The River’s Spell

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RYANS SON

Have you ever wondered why some kids, or the kid in us, is so drawn to the power of water that we are compelled to cast a stone into the middle of all that attraction? It is rarely just simple enough to only look at such an attraction. The magnetism is so strong that it compels us to want to be connected to it. The arch of the stone we toss is our tie to that body of water, like some invisible strand that a spider cast from the webs middle to pull us into its center.

It is like some Shaman putting us into a spell-binding state that our behavior is transfixed into that realm of some other worldly place, where we are so willingly sucked in. Tricked by such natural magic we often can’t resist tossing yet another, and another stone to see it splash again and again. When the stone hits the surface it ripples everywhere, including back to ourselves again, completing the circle and tightening the noose of our bond to it.

We can’t help ourselves, we do it almost without thinking. Water. It tricks us and takes us in to its enchanting power. Being thusly connected, we spin with the enchantress and enjoy every turn of the dance. At least until midnight, when the clock strikes 12 and we return to our thoughts and are grounded to earth again.

Maybe it is just that Spring is in the air and we feel its influence, like do all the other critters that are so possessed by the same juices this time of year. Perhaps it is a pent-up yearning to connect to innate feelings with the outside world and compels our deeper wishes to create behavior yet unleashed.

Like the toss of each stone, it is a force too powerful to resist. Better to just go with it. Create. That is what life is all about, an ever-moving connection of self to nature.

Gary Lane
Wapiti River Guides
208: 628-3523
http://www.doryfun.com
https://www.facebook.com/Riverdoryfun

Vulture Medicine and the Efficacy of Valentines

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(sketch by Hurricane Bob)

“Grandfather, does the world really revolve all around me?”

Such was a question asked by a third generation grandson vulture sitting next to his wiser grandfather vulture on a cliff-side arena where they were watching potential carnage between a predator and prey show far below. “Well, yes it does, just like it does for everyone else,” grandfather vulture answered.

“But let me explain a little more,” continued Grandfather.

“To the prey you see below, his world indeed puts him in the center of survival. Nothing else matters, because if he does not reach deep inside to use every ounce of himself to escape, death will result and his world will be over.”

“In the larger scheme of things, it takes more than one animal to make a community, and it is the community that really matters because nature requires all its parts to function properly. If the earth was flat and extended into infinity, then perhaps needed resources required for life would always be possible simply by always being able to cross some far horizon to obtain it.  But the earth is round, so everything in nature works in roundness, like the way we use our wings to climb higher on the thermals. Circles are where all earth wisdom resides. Life and death is the only constant in a circle. Give and take is the process of how all things can continue to change and flow forward.”

“Light and dark exist because the earth spins in a circle as it goes around the sun, in an even larger circle. But dark doesn’t mean everything stops or doesn’t work anymore. Some animals have adjusted their patterns of living in the dark and so sleep in the light. While others make their living during the light and so sleep in the dark.”

“We vultures live by feeding off of death, as do all other animals. We just do it a little more directly. But other animals like the humans are often drawn to death just the same. Like us, they sometime gather on the banks of a river where the rapids are the most difficult, because if any boat carnage is to occur, that is the most likely place it will happen.”

“Why do they do that? What drives those disaster chasers?” asked grandson vulture.

Grandfather continued: “That curious behavior  may not have just one answer. Sometimes it is because they can temporarily escape their own problems by looking at someone else’s. Sometimes it is to relieve boredom. When nothing much different happens over and over again, it only breeds for the dullness of “sameness.” But that is uneventful and depressing. Watching things where potential for something exciting to happen brings thrilling anticipation to the blood. Wanting to know what comes next is what keeps your feathers ready for flight. And flying is doing, and that is what life is all about.”

“But, those with more wisdom conjugate at the edge of any potential carnage area to broaden their learning. By observing the mistakes of others, they can learn what not to do, so they do not repeat the same behavior. They wish to fly longer, so pay close attention to what things they can do to prolong their flight. The vultures that fly with the wings of science tell us two vultures can’t fly the exact same space at the exact same time. But those whom inevitably will try, only crash.”

“So grandson, you must always pay attention to your own flight to keep your wings working, but not forget that all other vultures have the same mission and worldview. Not paying attention to the flight of others might cause you to touch wingtip to wingtip and that could bend your feathers to cause your own crash.”

