The Little North Fork of the Middle Feather

“And forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the wind longs to play with your hair.”                — Kahlil Gibran

Paul Z in action on one of the Sierra classics>


The late Paul Zirkelbach (also known as Pablo) was talking very excitedly on his cell phone as we cruised along Route 50 in the spectacular Sierra Nevada Mountains of California. “Lars just told me about a new run that isn’t in any guidebooks yet. It sounds really good, so I think we should do it.”

“How hard is it?” I asked.

“It sounds hard, but he said it was really good,” he replied. “The takeout is the same as Devils Canyon, and that is one of my favorite runs.”

“Sure, sounds good, why not? Let’s see if the rest of the group wants to join us,” I said.

We had been paddling for a couple of weeks in the Sierras and were feeling quite confident.

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Divorce Boat in the Grand Canyon

“A successful team beats with one heart.”

— unknown author

John and Mary running “Satan’s Gut” with a divorce boat in Cataract Canyon on the Colorado river.

“My friend Gary has a permit for the Yampa River, and I’ve heard that it’s really good. Would you like to try a river trip?” I asked my girlfriend Mary.

“That sounds like fun,” she replied. “What will I ride in?”

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Return to the Animas

Animas River below Silverton, Colorado Dana Kopf photo

The mighty Animas starts as a tiny creek near Silverton, Colorado, but it soon picks up steam as it drops through an incredible canyon in the heart of the San Juan Mountains. Dozens of majestic peaks tower above the lush canyon, and myriad small waterfalls enhance the spectacular scenery, as well as add to the river’s volume.

Being there again revived some incredible memories of my youth, and we paddled safely to No Name Creek. My life had changed quite a bit in the last twenty-five years, but this canyon was still the same, and the scenery was better than I had remembered.