In the years that have past, since our Steel River trip, many things have changed. Some have stayed the same. My brother Greg has passed on due to cancer but then, we had young families, mortgages, careers to tend to and other responsibilities. We were not as cautious then. We knew of death but didn't believe it applied to us. We were a long ways from help and there were no cell phones. Today age and health issues would definitely preclude me from dragging a one hundred pound canoe up a cliff…. Still, important lessons were learned about perseverance, self-reliance and teamwork. Today my love of nature and wilderness remains. With vertigo and other balance issues at age 79 I don't go fishing and canoeing anymore. Sigurd Olson and Aldo Leopold still speak to me thru their writings. Should I never again be able to find my way back to those wild places, like the BWCAW, Canadian rivers or the backcountry of Yellowstone, I will continue to rest well knowing they are still there.
The Steel River country has changed a lot in recent years as well. Several major wild fires charred parts of it. Perhaps, as a consequence, bad floods have occurred there. The floods have created huge logs jams, especially in the lower reaches of the river. This all has created the necessity for much longer and more difficult portages.
Although more people are taking this route now the difficulties of travel beyond low or too high water have increased. There are new routes into the area, as it is possible now to just do the river part of the loop and skip the lake section. This means, above all avoiding the Diablo portage up the mountainside. .
My brother Greg unloading the canoe at Santoy Lake, getting ready to head home.
For us timing was everything. We were among the earliest but not the first to make the journey so we had decent information. The river level was just right. We were lucky.Now, new threats have appeared there as well as in Minnesota.. Copper, nickel and gold mining are being surveyed. There are people today working to preserve this wilderness. I wish them success.
Later, I took my two sons often canoeing on our local creeks, pristine St. Croix River and the BWCAW (Boundary Water Canoe Area Wilderness). There was also camping/flyfishing trips to southwestern Montana. Those were the days my friends…..:)
It's a shame what is happening to our great outdoors. You were lucky to experience it while it was ignored---once the miners get in there, it will be lost forever....ReplyDelete
Yes, those wre the days. I'm so glad I got in my share of canoeing in Northern Ontario.ReplyDelete
Thanks for the follow-up. Very interesting.ReplyDelete
time marches on... changes for the territory and humans alike.ReplyDelete
Yes, I agree that times have changed our wilderness, and not for the better. So many more people today, and homes being built where they are at risk as well, just to accommodate a larger population. I'm glad you got to enjoy it when you did, and that you were able to share it here. :-)ReplyDelete
Your memories are giving us a good first time adventure. I haven't been to Yellowstone since the early 60's. Why haven't I returned? Life happens and it just isn't happening. Thanks for sharing.ReplyDelete
This post was an informative and meaningful wrap-up of the adventures you shared with a nod to the present and future. Well done!ReplyDelete
My hometown was 9,000 people when I graduated HS in '64, a sleepy, bucolic central oregon town. It's 80,000 now, and the only place it remains is in my memories.ReplyDelete
I find thinking about fishing trips past is good enough.
I am so sorry that you lost the companionship of your brother. I am sure you are really glad that you took the trip with him.ReplyDelete
Oh we are all getting older, but there must be some other adventures for the ageing:)
I loved this. :)ReplyDelete
The trip with your brother was one of a lifetime. You were lucky, indeed, to be able to go on similar trips with your sons.ReplyDelete
We'll be going to Yellowstone in mid-July. Steve plans to check on cuttthroat populations and maybe catch a few...
I once went canoeing in Algonquin Park. We didn't do anything like what you did: basically paddled in and camped for a few days. It was good but would certainly be beyond me now.ReplyDelete
All the gold and glitter of city life pales when it encounters a clean stream, a thicket of pines, a big sky...One reason we moved out west.ReplyDelete
Oh yes, those were the days. Nice reflective post.ReplyDelete
Sadly things have changed too much but how fortunate that you got to have that delightful adventure with your brother while the area was still pristine. A solid memory.ReplyDelete
The experiences you had can never be taken away. Not very many people can make it happen so that they have a direct experience with the outdoors.ReplyDelete
Time waits for no one. You have some bittersweet memories.ReplyDelete
I like Montanagirl's comment--Your adventure was just that---yours. It will never be repeated. While that is sad on some level, it was yours and yours alone. And you have your memories to enjoy.ReplyDelete
I agree with you. Things change the wild we enjoyed as young adults. We can still find a few spots that some people do not know about, but it is getting harder to do.ReplyDelete
I enjoyed this post.
The ravages of time! At least it was all good when you wanted it to be. Thank goodness for memories.ReplyDelete
Completing these treks often made us feel more invincible, perhaps I still feel this way. I enjoy being out on the water and remember feeling I was perhaps the first to explore a few areas.ReplyDelete
Many things have changed... I think that is one of the things I love about revisiting trails, it is never exactly the same. The changes might be small or they might be on level of floods and fires, but the trail is always a little bit different.ReplyDelete
Yes, TB, those were the days. I must go back and read your earlier posts on this subject. I've been away from blogland due to much family activity.ReplyDelete
From what I read here, it reminded me of the 70's when my former husband, his brother, and father did a lot of 'running rivers' in areas not frequented by others. We ladies would go along to camp. There were some threatening adventures where the boat became more important than the rock it was mired upon. I think their reflections of those days would be very similar to yours. I miss those days.
Hi There, We are home from a trip to the gorgeous West VA mountains –where we celebrated our anniversary… I’ll be blogging about this time for awhile –since it was so special.ReplyDelete
Amazing how times change as we AGE. I used to do many more things (without thinking of the consequences) than I would EVER do now.
BUT--the good news for you was getting to take that Steel River trip when you were young. GREAT memories for sure!
You made some great memories that will always be with you.ReplyDelete
That was fun. The trip, your reflections from this vantage point, and your - the readers - comments and various perspectives on change. Thanks from a new reader.ReplyDelete
Well, you had a great adventure. One would think the remote wilderness would not change, but sadly it has.ReplyDelete
I too remember the days, those halcyon days, Ray. They are part of us, and will remain in our brains until the lights go out, and then partially or maybe more, to our kids and grands, to whom we've told the story. I'm happy with that, as I imagine your are too.ReplyDelete
Yes, those were the days!ReplyDelete
I think most all of here are in the latter days of former adventures. But we have such great memories.ReplyDelete
Ah ... but you have those wonderful memories ! The older I get the more precious they are and I'm so glad you continue to share them. HugsReplyDelete
I see that I have replied to this post when it was first published.....ReplyDelete
What wonderful memories and beautiful country!
What a wonderful adventure with your brother! Good memories for you!ReplyDelete
Thank you for sharing this family story. Good memories! I just got back from Montana. So nice to see so much WATER! I kayaked and paddle boarded on a small lake next to our lodging and secretly envied the white water rafters and fly-fishermen on the Gallatin River because I don't do those things anymore.ReplyDelete