Monday, January 21, 2008

Where Eagles Dare

I had a most beautiful day yesterday! I am now a Gypsy cum River Rat.
I spent the afternoon with a group of folks from Boeing (having been invited by my friend, Kevin), rafting down the Skagit River, watching bald eagles. There aren't enough superlatives in my lexicon to describe the experience... Amazing, awesome, and breathtaking are but a few.

Sure, it was cold. My butt, my feet and my fingers quickly went numb and took a long time to thaw out. I don't think I truly got warm again until I crawled into bed and buried myself in a layer of covers. Oh, but it was so worth it!

The day itself was pretty. It had snowed up there the day before, so the mountains and much of the ground were still snow-covered. The sky was partly clear with big puffy clouds, some blanketing the mountains in fog. There wasn't any wind. The river was quiet and easy, and so impeccably clear that we could count the rocks lining the bottom. Then again, who'd want to be looking down?! The company among the five rafts was easy-going, filled with quiet banter and conversation, and hushed exclamations of, "Oh! There's one!" or "I see three in that tree just up ahead!"

But, the eagles, oh my, the eagles! I lost count after 50 of them, but I'm sure we saw over 70. They were perched in trees all along the river bank, looking so majestic. Sure, I'd seen eagles in the wild before, but never so many and never so close by. At one point, as we paddled closer to the bank for a better view, an eagle that was perched low in a tree took flight and glided right over our heads. It felt like a benediction - so peaceful and grand all at the same time. It was all I could do to not burst into tears a few different times.

After we reluctantly arrived at the takeout point, we all helped break down the rafts and stow gear in the truck. I was responsible for stowing life vests - they were wet and cold and heavy! And there were a lot of them (I think there were at least 35 of us altogether). My hands were red and numb in a very sore way by the time I was done.

As Kevin and I got back to his vehicle, he said, "I think a cup of coffee is in order." My reply, "Oh my god, YES!" We stopped at the first little convenience store we came to and got a steaming hot cup of something that tasted like it had been rung from a dishcloth. I didn't even care! It was hot and it felt gooooood. By the time we got to Marysville, our bellies were grumbling nearly loud enough to drown out the classic rock we were grooving to, so we stopped at a Mexican place he recommended. Excellent choice. I got fish and shrimp tacos (*wink to Laura*) and they were perfect.

Suffice it to say, it's a day that'll go down in Gypsy history, likely as one of the top ten most incredible days I've experienced. Thanks, Kevin!

I am the eagle, I live in high country
In rocky cathedrals that reach to the sky
I am the hawk and there's blood on my feathers
But time is still turning they soon will be dry
And all of those who see me, all who believe in me
Share in the freedom I feel when I fly

Come dance with the west wind
and touch on the mountain tops
Sail o'er the canyons and up to the stars
And reach for the heavens and hope for the future
And all that we can be and not what we are

~John Denver, I Am The Eagle


  1. **wiping drool off of chin**
    WANT... FISH... TACOS... lol

    Glad you had a great time-- sounds like a blast!

  2. Yeah, well... drool all you want, but I won't tell you again, "GET YOUR ASS OUT HERE for a visit!"


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