Skagit River. Photo by Carson Yach
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Rivers: Rebuilding Relationships with the Natural World.

This is part 21 in the series: Graduate Natural History Projects

Love can defeat that nameless terror. Loving one another, we take the sting from death. Loving our mysterious blue planet, we resolve riddles and dissolve all enigmas in contingent bliss.”

– Edward Abbey, from Down the River

Rivers have been the source of connection between the natural world and myself since I was born. Growing up on two different rivers, the Spokane in Eastern Washington and the Clark Fork in Northern Idaho, I’ve learned to find lessons, knowledge, and fun from these massive moving bodies of water since I learned to walk, spending hours of my life exploring the shorelines playing in the willows along the cobble stone beaches building driftwood forts and trying my hardest to fish but normally catching only rocks and sticks. I learned how to steer a boat in the water before I learned to drive a car, which was a good thing as I was a much more confident swimmer than driver we soon come to find out.

When I graduated from undergraduate studies at Western Washington University instead of moving to the cities for a nice reliable job, I settled for living out of a tent in Alaska working weeks on end guiding people from across the country around clear lakes and down glacier-fed rivers fighting off raging hordes of flesh-eating mosquitos and telling over-glorified stories of grizzly bears to city folk.

Read More from “Rivers: Rebuilding Relationships with the Natural World.”