Riverwalk at Watchman

Riverwalk at Watchman


It must have been that jay bird’s call outside the barn that signaled to me that Fall had come to Utah. It was time to walk the river one more time before the snow began to fall heavy. Lucky for me I live in nature’s backyard. Every season has it’s special calling for me.

I tossed my gear in my 4 wheel drive and headed out.
I drove until the road ended and the river began.
Rubber boots were the order of this Fall day…a day just perched on winter’s edge. I would be doing some wading in the river, some balancing on the rocks and some walking on the banks. Had to have those boots…
I hit the river with my gear in my bag. And be warned, this water’s cold all right. Already cold in early October. Indian summer over with not a hint remaining , I could feel the water’s chill through those heavy boots.
But not even frigid water could keep me from seeing the amazing reds and golds and yellows that painted the trees. Cotton wood,velvet ash and big tooth maples framed the river. The water was the ribbon that ran through it. And I followed the ribbon.

I shot here and there along my walk, the water creating a rhythmic sloshing along the way. As the river got narrow and became shallow, I started to feel the slippery river bottom under my feet. Large river rocks mixed with sand made footing beneath the fast flowing stream unsure.
I stopped at a small bend in the river to sit on a boulder and rest a bit. It always seems like every Fall is better than the last. The golds more gold. The purples more purple. The colors of the trees warmed by a late golden sun. The solitude of the river is centuries old.

And when sitting there, I reflected on that solitude. Waiting to get just the right light to capture my shot of the day, I pondered the fate of the Earth and savored my kinship with Her.
I felt a wild comfort in the healing power of Nature and I felt intensely that day as the water surged past me and the sun began to signal day’s end.

I got my final image just as the afternoon closed out. A royal patchwork of jewel colors, deep and rich with all the secrets that Nature holds. Now captured by my lense, I knew it was time to head out.

The chill in the air told me that darkness was falling. The hour of the wolf was approaching. I knew I had precious little time to make it home before it was pitch black. If I thought the water was cold earlier, brother, you could feel the ice crystals forming now.
My boots and I sloshed our way towards home. Some of my trek back was on a path above the river but then some of it was in the water. I could feel the strength of the water pushing in and around my boots, herding me along the river. Dusk had fallen. I had to avoid slipping into the deep pools underfoot that were formed by log jams and boulders. I couldn’t risk a fall.Especially a night fall in the icy water. The path along the shore was not much better, with it’s muddy surface and mossy slide.
I saw the dark outline of my jeep a few yards ahead. It was totally dark now. And the night animals were out. I could feel their presence in the woods.
Glad to be back in my jeep, I didn’t bother to take my boots off. Time for that when I got home.
I drove home to the sound of coyotes singing along the roadside.

Original music by William Carr

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