White Water Walking

Why would anyone want to walk up stream in a clear-water mountain stream? You know, like a salmon swimming against the current.

Because I can. Because in the remote Colorado San Juan Valley, the nearest pool is over an hour away. And this “fish” must have a regular water fix.

The first few weeks at Redcloud Family Ranch, I waded in the irrigation ditch. Cold water but invigorating. Then as we drove across the North Fork of the Gunnison River I had an “ah-ha” thought. Wade here.


Thus began my white water walking. About three times a week I stepped into the 60-68 degree clear water. Below the bridge I started with ankle-deep water keeping close to the bank. My new hips struggled with the short distance but felt stronger from the exercise.

However, as I learned to dress (plastic bags under wool socks and an extra layer on my legs) warmer, I could go deeper longer — a whole 12 minutes. Deeper was mid-thigh. Ah.

As the summer progressed and the depth diminished, I took to the up side of the bridge. There white water was more than my feet plunging into the water. Varying sizes of round rocks challenged my balance. Falling into the water wasn’t my fear. Falling and hitting my new hips on rocks frightened me. That’s why I used ski poles. Now I had upper body and lower body workout.

A friend loaned me his waders. Hey, I could walk up stream for 45 minutes before my strength was gone. The cold temperature either of water or air didn’t bother me. When on land doing other tasks, I yearningly looked toward the flowing water.

When I searched on the internet, I didn’t find any other references to +white water walking. Have you, reader, done it?

 

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