River day

The first day of the year going to the river is always an exciting one. First one must decide Navarro or Big River, and from there the path only diverges further. It’s amazing anyone accomplishes a river trip at all these days, I tell you. People tend to feel very passionately about one body of water or the other, and much time can be wasted arguing the merits of one over the other. In general, I am fairly neutral, although my favourite swimming hole is on Big River, at Tautology Rock.

To begin with, one must rally troops, something made especially difficult today because I needed to be back in town by two, which meant an early an truncated expedition for me. But somehow everyone mobilized and we were out there by eleven, which was rather impressive for people who slept in until 10.

Then comes the exploration. First one must check up on all of last year’s swimming holes, to see how they are doing. Then holes from previous years must be investigated as well, to see if they have become suitable again. This is always exciting, and nerve wracking, as one finds out what happened to old favourite spots over the winter. Sometimes a formerly perfect swimming hole is utterly destroyed, and sometimes a new and splendid place is found as you reel through the overgrowth. I spotted a nice spot which was alas in the shade this morning but I think merits further investigation, and made note of the location.

After carefully assessing ten holes in the space of a few miles, argument over which one was best ensues. Usually four or five can be dismissed immediately due to overgrown trail, vanished beach, tourist infestation, or some other issue. But the remainder must be carefully debated, their merits turned over carefully, before a commitment can be made.

Because of the unusually early hour, some of my favourite holes were still in shade. We finally settled upon iron bridge without-a-bridge, which was remarkably devoid of people. It was, in fact, sunny, though the water was still cold. It was a bit breezy, but rather nice. We sprawled out on our towels and talked and dabbled in the water a bit, generally content. Tomorrow will include a more impressive foray, an expedition to the Woodlands, but today was a good start. A good reminder that summer is here and more lazy days at the river lie ahead.

Alas, the camera did not come with me because the last time I took a camera to the river I lost a lens and it was very unpleasant, so I generally don’t bring one along these days. But it was a lovely day. The water was crystal clear and barely moving at all, the surface sometimes ruffled by small breezes. The bank was steep, but at a good slant for reclining. The trees were green and lush overhead and sometimes a distant car murmured by, but in general it was peace and relaxation. A squad of youthful ducks dropped by for a brief visit, but they were the only other living beings we saw…just the way I like the river.

Though this summer will not be as free as previous ones, I still anticipate some good river days spent amongst old friends, dabbling toes in the water and marveling at the splendid perfection of a sunny day, a body of water, fine food, and good company.