Finally sun. An isolated canyon. A holiday weekend. A great idea: the river.
We snagged the last permit and planned it out swiftly. Ahoy. Meet the crew:
We covered 70 miles in three days (which, ahem, is an accomplishment) on Oregon’s John Day River. It’s a remote canyon land with craggy cliffs, abstract basalt formations, curving banks and solitude.
Sure, we might have managed to break an oar on the rapids (with a wedding ring lost in the man-overboard process). More minor: maybe my dry bag didn’t exactly keep stuff dry.
But we saw bighorn sheep! Background: Bighorns were gone from Oregon by the 1940s and small populations have since been reintroduced. About 35 herds now exist in Oregon, and I had never yet seen a wild bighorn here. Until now. Exciting. (Can you spy them?)
Beyond the wildlife — which also included spying bats, a golden eagle, a couple water snakes and my first pronghorn — we ate really, really well. Which is no surprise for this food-savvy crew. Pancakes. Homemade pesto. And even ice cream (wow dry ice!) with garden berry/rhubarb crisp. More:
(Naturally, as Portlanders, we even collected compost and kept our recycling separate.)
Anyhow, my two main contributions included my favorite corn salad, which I’m guaranteed to make all summer, and some oat maple scones that I added blueberries to. Both are from a Barefoot Contessa cookbook. (Thanks mom!)
And both are guaranteed to make happy rowers/paddlers.
Rating? 5 of 5 red plastic glasses of David’s super-strong cocktails. Given there were “I think I might be drunk” mutterings after just one of these concoctions, five servings ought to get you quite nicely hammered on a Wednesday. Enjoy.
And the recipes: