The Rio Grande river is running high and fast with a bigger than normal snow pack this last winter. It is July and there are still big rocks in the middle of the river that you still can’t see the tops of.
Along the river’s edges, rafters have parked their vehicles in turn off’s, pulled on orange life preservers, boarded inflated rubber rafts and edged into the cold water, eight to ten people a raft going for a bumpy joy ride down stream..
For several miles their hired river guides maneuver them safely through the white water, and the rafters, excited after the trip, have an experience to talk about for years.
This area used to have hard rock miners leading their donkey’s into wild canyons drinking from this same river where they would start a hole high up in the side of a mountain and throw their diggings down hillsides behind them like burrowing animals. On Saturday night the prospector’s would clean up, a much as they could, and go into Creede to gamble, chase women, fight, and brag about their prospects. Riding the river would have been seen as something only crazy people would do.
The rafts, passing me as I pull my car off the road to watch their procession, hug the middle of the river where the water is deepest and the rapids are most challenging.
Riding rapids is what we are all doing these days in our Excited States of America..
I can hear excited voices as the river riders bounce up and down inside their rafts like a bunch of old west bronco busters.
These river guides are making more money than those hard rock miners ever dreamed of making.
It only takes a few crazy people to change an entire group’s mindset.