Wednesday, June 24, 2009

All quiet on the western front

The river west of Grand Junction, Ruby and Horse-thief Canyons, is one of my favorite spots in the state. On weekdays you can count on it to be pretty quiet. The week-end rafters have rafted on. There's not much traffic apart from a family of river otters swimming along the bank. You'll see an occasional Bald Eagle perched high in the cottonwoods. Swallows dart to and fro from their little mud made huts. Ducks and chicks skate along the river surface escaping our presence. Hawk rises in late afternoon and soars above the canyon wall, scouring the river below for prey.

In camp a slithering bull snake crosses our path. The morning brings fresh cat tracks on the damp sand. Bob Cat? Lynx? Mountain Lion? Raccoon tracks too. Blackbirds flutter in the tamarisk trees. Flies and tiny biting bugs are everywhere. The sun pierces to the pore. Shade is a coveted commodity—it creeps from tree to tree. We trade from one tamarisk to the next. Darting lizards leave their tiny twisting tracks in the sand. Speaking of, on our morning stroll we surprised a young couple in the throes of carnal ecstasy. I wanted to take a picture but I felt embarrassed for them stuck together like sinners on the burning sand. Discreetly, we walked around and resumed our stroll.

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