rafting the rio chama and other mayhem

WordPress sucks and just deleted my whole post which I worked on for an hour. Again, that means you’ll get the shitty version.

So, when I arrived on campus, the first thing I did was sign up for the rafting trip. I am not one to pass up discounted rafting and it was a damn good time two years ago. The water was considerably lower than two years ago, but the views, on the drive and on the raft were stunning.

Since I have already written this once and am really annoyed with the blogging platform, here is the story of rafting. The trip is guided by a former Bread Loafer who guides in the summer in Colorado. She’s great. Once a year, she grabs a few guider friends and head down to the Rio Chama to let Bread Loaf students do a cheap rafting trip out of the goodness of her heart and a fraction of what a company would charge. It’s not a BL trip, nor is it a company trip. Perfect scenario because when you don’t raft with companies, you can bring lots of beer and food and have a grand, old time. Which is what we aimed to do.

Now, the Bread Loafer’s whole family comes out, so her two-month old son slept all day in his special, shaded raft-seat and her older son entrained the masses with football and nature talks. Bryan and I chose our raft with some fun folks and the same guide we went with last time. He was fun and we all had a great time, especially me because he let me and another student try steering for a time. Dream come true. Let’s say though that our boat’s paddling this year never really came together and then our guide proceeded, I’m sure because of the lack of rapids and danger on the trip, to get rip-roaring drunk. Now, rafting trips are synonymous with drinking and whatnot, but by the end of the day it had gotten pretty sloppy. What started with me getting to steer or guide for stretches turned into me taking over when the guide needed to pee or pirate another raft’s crew. I was fine with it and it was clear that nothing big was happening on the river yesterday, but the sloppiness got a lot of people on the trip pretty upset and maybe freaked out. I knew that one, if there were any serious rapids either, Bryan, who has steered on the St. Louis in class IV rapids, would take over and it’d be fine, or they’d stop the trip and make another plan if it wasn’t going to be safe. Nonetheless, it was entertaining and it was great to get to really try my hand on what the guide said were class II rapids (fear not: these are tiny). Everyone got back safely and most had a great time. Either way, a day on a river raft is better than most days off of one. I’m back to fantasizing about Grand Canyon trips. Next June, anyone???

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In other yurt/Santa Fe/Bread Loaf news:

1. We commandeered a dinner out at The Tune Up on Thursday, which we had heard was amazing. The food, beer, and company surpassed high expectations. I had salmon tacos and Bryan had mole enchiladas that had fried banana on top. It was a lovely night out.

2. The drive up the canyon to the park has the same air-conditioner-has-switched-on effect that driving near Lake Superior has back home. It’s remarkable how as you inch up the steep canyon road you can feel the temperature dropping ten (or more) degrees. It’s the same way going from Circular Lodgic out to McClain State Park. You can feel that icy air cooling you off. The other night I went from sweaty shirt stuck to my back to goosebumps in five miles.

3. The army worms have turned to moths, so we are back to the days of moths attacking our faces as we slumber.

4. It’s what we call PAPER WEEK at Bread Loaf this week which means last week sucked. It was frantic and all-encompassing. Papers, presentations, and projects are due this week, so we’re all scrambling to get started, finish up, or revise. I just finished a ten pager on white versus Native story’s narratives and the impact they have on characters in Silko’s Ceremony and Hayes’ Bl0nde Indian (both good reads). Now I’m on page nine of a never-ending unit on nature writing, including a rationale which Aleman has scared us all in talking about. I’m expecting a lot of red pen.

5. SW lit and film class continues to shock and awe. Every class period in the last half hour to ten minutes he comes full circle and busts out a shocker reading of the text or film. They’re the kind that always made my American lit kids groan: “How do YOU know Fitzgerald meant THAT?!”, but damn if they don’t always make complete sense. For real, it’s brilliant. We just did that with Hud, with the young Paul Newman (my grandma used to say, “That Paul Newman can put his boots under my bed any day of the week.”) and if you didn’t watch it after I posted quotes from it on Facebook, you better just get on it now. Then, once you have watched it, I’ll tell you what it is really about. Hint: cattle.

6. Bryan starts work today as a park ranger. The new superintendent, as I have mentioned, is a great guy and one of the other rangers is great too! His family is living at the campground like us and he said his dad was a cowboy, for real, a cowboy, while he was growing up. Pretty incredible, eh? It’s good Bryan is starting today because the toilets need some cleaning, but hopefully he gets to do some of the more interesting, glamorous work, like building fences and shelters! I’m looking forward to seeing his uniform.

7. We made blue corn pancakes last week that were delicious (and blue).

8. I snapped some nice photos on a hike so as to compete with Kate and Josh’s shots from Vermont. We’re competing by shooting photos back and forth. I miss them.

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