“If only your flight mattered, and you were the center of the world, all other vultures would avoid you, and that would be boring. An open heart with care for others, is what really makes all flight for all vultures more exciting and meaningful. It is what makes the world go round.”

chukar hunt jan 28, 2015 sugar 067

Happy Valentines

Barb and Gary

http://www.doryfun.com

GARY BARB HOLLY

 

 

Eagle Medicine

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blackhawk mar 12, 2014 riggins rainbow 3-14, 2014 044

Back through the mists of time, said Grandfather Eagle, to the little eaglet’s  of a second generation, all things in nature were in step with one another. But after a time, one of the life forms drove hard to get  ahead of all the others  and became what is known as human beings.   Unfortunately, the more distance they put between themselves and other organisms, their own intelligence was warped into a world where they thought they had control over everything they touched. So busy were they “being” they forgot to look anywhere except straight ahead.  Their self-absorption formed an arrogance that became a battleground where many fights became common as various beings forked into different cultures, each  believing they had the better answers to anything and everything than any of the others.

Ember Manning Br Jan 6, 2013 004

Though the stars traced circles in the night skies far above their heads, right before their eyes, where they could always be seen, they forgot the message twinkling brightly in the heavens.   Ignoring the oracles circling from afar, humans continued their ways following straight lines in their every task. But the way of linear directions cause drastic edges which can create dangerous places to fatally fall over, unlike circular ways, with only curves to create safer passage.

3 R - Aug 23-26, 2013 292july 2014 7590

While humans followed nature and made silver eagles they called jets, they forgot to imitate the same flight path as prescribed by nature. These metal birds flew in straight lines to gain height, while brother and sister eagles circled around to ride thermals ever upwardly.

All things in nature have repeatable patterns and circuitous routes. Man separates himself from nature by getting out of sync with the circular motion, and is why he falls into such depths that turn into self-defeating paths. But  curvature in motion always leads back upon itself, with no routes to fall off of and into terrible results.  Eagles flight is only repetitious in motion as it never leads to a dead-end. It only offers elevation and a different revelation as it spirals progressively higher.

LouAnn & Lowell Lull Aug 24-28_ 2008 Canon 127

So  to end his story to the eaglet’s, Grandfather Eagle spread his wings and showed them the roundness of his feathers that held ample air enough to enable flight.  Then he flapped each wing and jumped into the sky to fly around like the stars that light the darkness when the earth spins the spinning sun out of view.  This became his message, that all it takes to learn how to fly is to follow the examples written by the language of nature.  Truths discovered are simple to grasp, once revealed. But they matter little until they are discovered. Better not to have wings, than to have them and not use them. That is the point of discovery. Fly.

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To fly like eagles:

(figuratively  floating)

Gary Lane
Wapiti River Guides
http://www.doryfun.com

july 2014 8777

Scorpion Medicine

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Scorpion Medicine

scorpion

Once upon a time there lived a tribe of scorpions in the remote wilds of a beautiful canyonland paradise. Each winter the elders would gather up the younger generation and tell stories to help enrich their lives. Many of the  legends had valuable insights about how to live life, and some times symbols and figures were etched into stone to remind people of the future not to forget lessons from the past.

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“Let me tell you about the gifting of Grandfather Scorpion,” said Uncle Scorpion, to the little ones. “Long ago, some strange, giant beings floated down the great river in an unusual craft and landed upon our shores. They then got out and began looking around to find a place to sleep for the night. Your curious Grandfather went out to meet them with a raised stinger, to defend or welcome the unknown giants, depending upon their intentions.”

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“But the giant beings were filled with fear at seeing a scorpion, so squashed Grandfather to his death with one crushing blow,” he continued.

“Thus, Grandfather’s gift to you was to run and hide whenever you see these strange beings approach your home, or at least raise your stinger to defend your presence, if they ever catch you by surprise. These beings have lost their connections to all the other creatures and live in fear of many things they do not fully understand. So always respect your Grandfather and live by the wisdom he has passed on to you,” advised Uncle Scorpion.

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But many moons later, a young girl scorpion and boy scorpion forgot all about the wisdom stories and began gossiping about the crazy decisions other scorpions seemed to be making. So one of the elders, upon hearing them, took them aside for a thinking question: “Do you realize that when your stinger is pointing towards others and after the poison is released, your tail curls back and points at yourself? So, be careful what you say, or it may come back to haunt you. Otherwise, scorpion karma may follow you with some trickery,”he added.

Several days later a boat appeared on the water and the strange beings began to land. The two gossiping scorpions forgot about the wisdom gifts and stood their ground with stingers down, to meet the intruders. These giants looked friendly enough, they thought.

