Laughter Beneath Sandstone Cliffs

/Laughter Beneath Sandstone Cliffs

Laughter Beneath Sandstone Cliffs

How does it get any better than this?

I went to a networking meeting and a woman named Rikka Zimmerman spoke about getting out of our own way. I was intrigued. Her work is all about living in the question, and one of her favorite questions stuck with me. I have played with it and felt it, explored it and noticed my gratitude for ordinary moments. How does it get any better than this?


Dave and I took my canoe through a part of Boulder Creek that is rarely boated. I’m not sure if it’s even legal. I saw this area so close to my house first on a bike path and then by canoe last October. But what I wanted more than anything is for my husband to share my excitement. There is so much to explore right here. I’ve spent so much of my life exploring on my own, a side effect of being an only child. I like exploring solo, but it’s so much more important for me to share this. I will still explore alone, but I want my Boulder Creek adventure to happen with Dave.

We slipped the canoe silently into the water, and I remembered what it feels like to disappear into a different world. There’s nothing like it. I had forgotten exactly what draws me to the river…. It’s not even the journey, it’s the initiation of it. It’s heading away from civilization and being surrounded by birds and cottonwoods, not a human soul in sight.

This is what I love about this river. So many people in Boulder are outdoorsy, hiking the same trails and floating the creek in the same places. How many people know where Boulder Creek goes after it leaves the city limits?

Credit: Trevor Lott

In this place, we see no one. In this place, we are in a different world, away from the crowds, flanked on the side by pockmarked sandstone cliffs and by field on the other. We feel like we’re in a different world.

We float on, avoiding fallen trees and sharp corners, laughing as the tree branches cause me to fall backward, into the canoe, feet in the air and gasping for breath because I can’t stop laughing. Seriously, did it happen again???? At least I didn’t tip the canoe. Now, when Dave and I switched places, the story ended a little bit differently. He leaned back, lost his balance, and I gasped as the boat tipped. In slow motion, the boat tipped, we laughed hysterically, I jumped out and pulled the side of the boat up to keep the water from filling the boat. He said he did it on purpose. He said he was just imitating me. Sure, Dave, sure you were. Mmmhmm.

We fall into silence as the creek runs beside the sandstone cliffs, so close we could reach out and touch them. We are in a different world. Suddenly, we hear a flap of wings and two birds screeching. A golden eagle flies away, with two swallows scolding him, shouting and diving. How can those small birds cause such a reaction? Those little birds are fearless! And the eagle flies over the cottonwoods and disappears from sight.

We see great blue herons taking off from the shore of the river. Red winged blackbirds flock in the cottonwoods, calling to each other and maybe to us? There is something tan on the river side, silent and unmoving. It is the same color as the cliffs. As we float on, we realize this stone being on the river isn’t a stone at all! It’s a cow! She sits in the river and not even her ears twitch. She hasn’t a care as we pass her.

Later on, we saw something floating in the water. It looked dead. We didn’t realize it was a snapping turtle until we passed it! The turtle was tilted, half submerged, its skin looking pale and sickly as it slowly moved its legs under the water. He was HUGE! Then he noticed us as we turned back to look closer. He took off and swam under the boat! I guess he wasn’t dying, after all! We watched until he disappeared into the mud at the bottom of the river.

Dave’s sold on the adventure! He said he would even consider selling our kayaks and instead explore all of these rivers in eastern Colorado. I have my partner in adventure. My wish came true….

How does it get any better than this?





By |2017-04-12T19:41:07+00:00April 10th, 2014|Canoeing, Uncategorized|0 Comments

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