The horses were up ahead. They were carrying the rafts and all of the large gear that we would need to float down the Gunnison Gorge. We were carrying all of our personal camping gear: clothes, tent, sleeping bag and the critical fly fishing equipment. Everything was tucked into monstrous dry bags that were suspended from our shoulders. Dry bags are wonderful on the river but they are not quite ideal for a day hike, yet this is the only way into the canyon and this is where the adventure begins.
Actually, the adventure started many months before when we first thought about floating and fishing the Gunnison River. This section of the Gunnison River is known (Fifty Places to Fly Fish Before You Die) by fishermen all over the USA and it had captured our imagination. Our good friends, Judy & Don, quickly agreed to come along. At that point, we knew we would have a grand time.
The first day of our three day trip found us hiking into the river, loading boats and heading off to experience a wonderful afternoon of fishing. This canyon, like other river canyons, is incredibly beautiful. A big part of its beauty is wrapped up in the fact that it is so remote. At any given point in the day, it is easy to imagine that you are the first person to ever see these rock walls or experience the river’s current. In a place so remote and so beautiful, it is easier to see God’s handiwork and to reflect with a sense of humble awe.
Two days later, sitting on the bank of the river, I realized that I had adapted to a new rhythm. It was a rhythm that I knew from other camping trips. It was the rhythm of beauty and simplicity. Getting up and going to bed when you are in the wilds is quite simple. A tent, a sleeping bag, level ground & a sleeping pad….quite basic but amazingly comfortable. Clothes…quite simple, the same as yesterday. Technology does not invade the moment. It does not work. Therefore, I could easily sit and reflect on this journey called life. The beauty & solitude of the canyon was a balm to my hurried soul.
What things would I be taking with me as we leave the canyon? I love the simplicity of the out of doors. My life is too cluttered with all that I have and all that I do. There is a richness of life that comes with the simplicity of the present moment. I think it comes as I learn to say ‘no’….so that I might selectively say ‘yes’.
I love the different ways that God reveals himself in nature. As I sit in beautiful places I find myself echoing the words of the Psalmist:
“When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him? Yet, you made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor.”
Lord, this day I say thank you! This day, I say ‘yes’ to you!