All of this has led to various thoughts. I have one recurring dream, very pleasant, that involves a pellet gun, heavy streamside vegetation to hide in, and that continuous stream of rafters floating downstream.
On the up side, and we might as well look for a silver lining, cause it isn't going to go way completely, most of them GFR's, as DC calls them, Goddamn Fucking Rafters, are just as clean in camping as we are, most of them have no interest in fishing, and really don't compete in that regard, and most of them love the river just as much as we do, and vote with us, and donate money with us, and generally have added to the weight of public appreciation that has kept the river undammed, flowing, clean, and fishable.
And there is one other thing. For the first nine years that I fished the river, before and into the beginning of the heavy surge in rafting, I had never encountered one. Then one day, while wading up a stretch of water, I had to wade through one of those backeddys that collects everything floating downstream. You know when you get into one because the silt is knee deep and limbs and twigs litter the bottom, and weeds grow to the surface. I saw the bottom of one bobbing on the surface. It's empty, just has a bubble in it, I thought to myself. I checked, and it wasn't. I put it in the back of my vest and finished the stretch and met my partner for the long, hot, dusty walk
downstream to camp. Don was wearing his 5mm neoprenes, drenched with sweat, and it was going to get a lot worse during the two miles back to camp.
"Wouldn't you just give anything for a cold beer right now", I asked?
"God, would I", he exclaimed. "Five bucks."
"Have you got five bucks on you", I asked?
Don looked at me. He knew I didn't drink, that we had no beer in camp, and we had't met up with any other groups.
"Have you got a beer?"
"River temperature, 55 degrees."
That was the beginning. My initial thought was that someone overturned, as this spot was just below Whitehorse rapids. While that might have been the reason, I think now there is a less sanguine phenomenon.
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