May 26, 2008

Origin of Fretwater

Fretwater Falls

Fretwater is the name of a rapid in Desolation Canyon, named by explorer John Wesley Powell in 1869 after his expedition wrecked a boat there. Powell travelled nearly 1000 miles down an uncharted river naming things as he went. Fretwater is one of my favorite John Wesley Powell place names. It's also a good one word description of the events in 2008 that led me to start this collection.

When I hear the name Fretwater I think of an anxious moment above a big rapid that may make me fret about the immediate future. I chose to name my blog Fretwater because when I was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer in May 2008 I felt feelings of anxiety similar to what I feel above a big rapid. That is; I was pretty sure everything would be fine, but maybe not. The other reason I chose that name is that I feel an ironic peacefulness when I'm there beside that rapid.
After I recovered from cancer treatments and started working again I would stop there on solo trips to reflect. Below is a photo of one of my solo rainy camps in 2009.

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