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Unfortunately, the intruders were still afraid of these scorpions with their wicked little stingers and so crushed them to their deaths. Scorpion karma had finally caught up with the two little gossiper’s, whom had ridiculed others and forgot about the ancient wisdom path. So they then became an unfortunate (for them) part of scorpion history to teach other scorpions (the fortunate one’s) to pass on the “stinger” wisdom gift.
What is the stinger gift?

The wisdom gift and medicine of the scorpion stinger is multi-faceted in its efficacy. It teaches that behavior has consequences and ignoring nature’s wisdom leads to a finite path. It can sometimes be  self-deprecating.
True scorpion medicine only works for those who take it and appreciate its potential. It is one of the many ancient wisdom’s that is available through the fractals of nature’s various medicines.

ice jan 1, 2014 018

Our world is made up of fractals, the patterns that ripple throughout all nature. All “others” are connected and share the natural world equally. It is only by self-delusion than man arrogantly believes he is the manipulator and controller of nature. Only by a reverting back to appreciating all things in nature are equal will better tolerance and harmony result amidst all creatures and the environment in which they live. The only reason for “others” to exist is for comparison so each can know itself as separate from. Not greater or lesser than, but different. To lose any one “other” is to diminish diversity.

chukar & steelhead meal, wood cutting Oct 2013 026

The path to wisdom and knowledge is endless. Living in-tune with earth wisdom will lead to an open endless path. False wisdom, is knowing and not doing. Coming to know wisdom and not practice it, ultimately is not wisdom.

Once stung by anything, it slows us down enough to re-evaluate our own pulse amidst the many. Shifting consciousness will facilitate different directions and results. If we run too fast across the landscape we will be out of tune with it. To help the planet and all life forms, we must first help our self. We are only a self in relationship to others. Harmony comes when all “others” are in tune with each other, and thus able to make true music compatible with the earth upon which all feet dance.

july 2014 23276

Unplug. Reconnect to Source.
Follow Flow
.

For more family harmony, tune-in to the river with:

Gary Lane’s Wapiti River Guides
http://www.doryfun.com
208:628-3523

Not Always Warm Inside Mother Earths Womb

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dogs and ice  jan 2, 2015 027

For us humans who view earth as a living thing, we often like to use metaphorical language to help shape our understanding of the mysteries of the natural world.  Of course, for me, taking a winter jaunt into the frozen landscape is just another seasonal variance to expand my consciousness into other realms of mystery.

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At this time of the year, in my neck of the woods in Idaho, that be Riggins area more specifically, high pressure has brought sub-freezing temperatures. That spells hunkering tight for wildlife and scraping out a means of survival when conditions get tough, but also some particularly interest works of art written by some unseen hand of nature.

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Just yesterday I had this urge to go out looking for nature’s artwork.  Locally, there is an unusual rock (limestone maybe) formations that contains a cave hidden behind a curtain of waterfalls. It requires a steep hike to gain access to the entrance, then a rope for the last pitch to actually get inside the cave.

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But on this day, the upper portion of the rope (a permanent one left behind from climbers of long ago) was frozen under a slab of what looked like a micro river frozen in time. And the lower section of the tilted wall was so slippery, without crampons it was impossible to negotiate. I thought my chances to get inside were over, so I settled for photos from the outside only. But, I began thinking maybe there was another way in, so scrutinized nearby potential routes. Never had I needed or even seen one before, but soon saw some potential. It was not easy and required some serious moves in two places that came with the risk of a near vertical fall of about 30 feet, as a consequence of a mistake.

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Why didn’t I bring a rope?  Of course, I didn’t think I would need one, but how many times do these sorts of things happen that by now I should have known to come more prepared. So, the next best thing to do would be  put  my “what would MacGyver do”  thinking into play and entertain another solution from my bag of mindful tricks.  I did have a tripod with straps for carrying it on my back to free my hands for climbing. Flash, that was my light bulb.  Take the straps off to use for anchorage, (expert climbers use petons in solid rock for a good foundation) albeit shakey, to be sure, but better than nothing all the same. I really didn’t want to give up too easily.

So I managed to get a 6′ cam strap around a giant icicle for self-belay (granted, a little marginal) but reasonable with careful negotiation. Whew, I made it.  But, it did remind me of the fact that often times it takes degrees of risk to find deeper rewards offered by nature. While certainly not an expert,  I did rely on some of my semi-serious rock climbing days to make the harder and very calculated moves required to gain entrance.

