This trip meant more to me than I can easily say in a short paragraph. Images of the Grand Canyon and a deeply-ingrained curiosity of its secrets are as much a part of me as anything ever has been. My father was a boat driver in the canyon when he was my age, 25. I grew up with pictures of an S-Rig on my wall, my father's face barely visible through the ever-present mist proliferating up from the river's surface.
I heard stories of ancient runes, and brutal injuries, mesmerizing scenery, and terrifying flash floods. Interestingly enough, I never had to ask myself "why would someone want to do this?" I think I understood that reason intuitively, maybe from the look in father's eyes when he told me those stories. It was for adventure, this was a journey for someone in touch with their inner beast. This was a journey for someone, like me.
Last year I took this journey for the first time, and it was a journey like no other. I say "A Conflicted Heart" in my title, because at the end of my journey that is what I had. Part of me never wanted to leave the peace and freedom I had within these canyon walls. Part of me wanted to take what I had learned and experienced and share it with people I care about, or use it to make my life better. I think the conclusion I came to is that part of me will always be at home in nature, and part of me will always crave primal adventure. Western River, and this trip, gave me an experience I will never forget, and it will not be my last.
Zachary Allinger – Spokane, Washington