Winter seems to put a damper on many traditionally summer-time enjoyed outdoors activities. Dutch Oven Cooking is one such activity. Though many of us do cook throughout the year. Perhaps on the Patio or in the shelter of an open garage? Others do not let anything get them down.
I get a personal annual invite to join in with about 30 other friends and acquaintances to make a 3 day Kayak/Canoe/Dory adventure that takes place the month of January. This is not one of my own organized events. This takes place on the lower Colorado River. Somewhere roughly in an area between Blythe California, and Yuma Arizona.
It is enjoyable to be a participant rather being than the person attending to the details. My many thanks to the person that puts this all together….and you know who you are! I would really like to put a plug in for the organizer of all this fun, but I am not sure all the details can go public?
You have to be a special breed to enjoy such an adventure. It can be cold. Almost guaranteed to have cold nights. Easily dropping in the twenty degree Fahrenheit range. Some years the days are delightfully warm. Other years its hard to squeeze 40°F out of the daytime highs. Winds can be unpredictable and brutal trying to paddle the miles to the take out point.
This is a lonely and for the most part, a very desolate stretch of country. Even 4-wheel drive type roads can be many miles away. So once you commit, you are pretty much on your own for 3 days. But the water, the waterfowl, birds of prey, and the reed lined banks of the river, pass by at such and enjoyable pace. It allows you to slow down and decompress from the stress we call the “normal” today.
It is definitely not all about the paddling, or enjoying the Colorado River. Or all the beauty nature offers along the way. Interestingly enough the river in this area is pretty much as it has always been. There are some additions a lifetime ago, perhaps several lifetimes ago, You can explore several old miners shacks up on the banks, and an old mining area/town that once was.
Cast Iron Dutch ovens are hauled along in any fashion that works. There is warm food, and warm friendship around the campfire. One evening is set aside for a “Trash Can” cooked turkey. That evenings feast comes with all the fixings. Foil-packed veggies and potatoes, are fire roasted in the coals. All the goodies a laid out Thanksgiving spread would have.
Often the campfire evening is enjoyed around the fire with someone picking a guitar, and all of us become the best singers you ever heard. Though I am not sure why that good singing gets the coyotes howling….hmmm.
The morning sunrises will knock your socks off. Though your thoughts might focus more on enjoying the warmth of your sleeping bag. The sunrises are something to have you jumping up for. Just put on the coffee and enjoy God’s gift as it unfolds in front of you. On a brisk morning the warming rays of the sun on your face is better than perhaps that cup of coffee. Having them both from the comfort of a folding camp chair, while the birds start singing….well it just doesn’t get much better than that!
Please check back for the follow-up article on the January 2016 trip. We will talk about some of the highlights and new memories created in 2016