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I knew my chances for success were actually high, if I did the precise moves required. All it took was seriously focused attention. No distractions, just unadulterated laser beam concentration. But having the experience of using this technique to negotiate serious rapids by boat when the river is not frozen gave me a high confidence level.

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I knew it would be worth the risk, and it was. Inside was a room full of magic-land. The shapes and formations of ice reminded me of entering a well kept secret of enchanted fairy land, where I could run rampant in fantasy world. The sound of dripping water that contributed to building all the little elf and pixie like figurines also created a surreal feeling of being able to see and listen to the heartbeat of mother earth from the inside out.

dogs and ice  jan 2, 2015 062

There I go again with that metaphorical thinking and anthropomorphism. Such is the inspiration  of natures beauty and mystery. And such is it to be merely human. Ah, the birth of a new year.

Note: for those who would like to see video of this awesome place, go to our facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/Riverdoryfun

 

Gate Keepers of the Nature Deficit Culture

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Is Facebook, twitter, a computer, or a cell phone the barrier between you and the outside world?  Are sophisticated technological contraptions your gatekeepers? You know, the obstacles that stand guard at the portals to reality?

Mind numbing fixations by advanced technology leads to nature deficit disorder. But nature is the foundation to our home in the universe.  If we don’t take care of it, we will lose it.

Computer screen oriented technologies is not the same as natural tool oriented technologies. One is a simulation that takes place only in the mind, the other is a real world experience that engages the mind with physical activity. Knowing without doing, only leads to stagnation of human health and degradation of the soul.

deer box canyon may 7, 2013 042

What is your gatekeeper?  Most folks forget or do not  realize they even have one. Often they are ghost-like and merely a step beyond perceptible.  But, bringing them to your awareness is the first step in getting control,  or at least managing them, so that all your time is not absorbed into unreal worlds of data streams.

 

school marm peak dec 17, 2014 293

Doing and being is real world living. This is quite different from fantasy, where illusions and delusions fill our mind and take us to an unreal world. Often this is where our machines take us. We begin to live our world through screens and devises where the dance becomes one between the human mind and data of the machine. It is a trap we get caught in where we live in a world of imagination, and forget about stepping out of the distraction to walk on the real ground. Only on terra firma can we feel the earth beneath our feet and kick up dust.

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Living a personal dream is dancing the dance.  It is a laying-down of our own tracks upon the soil. Action is the catalyst to change one event into another, beyond which they become experiences that give meaning to our lives.  Participating in the here and now to engage raw nature builds personal history. History is where our memories go to make sense of the future, or should, if we wish to employ the gift of wisdom to lead the way. Otherwise the bad things we experience and wish to avoid will inevitably get repeated again.

school marm peak dec 17, 2014 267

(How you jump-start your kid matters)

Real world activities lead to compassion, while living only in the mind on computer world experiences leads to separation from nature.  Our human nature is nurtured by real world nature.  To care for something, one must have compassion.  True feelings come from the act of feeling. Emotion and feeling come from real world touching, not thinking about them.  The image staring back at you in the mirror is not you. When you touch that finger in the mirror, you feel only your own finger, not that of the image of it.  All life experiences are the same.

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Passion and compassion ride either side of the dragon’s back.  One stimulates the self while  the other creates empathy for others. Bottomline: transform the data stream into a river stream and ride the ride.

aug 25-27, 2014 treacy 3 day 011

Stick your feet into the river.

aug 8-9, 2014 004

Or walk on water.

Why Are They Called Life Jackets?

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swirly water june 15, 2014 015

It would seem like the answer to this question is quite obvious, but apparently there are a lot of people who fail to understand the gravity of what it means to wear them or not.  As prima facie evidence for such, two recent drownings on the Salmon River near Riggins, on separate days (June 8 and June 10) bare this point out. In both cases, neither victim was wearing a life jacket.  The flows and water temps for those respective dates were – June 8 –  9am: 43400 noon: 43100 4pm: 42500 (11.5c=53f) and June 10– 9am: 41200  noon: 41100 4pm: 40400 (12.3c=54f).

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While I suspect alcohol may have contributed to the poor decision not to wear a life jacket, I don’t know that for sure. In either case, it was a costly decision for each person involved.  When this kind of news gets out, it sometimes scares people away from the river or running it when flows are high.  In reality, it high lights the fact that wearing life jackets is a crucial decision, that too many people ignore.

