Category: Essays

  • A Fine Line

    A Fine Line

    A fine line separates the good from the bad, the clean from the chaos. It is a finer line still that separates good judgment from bad judgment. And the line between life and death? That is only a thread. This would be the second time I have clung to that thread with all my strength. When we […]

  • No Province for Old Men

    No Province for Old Men

    Reaching My Limit in BC’s Coast Range and Discovering Life beyond the Progression From our overhung perch hundreds of feet above Snowcap Creek, it appeared Bett and I would have a slow if not slightly bumpy flow.  We quickly assessed it as perfect for a September afternoon exploratory fix. Only after pulling a few strokes […]

  • The Grande Finale of the Jamie McEwan Trilogy: Denied- Linville Gorge, 1973

    The Grande Finale of the Jamie McEwan Trilogy: Denied- Linville Gorge, 1973

    It was one of those early spring days that seemed no season at all, rather a pause in seasons, as if nature had come to a stop while trying to remember what should come next. We had seen signs of spring on the drive down: crocuses and daffodils pushing up beside lonely houses, a purple […]

  • Jamie McEwan II: Years Later, I Added the Frame- Chattooga River, 1971

    Jamie McEwan II: Years Later, I Added the Frame- Chattooga River, 1971

    “Look at the moon,” I said, pointing. “And that star, and the little cloud.” “Yeah.” “And the ridge, and those other clouds. What a picture. What do you think–do you include the ridge and the clouds, or zoom in on just the little cloud and the moon and the star?” A hypothetical question–we had no […]

  • The first of the Jamie McEwan Trilogy: Iron Ring 1970

    The first of the Jamie McEwan Trilogy: Iron Ring 1970

    “What a crowd,” my brother commented as we ate a hasty breakfast at the parking lot that, by common consent, had become the paddlers’ campground. There must have been six or eight other cars there, at least a dozen paddlers, just beginning to stir. That was a crowd in those days. How little we could […]

  • Life and Death Beyond the Edge

    Life and Death Beyond the Edge

    I watched a man die, for the first time, on the Green River.  Witt was vertically pinned against a tombstone shaped rock at the bottom of Chiefs.  I was scouting Gorilla when I heard shouting. “He’s pinned” a panicked voice rang out.  I turned and looked back at Witt.  He was vertical but not moving.  […]

  • Style

    Style

    For participants in a sport where peeling out at the top of a rapid almost inevitably results in arriving at the bottom, kayakers seem surprisingly indifferent to matters of style. Things can go pretty badly awry, and onlookers might roll their eyes at a particularly bad line, but someone would have to be radically over […]