A soft spot resides in my heart for the cool, emerald-green waters of the Clackamas River. Steadily flowing downward toward the ocean it playfully maneuvers around and over the securely anchored rocks. Seeming to pause for a rest, the water grows still and silent while it transforms itself into a verdant, deep, pool, chilled by the melting snow of the Cascade Range… but only for a moment, whereupon it yields to the changing river bed and gradually becomes more shallow as it gathers speed and continues on its journey.
The sites and sounds of the Clackamas River stirred fond memories of camping with my family when I was young. Deep pools used to store pop and watermelon, boulders scaled with determined concentration as I made my way to the river, water rushing over the rocks in a subdued roar. I loved it all!
Anna and Will invited “the two moms” to go camping with them over the July 4th weekend. The campsite had no electricity, no showers, no running water, and of course no toilets! An old-fashioned pump pulled cool fresh water from deep in the ground and a glorified “out house” was our big convenience. It was much like what I experienced as a girl, except half a century ago our camping refuge did not include an outhouse… It’s been years since I slept in a tent, and I knew by the end of the weekend the verdict would be in: “I don’t need to ever do that again” or “That was fun!” Either way I was determined to see it through.
Saturday afternoon my two oldest sons and their families took a “Saturday drive” and came to visit us. Will guided the troop of outdoor explorers to the river’s edge where my grandsons awakened to dreams of great adventures on the river. The boys climbed over the rocks like mountain goats, collected treasures uncovered on the shoreline, and hurled pebbles into the deep cold water. Away from crowds, we gathered on the river’s edge and in the presence of an untamed river, it was easy to imagine being on an exciting journey of discovery!
Will’s mom, Kris, and I had a great time together. We chatted, played cards, took Bob for a walk, and enjoyed our evening wine with dinner. Crawling in and out of a teeny-tiny tent that I couldn’t sit up in was not my preferred sleeping arrangements; but seeing the stars shining between the trees through the screen over my head was quite spectacular! however, two nights of sleeping under the stars was my limit due to the absence of shower facilities, but I would do it again… with a few modifications.
My memories did not betray me. The river was as wonderful as I recalled… emerald in color, icy cold, shallow as it skipped over rocks, deep where it seemed still and calm. It was a special treat to revisit my beloved river and share the experience with a new generation.
My friend thought I was brave to go tent camping, to which I could only respond, “Or crazy!” I found out I am neither brave or crazy… It was fun!