Canyons ‘Capture the Magic’ contest
The Canyon and Her Moon
The fire crackled, and the Salmon River rushed. I didn‘t know what time it was, but time didn’t seem to exist in the Canyon. Andy, a man who I had met only two days before, was there with his sister, Amy, mother, Sue, and brother-in-law, Paul. Andy was one of the best people we’ve met on these trips and by far the funniest. He gave off the cool-uncle vibe to all of the younger people on the trip. Not a day went by without Andy quoting ‘So I Married an Axe Murderer‘ as the group sat and talked around the fire.
This was my favorite campsite of the trip. Covered in trees, right off the water. We played bocce ball about an hour before the sun went down, but it was hard with the sandhill that went up, and the rocks that would bounce the ball straight into the mighty river. The sun went behind the canyon wall early, cooling us off quickly, to the point where everyone had a sweatshirt on, their hoods up, and a blanket over their legs. The sunsets were always beautiful by the river. The orange and pink slightly glinted off the water, making it look softer than it really was.
It‘s nice to get lost in a moment. A moment where you‘re comfortable with your surroundings, where you are completely at peace. The people and nature around you completely encompass you, making you feel safe. The only thing keeping me awake was the small, uncomfortable chairs that would sink into the sand the moment you sat down. The sand was always cold, but it was especially bitter at nighttime. And I never wore shoes once we got to camp- my own mistake. But the sand felt like silk between my toes.
The group slowly trickled off to bed as it got later into the night. Sleeping in the canyon is always the best part of a trip down the Salmon River- as long as you’re bundled up. My dad, cousin, brother, and I slept side by side on the sand–covered pads and sleeping bags that the company provided. We didn’t sleep in tents for most of the trip since there was no need to. The only animals that strayed into camp during our stay the previous year were deer, but they hadn’t come into camp this trip so far. I enjoyed seeing the stars at night. But with seeing the stars, comes dealing with the cold. The cold wasn‘t terrible as I fell asleep that night, my grey fleece blanket inside of my zipped up sleeping bag, and my hood up with the strings tied to make sure it stayed in place. I fell asleep without a problem, listening to the river rush and the small group still awake talking quietly by the fire.
I woke up to the sound of the river roaring downstream, as we had camped right next to a rapid. The feeling of waking up in the canyon is surreal. You wake up cold, yet warm at the same time. I wondered why I had woken up, as it had to have been around three or four in the morning, as everyone was quiet, including my brother and our friends, and I heard multiple people snoring. But I could never really tell what time it was.
I took a deep breath in and opened my eyes completely. The first thing I saw was my dad asleep with his black, “light-blocking” eye mask on. I laughed a little at him and rolled onto my back, pulling my grey blanket along with me to look up at the sky. The stars shone differently out in the canyon, as there was, and hopefully would never be, ever enough light pollution to dull them out. The moon smiled down at me from her place in the sky. She watched over my family, friends, and me as we slept, keeping us safe and reminding us that a new day will be here soon.
I decided to get up and go to the bathroom, another odd experience in the canyon. I started walking down the small path that was in between the two sides of the camp. I followed this path, shivering as the wind nipped at my exposed legs, all the way to the bathroom area they set up. I didn‘t use my phone‘s flashlight, as the moonlight showed me the way. On the walk back to my bed I heard a twig snap behind me and froze immediately. My first reaction was fear, so I slowly turned around to check behind me. I calmed down when I realized it was just Nadia moving in her sleeping bag. I sighed in relief, my breath came out white in front of me.
I laid back down, snuggling into the warmth of my sleeping bag, and mumbled, “goodnight, Moon. I‘ll see you tomorrow.”
Written by Olivia Corbett
Olivia and her family have joined Canyons on the Main Salmon River in 2018 and 2019 and will be exploring the Middle Fork of the Salmon River with Canyons in 2020.
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