Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Watering Holes of the West
Been gone for almost a week, first to boring old new Las Vegas, the massively ridiculous entertainment mega-complex, surrounded to the horizons by water-gobbling mile-upon-mile housing developments and trailer parks. The sin-in-the-sun city is seriously not meant for walking, the tram system is a private-ownership joke, the 100-degree heat is oppressive, and the casinos all look and scream alike. But other than that, we had a fine time (nice dinner at a French restaurant called Alize), as we prepared for the real reason we were there--to take a late-season rafting trip down the Colorado River through the lower Grand Canyon.
For that happier event, we flew on by small plane for some hijinx at the Bar 10 working ranch, and then helicoptered down into the Canyon (a swooping, suitably exhilirating ride) to waiting pontoon craft, for two days plus on the river. As we drifted along, shooting a few rapids, I thought about ranching and cowboys, water rights and Native Americans, and the countless millennia of visible geology--the history of the West in other words--all of which tied in just fine with a blog post that's coming soon.
From that Comanche station near a bend of the river, the man from Laramie took out his Winchester 73 for a decision at sundown... Say what?
Yes, I'm talking Fifties Westerns starring Jimmy Stewart and Randolph Scott... next time.