What Do Black Holes and Whitewater Rapids Have in Common?

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Simple answer: event horizon at the brink of uncertainty.  As physicists and philosophers  tell us,  a black hole is where there exists a spacetime curvature, such that not not even light can escape from its  “horizon line” border.  Once any kind of matter or light is sucked beyond the lip into this funnel to nowhere, or everywhere, there is no return.

 

 This feeling of passing that line of no return, is the same feeling I get when approaching a difficult whitewater rapid.  The  horizon line can actually be seen from a boat approaching the uncertainty that  lies ahead. Often the view from river level, in a boat, is of exploding splashes of water erupting above a definite line of demarcation directly above the rapid.  It is a demarcation between certainty, ( boat right side up) and uncertainty (boats unknown outcome soon to follow).

Drifting closer and closer, towards the “event horizon” is a passage into a never-never  zone of “inevitability”.   It is akin to  a stare-down with a precurser to a real event – about to be turned into a “in-your-face” reality.   Perhaps like looking at a microcosm of earths curvature, but so compressed and abrupt that it appears one could fall off the edge and into oblivion.  Sometimes, I can even hear the music from the old Twilight Zone movies, running through my head, the closer I get to that nebulous dimension.

There are normally eddies and water where one could pull in or reach shore to abandon the run. But, once past the line of diminishing returns, nothing can stop you from running the rapid. This is where the  river has you in its grip, and it is up to whatever you can do with the oars to guide your boat through the maelstrom and fuzzy realm of uncertainty.  It is also where it seems you can actually feel the electricity in the water. It shocks your senses into a keen awareness and extreme focus of intent. Survival mode kicks in and your entire being is truly “being” –  all in one place, and all at one moment of time. Me is me, reaffirmed.

It is where the magic of water’s power resides, and tunes one into seeing  life for more than just a trick of fantasy. It is where real is real, and life is life. The bare bones of feeling pulse and breath of life reveals our simple significance to our aloneness in the universe. Yet connected to everything around us.

Note: sorry, I don’t have any pictures of the horizon line from a boats perspective. That’s because my hands are on the oars and not a camera at that semi-petrified place on the river.

Rivers make good medicine with us, we make good medicine with rivers.
For river trip information, please go to our website: www.doryfun.comor
Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/Riverdoryfun

Or for my Chukar Hunting Blog: Chukar Vortex
go to:

chukarama.wordpress.com

 

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Great River In The Sky

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On a moonless night, gazing out into the stellar trail of the Milky Way which stretches from horizon to horizon, I get a huge sense of smallness similar to what I feel when peering out over earthly landscapes that extend as far as the eye can see.  Often during private and commercial river trips, we make stops to explore side canyons and hike to vantage points with panoramic  view-scapes where one can see into the far beyond.

But, as small as an earthbound geology can make me feel, it pales in comparison to what i experience at night when camped along the river’s edge, staring out into a Milky Way that looks like an astral river of its own nebulous parameters.  It is only an oblong arm of our own spiral galaxy, on but one sun amidst that of 400 billion others.  Then by holding my arm out against the sky and looking through a hole made by my fingers the size of a dime, with the right telescope I could see over 100 other galaxies.  In Stanely Kubrick’s famous line in the movie 2001, it makes me feel ” like a tiny dust mote whirling about the immensity of space.”  The bigger the bigness of such numbers makes me appreciate the smaller my smallness in the world.

The language of the universe is the calculus of mathematics. According to Carl Sagan, if I were to count one number at a time, every second, for 24 hours per day, it would take me over a week to reach one million, and half a life time to reach a billion.  How unfathomable is that? Just how minutely infintestimal are we in the big picture, all-inclusive  scheme of things?    But it does take duality of the cosmos to help us appreciate the differentiation of our significance amongst the stars. You cannot have a true understanding of anything without knowing its opposite.  You can’t go somewhere if you came from no where. From elephant to ant, or glacier to silt, it takes the polarity of radical ends to make the comparisons possible.

If we did not have science and the ability to learn from its measurable evidence, when I gaze up at a star in the night sky, it would look like the size of a pin head, and I would think my own body size was much bigger.   Perhaps I would see the sun come up, stream across the sky, then go down, to return  habitually again every day, yet never know it was our own earth spinning that makes it appear to make such a  heavenly arc. Or maybe I would see the reflections of deer in the water and think that may those images were real animals living in the river?

A mind left unattended might go blank, but one working over time can conjure up all kinds of superstitions to make sense of the world. Perhaps the stars are turned on by some invisible creature in the sky, after the sun goes down, then turns them off when the sun comes up the next morning?  Our minds have a natural acclivity to find answers to any unknown mystery that confronts our physical senses.

Unlike world religions, which already claim to know where everything comes from and to where it is going, the un-absolutism of science is forever filled with a never-ending search for truth in an infinite universe.  It is hard to wrap a mind around the concept of infinity, as it is a mighty ponderance  trying  ever to understand a Great Mystery that has no final answers.  But, like floating earthy rivers, and the stellar ones in our imaginations, it is the movement  from point  A to B that provides the essence of the journey.  Similar to science, floating rivers is a joy of discovery and  enlightenment around each bend, and a  feeling of triumph at  the end of  each successful run through lively whitewater rapids that enriches  man’s mortal spirit. The Great Mystery lives around every corner and make me appreciate my home on the small Blue Dot.

