Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Lots of Room, With a View

Here's a first look at our intended stop on Saturday night.

It's about the size of Fenway Park which is good because it looks like we're going to have enough paddlers for two full size baseball teams - so we can reenact game 7 of the Series.

It's big enough for two kitchen fires and any number of auxiliary, social fires.

Although it's high enough to ride out a flash flood, this trip was planned for a drought and in fact it is only possible in low-water conditions. We will explain why - along with other curiosities of this particular section of river (like "The Whirl") sometime prior to the trip. In the meantime, don't assume that all of this rain is a good thing.

We'll also get a rare panoramic view right from the river...

Goodbye to a River, p. 126:

A river has few "views." It seeks the lowest line of its country, straight or crooked, and what you see when you travel along it are mostly river and sky and trees, water and clouds and sun and shore. Things a quarter-mile away exist for you only because you know they are there; your consciousness of them is visual only if you walk ashore to see them. For a man who likes rivers, most of the time that is all right; for a man who seeks sharp solitude, it's special.

But sometimes, too, the shores close in a bit as room walls will, and you crave more space. . . . Now, without having thought about doing so, I clambered up ledges, hoisting the pup at spots, to the top of the bluff.

"Standing Rock" on the Buffalo River

I was out of breath when I got there, but it was a fine spot and worth the climb. As you stand there on weathered solid stone, the lowlands roll south and east from below you to the horizon; your eye can trace fifteen miles or so of the river's course as it meanders over sand, slower and flattened, between tall bright cottonwoods and oaks and pecans, and where you can't see it you can guess it, and can guess too the things around it, knowing them.

View to southeast from "Standing Rock"on the Buffalo

Though it's nothing much in comparison to the vistas you get in real mountains, after a week in the Brazos's winding trough, it dizzied me a little; it made fun of what I had been doing. Heights have that kind of humor.

Buffalo River, river mile 17.


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