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The weather was warm and beautiful, a good 15-20 degree increase from Gunnison. We camped next to the river in the canyon drinking beer and talking the night away. It was like fall had never hit, here in Utah I was in shorts and a tee-shirt and I was still hot where in Gunnison I would get up in the morning and it would be 30-40 degrees outside. The large canyon walls and the soft sandy beach on which we camped gave me the feeling of being in some tropical island on vacation.
We floated the calm water during the day enjoying the warm sun and the peaceful red canyon walls and the company of each other. When there was sufficient whitewater, we practiced "throwing ends" in the eddie lines and surfing as best we could. Though I am not a good playboater, I enjoyed the challenge just the same. It felt good to get wet, and somehow when you get on the river you forget about all your worries back home, whether it be work or school, you check it at the put-in.
We pulled up on one of the many sandy, I mean soft sand, beaches and began to enjoy life as if we were all still in elementary school. Secluded on this beach with no one else around, we carried out our own version of the Olympics that included such events as: sand long jump, triple jump, diving (looked more like someone having a seizure as they jumped into the water) and wrestling. I guess we all just forgot about life's stresses and complexities and went back to a simpler time, like when we were kids, a time of just enjoying who, what, and where we were. We spent hours on that beach. We had no schedule, no time constraints, no rules about how we could act. We had peace of mind, relaxation and fresh air.
Paddling seems to do that to me every time, whether it's in Utah, or Colorado, on the Arkansas or the Poudre. The essence of the sport and the emotion that it brings out in people is probably what will keep it as one of the best ways to get away, and leave societies schedules, worries and anxieties somewhere else.
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