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I don’t know all the details to each accident, but heard that the first one occurred at Black Rock rapid, when one person fell into the water without a jacket on and lost contact with the raft.  But, what I do know for sure is that the hydraulics on the wall at the foot of the rapid are tremendously turbulent and powerful.  It reminds me of a huge coffee pot with boils and giant whirlpools, and even in a lifejacket would be a nervy swim. But, without one, a fatal consequence.

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The day before, I was in my dory boat and a violent eddy line grabbed my boat and pulled us into a whirlpool. The stern was sucked down with-in two inches of the gunnels (hand-rails) on both sides (on a boat with 28inch sides at the stern end) before spitting us out back into the main current.  Often the chaos water is as challenging as the big waves and dynamics of the rapids themselves. All parts of the river become plenty of good reason for keeping alert and paying attention.

Dodge - Ruby

The second drowning I know a little more about, due to the fact, that my party was the one who rescued the body and performed CPR, but too late to bring the person back to life. The other person is still missing from the first drowning, but at least this second incident will offer some sense (sad as is it is) of closure to the family in at least not knowing where their loved one ended up. Closure is a relative term, as no one ever really gets over losing someone dear to them.

This person did not have a life jacket on, nor did any in their party of four guys, whom all tipped over in Lake Creek Rapid (at least is what the paper said) as opposed to Ruby Rapids which normally flips more boats, and apparently they luckily made it through right side up.  Correction (just learned it was indeed Ruby Rapid where they tipped, and that now makes more sense). Three in the party were able to keep a hold of the raft, while the one who drowned didn’t. Also, when he was found by the gal running a safety cat for my group and dragged to shore by a jetboat she flagged down for help in the process, he was in his underwear,  tee shirt and tennis shoes only. The river hydraulics had pulled his pants off his body.  With no wetsuit, his body was turning blue in places from the cold water and is precisely why we always where wetsuits in high water, even if it is over 90 degrees in air temps.

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It is also why we cinch life jackets on all our guests good and snug, sometimes to a little dis-pleasure to some, thinking they are too tight. But, better that than getting sucked off your body, which can happen if not secured properly.  High water trips are not for the timid, but plenty reasonable for those who like adrenalin and are properly equipped and prepared. So as intimidating as it is to hear about, or actually see the aftermath  of what poor decisions leave in their wake, it is no reason to not go boating.  Nature plays by harsh rules, but by paying attention to those rules with proper respect, your chances of having a safe, fun trip, are far higher when engaged in any adventure that comes with some degree of risk.

Another aspect to how people sometimes find themselves in trouble with the river is due to perception. Often, as an observer on the land watching the many guides and experienced river people running the river and making it look easy, can be quite misleading to them.  More than once I have salvaged a sunken drift boat that did not have enough floatation in them, or inexperienced  oarsman to negotiate simple water that experienced people have little problem with. Or helped rescue people who jumped on the river in their own gear but over their head in expertise and found themselves without a boat and in a precarious situation.

This is part of the reason I offer driftboat lessons for those whom have their own boat and want to improve their skill level, or wish to get a boat and learn how to read water and maneuver their boat through troubled current.  Using a mentoring service is a good way to improve on one’s learning curve.  It takes a lot of time to learn about the nuances of fluid hydrology and how to apply small tricks that make the big differenced in keeping a boat right side up and good stories as a conclusion to your trip.

As a commercial outfitter, we often get people who tell us they were thinking of doing a river trip, but in seeing the rapids from the highway, they thought they were too small and would not be much fun. When we convince these folks not to be deceived by the sense of scale (big rivers and canyons have a tendency to dwarf reality) and that they will enjoy it, (and if  we actually get them on the water), they will invariably ask: “is this the same river we saw from the highway?”  We have to bite our tongues and not make them feel like this is a stupid question, but common sense isn’t that common.

While we in the outfitting community would like to avoid bad publicity in the media and say it is perfectly safe to run the river when it is high, or at any other time, that would be a farcical claim.  In nature, nothing is free or without risk.  To us ecologist types who appreciate the reality of evolution, we call the consequences of choice and behavior  in the wilds, “natural selection.” That is how the real world works.

The moral of the story: there is no such thing as a risk free river trip, anymore than you can walk across the street without getting run over by a car 100% of the time.  Bottomline: pay attention. It increases your odds. But, don’t stay home. Two old saying I  I always liked are:  “those who do not do things because of their fear of dying, never  really live,” and “man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore.”

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Gary Lane
Wapiti River Guides
http://www.doryfun.com
208:628-3523  (if calling us by cell)
or

800-488-9872

 

 

 

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