Rivers make good medicine with us, we make good medicine with rivers.
For river trip information, please go to our website: www.doryfun.comor
Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/Riverdoryfun

Or for my Chukar Hunting Blog: Chukar Vortex
go to:

chukarama.wordpress.com

 

Skating For Goldfish

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Are you kidding?  Goldfish in Idaho’s Salmon River? Well, not quite, but close.  A couple of miles, upriver of Riggins, is a place called Shorts Bar. It is a place where the river is mellow and has deposited a huge sand bar over the years,  that looks like something you would see in Hawaii.  This is part of the beauty of the free-flowing Salmon River – natural recruitment of sand each year all along the entire course of the 425 miles of river.

Many years ago, a large area parallel to the river and just upriver of the huge sand bar at Shorts Bar, was dredged out and made into a pond.  Water was pumped out of the main river into the new hole in the ground. It was used for storing logs, to be used later at the local saw mill.  The pond was also part of a gold mining operation, in those years of old.

Somewhere down the line, a person or persons, introduced some gold-fish into the pond. For generations these goldfish have been living in the pond for 60 years or so.  But, most amazing to me, is that I have been in the area for nearly half those 60 years, and have been going past this pond without ever knowing about the goldfish. (I didn’t go to school here, so not savvy to all the local insider’s  scuddle).

I have even used this pond for doing flip practice in dory boats and rafts.  Just in case we have an overturned boat during our whitewater season, it is always nice to be prepared for getting boats back to their right side up position, in a quick and safe fashion. Not that this happens very often (it doesn’t), but it is still best to be ready for even one tip-over.  Practice is the name of the game.

However, this winter, a friend began ice skating here and invited me to go, also telling me about his discovery of the gold-fish thing. (he didn’t go to school here either). But, when he found some skates for me, I took him up on his offer. Then he surprised me more with his scheme to actually catch one of these gold-fish to take pictures of. I guess he needed proof to other disbeliever’s??

A spaghetti strainer affixed to a ski pole with duct tape, like some sort of metalized butterfly net, turned him into an ice skating fish-hunter version of a lepidopterist. The gold-fish had grouped up in a shallow portion of the pond, where ice was thin, and easy for us to get close too. by team effort, we managed to catch one, for a quick picture on the ice and fast return back to  it’s home.

The group size was maybe 150 – 200 fish, ranging in body length of from 3 inches to a foot long. Most were around 4-5 inches in size. Luckily, none, that I know of, ever made it to the Salmon River, as there is no inlet or outlet to the pond.  Also, spring floods never get high enough to inundate the pond for potential escapism.

As far as I know, no other fish reside in the pond.  This is fortunate for  goldfish, because small mouth bass, which live in the Salmon RIver are highly carnivorous. While releasing exotics into native waters is against the law, the small mouth bass were introduced into the Salmon River.  Apparently, we humans stretch our value systems to accommodate things we like, and work at preventing those we don’t from entering our waterways and landscapes.

It would appear we are a bit of a schizophrenic culture.

Sorry, we don’t do gold fishing trips.
(because it’s hard to get a boat down a frozen river)

Rivers make good medicine with us, we make good medicine with rivers.
For river trip information, please go to our website: www.doryfun.comor
Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/Riverdoryfun

For my Natures Apprentice blog: https://wapitisriversedge.wordpress.com/

Or for my Chukar Hunting Blog: Chukar Vortex
go to:

chukarama.wordpress.com

What do Honeycombs, Snow Flakes, and Lava Flows Have in Common?

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Short Answer: 6 sides.  All snow flakes have different shapes, but each one has six sides.  Bees form honeycombs that are six-sided, as it is the most efficient and economical shape to save work and space.  So too, when lava flows it cools in columnar basalt forms that have six sides. We see these often along the Salmon River in Idaho, and the Grande Ronde River in Oregon.  Lava columns make great jumping platforms to jump off of into the river.

Both rivers share a geologic region that was partially  shaped by the Colombia River Basalt flows during the Miocene Age, over the last 30 million years. Cracks opened up in the earth’s surface and spewed out huge lava flows that oozed over the landscape.  Nearby rivers were temporarily dammed, until an outlet formed to drain the water, thereby forming canyons below these natural reservoirs.  Sedimentary materials were laid down on the lake bottoms, then when another lava flow erupted, the process repeated itself.

Consequently, a layer cake effect resulted that can be seen as anywhere from 70 -80 different lava flows can be seen in the canyon lands, separated by alternate sedimentary layers.  Of course, all the various layers of lava and sediments have different thicknesses. due to time between flows and how extensive each one was.

Some places in each canyon of the Salmon River and Grande Ronde River, the river cuts directly through a lava layer, and thus the six sides of columnar basalt can be seen as we float along. Rice Creek, where Chinese Miners historically camped  and worked for gold has such a place on the Salmon River.  On the Grande Ronde River, a place called “The Narrows,” where Chief Joseph had his winter camp, is also where basalt columns line both sides of the river.

A side view does not allow a full view of all six sides. Only when an end view is located, where lava flows have been bent or broken, can all six sides be seen. Often these ends form what geologists call pillow basalt, which we often see at river’s edge where they poke barely above the water level.

Nature talks in terms of math and allows humans to see uniformity in laws of the universe.  Great beauty is a result. Though math may seem a challenge in school and a nebulous thing, in nature it is given amazing form.  It makes room for  curious contemplation along the river’s edge.

Rivers make good medicine with us, we make good medicine with rivers.
For river trip information, please go to our website: www.doryfun.comor
Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/Riverdoryfun

For my Natures Apprentice blog: https://wapitisriversedge.wordpress.com/

Or for my Chukar Hunting Blog: Chukar Vortex
go to:

chukarama.wordpress.com