Previously: Sandy has capsized and recovered, but is only part way through her Kayak trip.

At the next big hazard, I take the time to go ashore, walk the bank and scout the rapids, planning my route. It goes well. I make all the right moves and my confidence comes back.

I made it through the next batch of hazards and am able to relax and glory in the beautiful day–the magic of this special piece of creation. We slip past beaver only three feet away, half in and out of the water. They are so surprised they have no time to do anything but bare their big front teeth and wiggle their whiskers.

Red-tailed hawks circle overhead. The sun shines through their tails and lights them in bright orange red. Ospreys fish along the river and gaze inscrutably at us from behind their masks. Big trout dart out from under our boats and I feel a surge of delight.

We sweep under the high overpass of the highway and merge with the mighty Missouri. Two miles downstream, we reach the end of our twenty-one mile run and load up to come home.

The overpass

The overpass

A hot bath eases my aches. I settle into bed, close my eyes and give thanks for the wonder of this day. I experience a feeling I always look forward to after a river trip.

My body does not stop flowing with the river once I reach the shore. It flows on, inside me, for days and I lie in my bed feeling in my gut the pull and surge of a power far greater than I understand.

It is a reminder that nothing stands still, that I am carried along with it in life as in death. If I live in harmony with this great force, I have exquisite days like today, which I live on the edge, a sixty-year-old lunatic, flinging myself down a wild and rocky river in the intensity of a Montana spring, trusting that I will be safe in the fullness of my experience.


Sandy (July ‘14) adds, “She who risks nothing gains nothing. Living in fear means saying, ‘No!’ to all the exciting possibilities that life offers. Think of how much fun one misses when that happens. I now live in Florida and still swim with the alligators.”

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