April 7, 2009

Deschutes River

I had a good trip to Oregon. We even had sunny weather. Went out and did some messin around on the Deschutes River. It's neat to stand there and watch my dad on a bluff overlooking the river with the wind blowing his hair. I imagine all the things he's seen in his life messing around in the Deschutes and John Day river canyons. My dad had an adventerous life in his early days.
He'd go out in those canyons for weeks at a time. When at home his friends would come over in the evening. They'd spread the maps out on the kitchen table, drink beer, tell stories about trips past, and talk with passion about all the trips they still wanted to do. I don't remember how old I was, but I remember being disappointed as my mom would wisk my brothers and I off to a safer place where we wouldn't be around the, what I'd imagine to be, bad influence. I didn't give a rats-ass about the beer and the swearing, I wanted desperately to not miss out on the stories of grand adventure. In order to access the canyons they had to cross the massive wheat fields on the rim. They couldn't leave a car so they'd have my mom take them out in the middle of the night, to make the most of the time off, in an old 56 chevy four door. They'd have her stop along the highway in a spot they knew was right, (there were no GPS's). They'd tell her to meet them back in the exact spot in a week or ten days as they quickly unloaded packs, into the night. As she drove away I bet my mom worried as she watched them headed for the rim of the canyon, which was probably nothing more than a ribbon of darkness in a landscape otherwise awash in moonlight. The Deschutes River at Twin Trestles. ...and at Box Car rapids. Supposedly there is still a boxcar in the river here. This is Shears Falls where the tribe still uses dipnets to catch steelhead the way they've done for a long time. (obviously at lower water) The Shear family set up a toll bridge and hotel here for pioneer wagons. My great grand father and family lived in Grass Valley at the time. They'd come over on Sunday afternoons to play cards and hang out. I bet they had a little taste of whiskey before crossing the rickety bridge. It's fun to stand here and watch the way the currents move. Petroglyphs near the falls that idiots have colored with chalk so other idiots could see them more clearly. ...and the neat little town of Maupin, Oregon. Certainly a river town now as much as it has ever been, a hey-day every summer with lots of people coming here to float the easy half-day trip several times a weekend. Lots of rich folk from Portland have second and third houses here.

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