On the water: River ready

Anna Stonehouse
The Aspen Times
"Bernardus," the shredder floating down to Glenwood Springs last summer for live music in the park.
Anna Stonehouse/The Aspen Times |

Jeff and Kathy Stonehouse would bring their colicy “angry baby” to the river and she was instantly calmed and contented by the sounds of the rushing water and wind on her face. I happened to be said “angry baby.” As an adult, the sounds of moving water still do the trick to calm and soothe me when I’m upset, but I also think it’s because it reminds me of home and those moments with my parents.

Every season in Colorado I can honestly say I appreciate, but there is something about summertime in the mountains that’s really special. I have become literally obsessed with river life here and can’t seem to find those folks wanting to stretch the river season from early spring into fall. In true Colorado fashion my entire apartment has become my garage, with my kayak behind my couch, raft folded up at the foot of my bed, and stand-up paddleboard mounted on my bedroom wall.

I had my old trusty steed “Sylvester,” a ’91 Honda CR-V dialed in on transporting my shredder, “Bernardus.” I recently purchased a 4Runner known as “Larry” that I will now have to figure out how to strap my raft down appropriately on the roof and will have to learn the “flow” with this new shuttle. A waterproof speaker and overnight dry bag purchase also are on the list this season.

I have to say, not only has it been unfortunate having few and far between real powder days this winter but it also means river season won’t be as exciting as usual, as well. That being said, I couldn’t be more excited to get back out on the water. I’m planning to attend a river safety and rescue workshop over in Salida for noncommercial boaters in May to freshen up my boating skills before the river season really kicks off this year. Permits for overnight trips are already in the works for this summer and fall, as well.

I don’t really understand it when people aren’t as excited about getting out on the water as I am. I realize everyone has their own passions, but I truly love being on the river so much that I just want everyone to share that joy with me. I also take it for granted that I can read a river. My dad would make me drive our pontoon on the river back home and quizzed me what objects were in the river as we approached them. He’d say, “What’s that in the water up there?” I’d have to respond: sand bar; log; rock; nothing, that water is deep; or whatever it happened to be. I didn’t even realize I was taking that skill for granted as he was teaching me until I started whitewater kayaking a couple of summers ago with a friend and she had no clue how to decipher between waves and underwater objects.

My coworkers call me crazy wanting to get out on the water already and I don’t think I’ll ever understand them not understanding. I’m ready to hit the rivers and explore! Apparently this Sunday is supposed to be 46 degrees and sunny — where are my river people at?


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