had trouble sitting still . . .
After lunch, we reboarded our floating vessels and traveled downstream to Nine Mile Camps, where we stopped for the night. This campsite is directly across from the Horseshoe Bend viewing platform atop the opposite canyon wall, and we could see the crowd above taking in the magnificent view!
We set up our tents and took a bit of time to explore before gathering once again around the campfire for dinner.
My last two pics are from this site, just before my cellphone battery died. I kept seeing these beautiful bushes growing along the river, and thought they were full of white autumn flowers. Nope! Those are all puffy seeds, many of which blew around and stuck in the mesh of our tent before we even went to bed that night.
Overnight the wind picked up to 60 mph or so. Our tent was buffeted, and dust flew up under our rain fly and into the tent. We woke with crunchy sand in our teeth and gritty faces.
We quickly packed up in the morning before rain blew in. There was a lull in the rain while we got into our kayaks and canoes, and we looked forward to warming temperatures as we paddled downriver.
But alas, we were in for a surprise. The winds picked back up, and started blowing rain and sleet in our faces! We were battling against the wind, even with the river current trying to carry us into it. At times it seemed we were just sitting still, no matter how hard and deep we dug with our oars.
We made it to Six Mile Camps, where seven of us ended up huddled together in a camp toilet to get out of the weather. One couple in our group had rented an inflatable raft for our trip, and they were getting pushed back upriver in the crazy wind and rain. They called for a rescue boat, and I gladly asked to jump aboard!!
Out of the ten of us who started out the first day, four managed to paddle all the way back to the dock. The rest of us ended up being rescued. What an adventure!
Even after the crazy third day of the trip, everyone involved agreed they’d do it all over again in a heartbeat. There’s just something about going through it all together that makes the fight worth it!
Life and the River
Our trip downriver was a lot like life on this earth.
The river itself is much longer than the small section we traveled, and God’s got the whole thing in his sight from beginning to end.
Our lives are just a speck in the timeline of history, yet God sees from before Genesis until forever after Revelation, and every moment in between. Nothing is hidden from his gaze.
Our journey had peaceful days where we could just drift with the river’s current.
Our lives have seasons of peace, serenity, and rest, when we simply flow in the current of God’s care for us.
And then we were wolloped by strong winds and rain that forced us to paddle with all the strength we had.
Life also brings seasons that force us to fight against the stormy winds howling in our faces, making us dig in with all we’ve got.
No matter what stretch of river we’re on today, we are not alone! Weary travelers we may be, but we have companions journeying along beside us. And even better, we have a God who has promised to never leave us, even when we go through fire and flood!
Have you lost sight of the ones traveling with you, or forgotten the hands that hold you fast? Look up and look out — you are not alone, friend!