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Blue Sky

Scaring Ourselves At High Altitudes: Everyday Magic, Day 708

Updated: Sep 29, 2023


The other rafts twice the number of people on them as ours with only Ken, Forest, our nephew Andrew, me and our guide. “Will that make it easier?” I asked her, wondering also if the water being so high would help us avoid big rocks. Actually, a light boat and high water equal speed on steroids, and it wasn’t until after the trip that she confided to us, “I didn’t want to scare you guys, but I’ve never seen the Arkansas [river] higher than today.” She didn’t need to scare us, especially when I flew out of the boat only to land back in, paddling like a

I also faced vivid images of another kind of danger when horseback riding through three climates: high desert, aspen forest, and alpine-ish field. Three different habitats means big changes in altitude, which means leaning forward while going up a steep path through the trees, praying my lovely horse, Wonder Pony, didn’t slip. Even more heart-race-inducing was going down what felt like a vertical path. “Do the horses ever lose their footing and slide down the mountain?” I asked my guide. No, she told me, unless there’s a lot of mud. I looked down at the wet dirt, leaned way back and pressed my knees in as hard as I could (just as my guide told me to do) and prayed. By the time I got off the horse I could hardly stand up and could only walk cow-girl-bow-legged. But none of that mattered because I was ecstatic. Survival can do that to a person.


Now that I’m back in Kansas, I face our local dangers: chiggers, ticks, hail, humidity and state politics, as daunting as white-water and high altitudes but not quite as enticing, but that’s what vacations are for.

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