Several years ago, my Dad gave me a canoe.
He figgered he was getting a little long in the tooth for such exertion, and had other watercraft, anyway.
I live between two relatively pristine rivers…the Llano, and the San Saba…that appear to be made for such things. Around the same time, also thanks to Dad, I got really into Fly Fishing….for which our Rivers are also made.
This was a year or two before my legs finally went, although, at the time, I still worked, and could as yet get around pretty good. I was aware of the approaching Disability, though…and I think that this awareness played a large part in my drive for Exploration…I became something of a Fanatic for the Rivers…especially the Llano.
There is a stretch, about 10 miles, of the Llano…between White’s Crossing, and the 87 Bridge…that I came to know rather well. Massive cliffs of billion year old rock…deep pools, interrupted by rapids (Class I, and one or two Class II)…Green water in the pools, clear as air, in winter…Rock Garden at the lower end of My Stretch…Caves!...Overhangs…both with evidence of Smoke on the ceilings…I once found a Folsom Point, just lying there in a little pool.
There was never anyone else on the river, at the beginning…now, one can often be interrupted by a flotilla of kayaks…city people from a fly fishing club… staring at the naked hippie Fly Fisherman waist deep in Ladder Hole(essentially Wearing The River…lol).
I know My Stretch like the back of my hand….and even have the distinction of having performed the only Comprehensive Biological Survey(unpublished, alas) of that part of this River…at least that I can find.From Copepods to Crayfish to Minnows to Kingfishers to Ospreys…I kind of glossed over the Flora…I had intended to do a separate Survey of that.
I camped! Sometimes with my Older Son, and his buddies…but mostly alone. I have tried to make a point of camping over Spring Break…often when it’s still quite cold…and on Father’s Day…but as my Bones deteriorate, I find that I must bring more and more crap with me…this year, a damned mattress!(sucks getting Old and Broken)(This is designated my “Camping Mattress”) No more simple bedrolls, and sleeping on the ground…
Too, I fear the days of Exploration are over…at least by myself. I fear getting stuck…my hip could break…and there’s no cell service in the River.
A depressing development.
The feeling of floating down, straining to see around the next bend…
(“Something lost, Go and Find it…”)
I had intended to get a kayak(my canoe is sort of heavy), and go upriver to find the source…and to float the whole length of the River…and I have dreamed of a large Expedition…from Mason, all the way to Matagorda.Llano merges with the Colorado, in Kingsland…What a trip that would be!(about 2 months worth) Epic.
If I could film it…or even just take many pictures…it would have been a good coffee table book.
400+ miles, from White’s Crossing to the Mouth of the Colorado.
Oh , well…
I must be contented with what I Can do…it’s a month and a half till Spring Break…and I’m making lists of what I’ll need to stay at the Lion Tree, at Soldier’s Crossing, for 3 days, without inordinate Pain…What used to be Jeremiah Johnson meets the African Queen...is now more like the Snows of Kilimanjaro.