• If you are citizen of an European Union member nation, you may not use this service unless you are at least 16 years old.

  • You already know Dokkio is an AI-powered assistant to organize & manage your digital files & messages. Very soon, Dokkio will support Outlook as well as One Drive. Check it out today!


Michael D

Page history last edited by Michael Delay 13 years ago

Nights on the San Juan River



          On the day of the trip I woke up early to get into a car with some of my classmates to go to a location in southern Colorado. After a seven hour drive we arrived in Southern Colorado. There we switched into the river guide's cars to drive the rest of the way to the San Juan River, which took about another four hours of driving over rough dirt roads. We arrived at a campground along the bank of the river at about 4:00 that day, then we set up our tents, and were called in by the river guides to do a “circle” exercise, which the guides said we would be doing for the rest of the trip. This “circle” exercise basically consisted of telling everyone your feelings about the day. At the time I did not like the circle, but it was one of the things that really helped me to mature on this trip. Then finally the circle exercise was over and we went to sleep.

          When I woke up the next day, the rest of the class had already gotten up, so I had to get up quickly to avoid being forced to rush. We packed all of our gear into dry bags, two people to each dry bag. I got partnered with Elijah, who was already my friend and had packed as light as I had. We had wanted to share a dry bag since we had heard that we had to have dry bags, which are basically waterproof bags to take on the river, so that your stuff does not get wet. The entire class packed their stuff into the dry bags and we drove about another hour and a half to the raft launch site. When we got there I was put in charge of inflating the boats and the rest of my class got stuck unloading the gear. When we finished getting everything ready  we had lunch. Then we set off on the river, where we encountered some fairly large rapids. We traveled about 5 more miles that day before setting up camp for the night. That was when we were introduced to the groover, which I will not go into too much detail about, as it is a particularly nasty subject that has all too much to do with fecal matter. We had a nasty dinner that night, which I honestly cannot remember anything about other than that I did not like it. Then we had circle for the night and then we went to sleep.

          When we woke up the next morning it was raining and it was cold, so everyone put on layers before we got into the boats. We ate a quick breakfast and set off. It soon started to rain harder and it continued to rain for 2 hours while we were on the river, which was when we all started to develop hypothermia, which is the condition that develops if your body temperature drops below 95 degrees, in which the body shuts down blood flow to outer limbs in order to keep the internal organs functioning. This caused the guides to have to stop and get us to move around to warm up every half hour or so. We continued down the river like this for about 3 more hours before the guides finally decided to stop, at which point some of us were already in the second stage of hypothermia, which meant that we were uncontrollably shivering and were also having random muscle spasms, as well as being slightly incoherent. When we stopped all of the students immediately ran off to get dry and warm. We ate dinner and went to circle early that day. Then we all went to sleep, but some of us were worried because the cliff face above us kept crumbling down and we were afraid it would fall on us.

          When I woke up the next day, I was refreshed and well rested and ready to get on the river, so I ate a quick breakfast to get there quickly. By 12:00, we were approaching the biggest rapid of the entire river segment we were traveling on, Government Rapid. Our tour guides stopped us just short of the rapid to scout it and then we went through one boat at a time; amazingly nobody flipped their boat over. The rest of the day, we were on pretty flat stretches of water, which we rafted down for about 10 more miles. Then we camped at an unremarkable campsite of flat sand, where we had an amazing dinner of black bean burgers and brownies. Then we did the circle exercise, but this time it was different, because we had received letters from our friends and family who were not on the trip about who they thought we really were, and what they liked about us. We each read one of our letters out loud to the group. I read a letter from my mom, which was about how she thought I was actually going to be a good person, which really touched me. The entire class thought about these letters as they went to sleep that night.

On the next day of our trip we were floating on flat water and nobody wanted to be in the small inflatable kayaks, because to keep up with the gear boats the people in the kayaks would have to paddle very hard to keep up, and it was very hot outside. We continued to float down the river for about 7 hours, in which we covered the remaining 7 miles to our final campsite on the river Grand Junction. This campsite was basically a 22 mile long canyon reserved for our personal use for this night. We arrived at this campsite a little bit early so that we would have time for an activity, which turned out to be “solos” where we went up into the canyon, found a spot we liked, and stayed there for an hour to write a letter to ourselves which would be sent to us in 3 months, and to read the rest of our letters from the previous night, which really made me happy to hear about people's true opinions of me. While I was on my solo I found a waterfall with two levels underground in little caverns formed by rock falls, which was an extremely beautiful sight. After all of this, my one hour solo was over and everyone went to sleep, after we had circle, of course.

          When I woke up the next day I had my head dangling off of the edge of a short cliff that went to the water and I got up quickly, because I did not want to fall in to the river. We set off onto the river late that day and floated for the remaining 3 miles of passable river until we got to the landing point at around noon, where we unloaded the boats and ate lunch. Then everyone got back into cars again and we drove for about 4 hours to a Native American reservation, where we camped for the night.

The next day of our trip started with COFFEE. Somehow the river guides had made coffee and the entire class was happy. Then we got into the cars again and went to tour some ancient Native American ruins with a guide leading us and another school group through the tour, which lasted about 5 hours and was pretty fun. Then we got into the cars yet again and went on a 3 hour drive to Deere Hill Expeditions Base Camp, where we took showers and put on clean clothes, then had our final circle.

            The next day we ate breakfast and filled out surveys, then went on a hike for an hour until parents came to pick us up and drive us home. This trip opened my eyes to the beauty of the world and what it means to be alive. From this trip I also took a newfound sense of peace about my life as I had been very depressed recently.


YouTube plugin error


Comments (3)

Aaron Warner said

at 11:26 am on Sep 10, 2010

It was very descriptive.

Kate Oubre said

at 3:36 pm on Sep 12, 2010


Make your paragraphs more identifiable. Double space in between and make sure they all have the same indentation at the beginning.

Leah Mann said

at 5:42 pm on Sep 21, 2010

I liked the theme of your story and how you were so detailed and honest. Maybe adding some dialogue might bring the experience in your story to life more. The video was good as well.

You don't have permission to comment on this page.