A slide show of my work on redbubble.com

Apr 22, 2008

Cheyenne River near Bridger, SD

A very beautiful river but not the greatest experience during the summer. We did a trip between Bridger and Cherry Creek but got out somewhere in between those two points when temperatures hit a record high of 114 degrees and we were dragging our canoes over sandbars more than we were paddling them.
The second day of our trip, we got up very early to try to beat the heat. It was already quite hot at 6 a.m. but we set out anyway. By about noon we were really suffering and my son and I climbed a rather high bluff to try to get a birds eye view of the landscape HOPING that we would spot the town of Cherry Creek or at least a ranch or road that would lead us out of the river!
I brought my 12 year old daughter and 14 year old son along with me and it was so hot at 9a.m. that they ate breakfast in the water. The water itself was as warm as bathwater. They couldn't wear shorts or take a shirt off either, because the sandflies were so thick and biting so badly that we all wore clothing for protection. At the end of the day there were welts and blood from the bites - the flies were so awful! The scenery was probably quite nice but we mostly will remember the heat and flies and a bull that wouldn't move out of the way in the river. As much hardship as we seemed to have to endure, the kids remarkably commented that they were glad they did this trip with me, and the two who stayed home were even jealous of our "adventure". (It was truly nothing to be envied although we did come away with some good stories.)
One of the funniest things that happened was after we got out of the river. Our "rescuer", a native american cowboy, pulled our canoes out of the river with a lariat rope and put them in the back of his horse trailer. While we were chatting on the way back to Bridger, he told us that he had had to perform a "dirty deed" that morning - and was trying to eradicate prairie dogs from his pasture. Growing up in the Midwest I understand the nuisance these little critters can create to farmers and ranchers, but my friend from Ottawa, Ontario who has spent very little time outside a city, responded with the question, "Why? Were they attacking your cattle?"
Boy, did we look like idiots. I tried to cover for my urban friend but it was apparent we were out of our element.

Big Sioux River near Newton Hills State Park

This is a section of the Big Sioux River just a couple miles from Newton Hills State Park. We stopped here for lunch.

Earth Day cruise; Flandreau, SD

My daughters and I headed up to Flandreau, SD on Saturday, April 19th for a short canoe trip with the South Dakota Canoe Kayak Association. It was their first event of the season and my first time paddling with a big group! We had a good time, and while I certainly will not abandon my quiet solo trips, there were some real advantages to sharing the experience with others. Knowing someone else already scouted out the route puts your mind at ease, especially when you have your kids along. I made the mistake last summer of taking on a section of the Cheyenne river - not being familiar with the course at all, and my kids will never forgive me for dragging them into THAT experience! I will post a separate account of that journey on this blog.

I managed to get a few nice pictures of Saturday's trip. I think the Big Sioux River is one of my favorite. This particular 7-8 miles of river is farther north than other sections I've floated and I found there were fewer places for just pulling over to let the kids run about. Farther south, along the Newton Hills region there are many rocky, sandy places to dock and I rather enjoy that option.

Apr 18, 2008

New Kayak!

After struggling to grapple with a 17 ft. aluminum canoe all by myself last summer, I have finally down-sized into a small kayak (30 pounds lighter!!) which I bought last weekend. I still have my two Osage canoes for when the family agrees to go along with me. But I needed something for those solo floats! This is my first time EVER in a kayak and I would have preferred to put it in a lake for her maiden voyage, but I am impatient and got tired of sitting in it on the grass on my front lawn so I took it to the Vermillion River on Wednesday evening and "put in" for a short one mile paddle. It glides through the water so nice and quiet! I wanted to keep going but it was near dusk. I'm looking forward to more creeks and meadows as the 2008 paddling season begins!

*** The picture was taken with my husband's cell phone from the canoe that he and my son were paddling.
***I bought this kayak at Scheels in Sioux Falls. For more info and specs related to the kayak I chose to purchase you can visit this web site. http://www.hurricaneaquasports.com/santee-116-sport.html

Apr 16, 2008

Carving out my "niche"

Rivers need a course to run on and by their nature seek out places that will give them passage. Our hearts and beliefs too, spring forth from deep places and look for an avenue to flow in: Through a deep canyon, a quiet meadow, the rolling hills of a prairie pasture or perhaps tumbling over the rocks of a mountainous place waters will gush forth.

Spiritually speaking, perhaps the most rewarding place for streams of consciousness to issue forth is within the context of loving, nurturing relationships. As the years flow swiftly by on the current of time, one begins to hope there is some part of themselves that will leave a lasting mark on the face of this earth.

I have poured my heart and passion into photographing and writing about the places (physical and spiritual) that have given my wanderings in life substance and depth. Being able to share that with others, even though they may be strangers at the time, is the greatest joy in life.