Guide Eddy Line, from calm to chaos

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This done, he pulled a large handgun from somewhere in the pack—a. He held in gingerly in one hand, no doubt imagining the gun bucking in his hand as he pumped round after round into some nameless villain. As is customary in such situations, I pretended it was perfectly normal and continued swimming. As to what paranoid delusions convinced Father Phelps that he needed to bring such a cannon on a private recreational river trip, I care not to speculate.

As we got underway in our trip, the dogs made themselves known. The Phelpsclan, as is common in these times, had brought their family pet, a chubby and trembling black Labrador named Bonnie, along on the trip. Molly was relatively sane so far as that is possible for a dog, but the other not as much. Bonnie was something of the fretting type—she would sit on one of the midstream boats, whining and straining desperately against whatever restraints might be conceived, looking at the other boat as though six generations of her lost puppies were on board.

Should she manage to break loose, she would immediately jump ship and strike out for the other boat. Once this perch was gained, she would scan the horizon for the previous boat which she had just quit, and finding it unaccountably doggie-furlongs away, set up the mirror image of the procedure she had just performed. My muttered suggestions that the dog be jettisoned went thankfully unheard. The crowning moment of realization for me, the instant when the whole godforsaken truth of it came crashing down, was during a stop for lunch early in the trip, far before the darkly lurking Westwater.

We had two boats, both severely overloaded, and were pulling off to the left to make some food. The river, sixty or so feet across, was placid at this point, but it must be said that even in calm spots experienced professional guides have been known to miss pull-ins like this one.

As most boatmen usually carry a hefty supply of beer, especially early in the trip, a missed lunch is not generally life-threatening. Byron, who was rowing the Puma, which was smaller than the red catamaran, missed the pull-in. He demonstrated such marvelous un-dexterity at the oars, as though he had been instructed since birth by a team of trained psychologists who sole purpose was to remove any lingering shreds of watercraft-related talent that I suspected momentarily he was making a practical joke. This suspicion was laid to rest when Byron seized up the throw line, and ignoring the semblance of an instruction manual present in the very name of the thing, jumped off the boat and swam jerkily to shore, leaving his mother and two baby sisters in the boat, bewildered.

The reaction of the remainder of the Phelpsclan—their reaction, as I later learned, to practically every unforeseen development—was blind panic. Each began shouting at the other, and all at Byron. When he finally beached himself, gasping, on the shore, there commenced a shouting match between him and his father that would last the remainder of the day and into the evening. I watched the situation with a kind of stunned horror, like someone watching a train plow into a bus full of crippled—yet pugnacious and lovable—children. I sat on the beach next to another party of boaters who were trying to make sense of their place in the universe in relation to this group.

It was soon after this that it was decided that Byron would not be rowing any boat through Westwater. It was downhill from there, though I did enjoy myself—it was the river, after all. It quickly became apparent, though I tried not to believe it at the time, that the lot of us were in far over our head. I had been spoiled in river trips, as I always had both my highly skilled parents to fall back on. These redoubtable campaigners, who for many years had been professional boatmen of the highest caliber in the legendary Grand Canyon, possessed river skills eclipsing mine—and practically all humankind—by many orders of magnitude.

On my family trips, if things got hairy, I could turn the controls over to one of these titans and watch leisurely as they threaded the boat and its cargo down immense rapids, wielding nothing but a pair of stout ash oars. I had also not realized the capriciousness of rivers, how regardless of skill or noble birth sometimes the river decided you were going upside down, and conversely how sometimes the most blistering ignoramuses ever to defile a set of oar-handles could unaccountably make it down roaring falls unscathed.

At this point I should include a word about Aunt Sally. Remember, friends, that dilution is the solution, as a large talking bear in blue jeans once told me. So, after a number of grinding, endless days, we stopped at the first takeout and dropped off mother, Bonnie, and babies. Below us lay two days of rapids, and then freedom.


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So all trip resentment was building in me, anger at the Phelpsclan for being such unthinkable doofuses, and also anger at them for putting me in a situation where I could not if I so desired slink cowardly back into the bilge and let someone else handle the heavy lifting. It all came out that night over the dishes. I was unrelentingly mean and petty to Byron, needling him over all manner of sensitive topics, of which, I can assure you, there were uncountable many.

