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.

1 comment:

Jay Heath said...

Dawne, I enjoyed your narratives of canoe and kayak trips. I also took a long trip on the Cheyenne River quite a few years ago. We set out in a flotilla of maybe seven canoes down Rapid Creek and, in two stages separated by seasons, ended at the Highway 63 Bridge south of Eagle Butte where the river enters the Missouri River. Those stages were done in May, when the water was high enough. The circumstances of the trip were less demanding than you described, perhaps because of the earlier dates - before bugs and shallow water make such a trip an ordeal. I have great memories of the gang cruising along while taking in the pretty exceptional scenery.

I appreciate your blog; it adds to the kayaking story here in South Dakota - a seemingly unlikely story, giving where we live. Would you like for me to link your blog to my site? If so, send me a message, and I will do it right away.

Best regards,

Jay Heath