Monday, March 07, 2005

Purdon's Crossing with Cali

Monday, March 7, 2005
South Yuba River, Directly above Purdon’s Crossing, River right
390 CFS

Today is day three wearing a tank top. Spring is here this week. I came with Cali the borrowed dog. It sounded like a good idea to bring a dog along. I had visions of a happy dog romping around and exploring the river with me. It was to be fun. Instead I got a dog that stopped dead at rocks, unable to figure out how to get around or over them. Picking her up and placing her beyond her obstacle was the only way she could cope with the challenges.

I let her off the leash as soon as we got close to the river. She seemed happy enough. I reached inside my backpack to get my camera and the next thing I knew was that the formerly hesitant dog had bolted full speed ¾ of the way back up the steep slope we had just descended. I believe this rapid ascent of hers caused a sudden deafness in the dog. There was no response that I could detect as I frantically called her name up the canyon walls. Lovely. Within ten minutes I had already lost my loaner dog.

Reluctantly (and quickly) I scramble back up the hillside, still calling her name. Eventually she appears far above me, refusing to come back down. I coax. I plead. Taking her sweet time, she finally complies and slowly makes her way back down to me.

As I inform her that she has lost her off-leash priviledges, I notice she must have visited a booming tick colony during her attempted flight to freedom. Plucking ticks is one of my least favorite activities of all time. Taking a dog a long for company no longer seems like a good idea at all.

After securing her leash to a spot on the sandy beach she starts to growl and bark. Following her very directed barks to the other side of the river, I see her target – a man completely naked except for a wide brimmed olive colored hat who is attempting to cycle through yoga poses in peace and solitude by the river. I guiltily realized I had done a great job at shattering the serenity of the afternoon for him.

I grab my camera, but my concentration was stolen once again by Cali. I needed to reassure myself every minute or so that she was still present on the beach. Then I began to fixate on the fact that if she had been covered by ticks, she was probably also covered by poison oak. I put the camera down once again, snatch Cali up in my arms and plop her into the river for a good scrubbing. She tolerated her river initiation well. During the procedure, my foot slipped off of the wet rock I was perched on and my boot flooded with water. Mental note: no more boots and no more dogs.

Glancing across the river, I see the naked yoga man upside down, balanced completely vertically on his head, his butt facing directly at me. Impressive.

The bushes along the river bank are budding out. A few branches have leaves that are just beginning to unfurl like little green flags. Soon the view from my little beach will have an obstructed view of the water. I am now able to concentrate on the river better. I climb onto smooth, bowled out granite reaching into the water. I go out further and further, laying my body over the rock’s contours to get as close to the water as I can.

The naked man is finished with yoga and is now lying on his back in the sand reading a book. His left leg is bent at the knee, his foot planted on the ground. His right leg jets out at a right angle from the other where he has crossed his leg at the knee.

I brought a bottle water filter with me so I can drink the river water. It has an iodine cartridge that I can’t seem to be able to remove and still use the filter. I am so disappointed that the clear water is tainted by the taste of the iodine. It makes me not want to drink it. This problem with have to be remedied for the next trip.

Now the naked man is no longer naked. He has tucked his t-shirt into his jeans and is now lacing up his shoes.

The water is clear and green where it runs deep, gold in the shallows. Cali raises her head from her curled, sleeping body and notices the no longer naked man moving about. She growls, her entire body quivering. I have filled my camera with images. It is time for me to go too.