So he got pissed and punched me in the face, and I dropped. Not too long after falling to the sand the reality of the situation came pouring over me. The son of a bitch hit me! The son of a bitch hit me!! Rage such as I have felt only a half-dozen times in my life came boiling up, and I launched myself at him, all pounds of flailing terror.

My punch missed, and we fell to grappling. Neither of us was particularly athletic, and we flopped clumsily around. Soon we were pulled apart, and I staggered around, trying to mask—or at least soften—my obvious defeat by claiming ludicrously that I had been temporarily blinded. I stomped off into the brush while the Phelps began their customary screaming match.

It was when I was alone that the true rage was loosed, and I stalked around the rocks next to the river, picking up the heaviest ones I could carry and smashing them down again, hurling great driftwood logs far into the river, and shrieking until my voice gave out—generally making such a calamitous racket that I could have nearly drowned out the entire Phelpsclan at the height of one of their pitched battles. How ridiculous, you might say, indicating that my reaction was not justified by the circumstances.

I would have to agree, and offer in my defense only that such anger does not respond to rational entreaties, and must simply be poured out on the earth until it has run dry. Run dry it did soon afterward, though I stomped around in the bush for another hour or so muttering oaths and curses. Built in , it was typical of mid-sized hotels that sprouted next to the Canadian Pacific Railway line in cities and towns across the prairies.

It was tired out, full of mould and asbestos and irredeemably run down. As surely as there were those in who thought the King Eddy should cease to be, there were those determined to give it new life. Built during the early 20th century boom years on Ninth Avenue S. There was nothing unusual about the King Edward, though in the s it distinguished itself as the first hotel in Calgary to allow white and black patrons to drink in the same room. The photo is grainy, even a bit out of focus, and the colors are washed out.


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The Colorado looks dull and grey. And yet, the photo is both dramatic and darkly humorous.

Ryan Cooper: Westwater: a Story

It has frozen the instant before the Ticaboo pitch poled bow over stern ass over tea kettle in the V or slot -wave at the top of the rapid. I await correction from those with keener memories. The boat is perpendicular to the riverscape. In the photo they are forever frozen in a position that defies the laws of gravity.

Both appear to be sitting while the Ticaboo is headed missile-like into the wild blue yonder. Behind these two guys, buried in white water, is the left arm of a boatman grasping his oar, apparently taking a pushing stroke likely through thin air. The left arm, divorced from a body, is mine. Buried and invisible in the white, white, white crashing wave behind the left arm is Helen, my English-born wife.

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It is June and we have been married a few weeks. Helen could have ridden with another boatman, but she chose to ride with me that afternoon. These were runs bathed in magic and mystery… and chance. I recall a crowd from various trips perched in and around the black rock waiting to see what would happen to the dories.

To this day I cannot tell if the ensuing flip was by chance or pilot error or some nuanced combination of the two. In those days I was atop the Ticaboo in record time. Yes, I had flip lines. I reached down into the water and grabbed the first orange lifejacket in sight.

Eddie Vedder Quotes - BrainyQuote

Helen happened to be attached to it. I yanked my British mermaid upwards onto the bottom of the boat. The two other passengers had already surfaced, clinging to the lifeline. One by one, each came aboard. We had the boat over in no time. Stellar performance by all involved.. The only problem now was the blood pouring down the forehead of one of my high side guys. We made it to shore at Lower Lava. There Helen put her nursing skills to work on the injured passenger.

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In the midst of her patching job, she was approached by Billy Elwanger spelling? A boat tumble at LavaFalls always adds sass and spice and grit to the post-Lava Follies celebration. Back in the day lunch if we had lunch above LavaFalls always tasted like wet cardboard. Today we drag our oars, waiting for the water to drop. Presumably that will give us an advantage, real or imagined, likely both.

The pre-Lava chatter is idle, soothing, often informative. And the bubble line, the bubble line is gone.

It probably never really existed anyway. And the Slot, that was something you dory guys made up to add to your annoying mystique. Yep, the only run is down the right, down the right for safety. Down the Right? The Right? For safety?