There must be a billion stars just above my head. If only everyone could see this... Another star streaks across the sky. The gentle water laps at the sand a few yards away. I'm lulled back to sleep.
"Coffee!" The exuberant cry from our guides echos across the canyon walls. I peek out from my sleeping bag. The sun casts a warm glow across the 2,000 foot walls towering around me.
I sink my teeth into a warm dutch oven blueberry muffin followed by a bite of fresh grapefruit. I bury my toes into the cool sand. Watching the river drift by, I smile, anticipating what awaits downstream.
I bring my gear down to the river's edge. The guides are securing the camp supplies and personal items to the rafts. I snap one last photo before we load onto the boat and push away from the shore.
We drift in and out of cool shadows. The sound of a Canyon Wren is overtaken by a distant rumble... whitewater! I slip into my raingear to stay warm in the early morning shade and take a seat up front.
My grip tightens. The bow of our boat is submerged in a mountainous wave. Cool water crashes over us, stifling screams of excitement. Then all is calm. Laughter fills the air. I have never felt so alive.
I follow our guide on a narrow trail through tall vegetation. The air is suddenly filled with mist and the sound of thundering water. A spectacular stream gushes from a crack in the redrock cliffs. Breathtaking!
Why does a sandwich taste so good out here? Perhaps it's the fresh air, warm sun, and cool water where my feet are dangling. Or maybe it's the way our guides carefully lay out all the fixings. Whatever it is, the food is fabulous.
Sipping my ice-cold lemonade, I reflect on the early explorations of John Wesley Powell just recounted by our guide. "The most sublime spectacle in nature" Powell called this place. I lay back and gaze up. Sublime indeed...
Raindrops begin tickling the surface of the river. Downstream, I see small waterfalls beginning to pour from the canyon rim. The sandstone silt mixes in the emerald water like a magic potion.
I breathe in the delicious aroma of dinner being cooked by our guides. We toast to the perfect day with our new friends! Dazzling light dances across the river as the sun drops behind the canyon walls.
Just as I thought this day could not get any better, I am now sitting back with this unbelievable steak and salad. I savor each bite as I listen to the stories and laughter from our day on the river.
We relax on our cots. Darkness starts to set in. The stars are just beginning their show overhead. Whispers about our incredible day quickly turn to sleep.
Seize your day. Experiences and memories await. Astounding places beckon to be explored. What will your Western River Adventure bring?