A Weekend on the Eel River

Sunday morning sunrise, we awoke to birds chirping and the sound of the river. "Someone turn off that water." -Jeffery's first words of the day

eel river wildflowers


I haven't visited the Eel River in seven years. Not since high school, when as soon as the weather warms up in May, everyone piles into cars after school and drives the 25 miles towards Covelo. (Or if you're feeling rebellious you ditch after lunch. We only did that once, on Jeffery's 18th birthday, and I ended up serving detention—totally worth it.) But you never forget the mile marker numbers of the good spots. 

We had such a prime location, nested on a bed of sand in between a giant rock and the hillside. Perched over one of the deepest parts of the river where the swallows put on a show, swooping and diving for bugs that glowed at sunset. There was so much diversity, in the colors and textures of rock, in the wildflowers and butterflies, in the birdsong. The water was so cold it took your breath away, but it was the only relief from the hot sun and sand underfoot. We did our best to avoid dehydration, slathered on the sunscreen and hiked in eight gallons of water, but the [multiple] 12 packs of beer, and [multiple] bottles of champagne and wine combatted the water and we all had dry lips come Monday.

A weekend in the wilderness made me love my husband even more. He is such a man, gathering load after load of firewood, never complaining, making me laugh, all while looking adorable in a floppy sun hat. While on the river I had a bit of an epiphany about marriage. I am so glad to be in a place in our relationship where we no longer think in terms of "if." If we're going to be happy together, if we'll make enough money, if we'll make good parents. Now we can think in terms of "how." This is howe are going to do the things we want to do. This is how we are going to make each other happy. There's no wondering. We are going to make the life we want and we're going to do it together. 

And I have such good friends. Josh and Katie may be the only two people I could spend ten hours in a jam packed car and 40+ hours in the woods with and not want to to hide under a rock. For never having camped in California as adults, we were pretty well prepared. Biodegradable soap and all. We skipped a lot of rocks, grilled steaks in a cast iron directly on the campfire, ate bacon and eggs and had coffee for breakfast, and turkey sandwiches for lunch. Directly across the river are railroad tracks, and I knew that if I got up there I could get the best shot. So with my camera double bagged, Katie and I waded through the rapids and I got the shot (the diptych with the red Indian Paintbrush). All of these images were shot with my fixed 50mm lens. This trip reaffirmed that I need a wider angle lens, so I just ordered this one, and it arrives Tuesday. Just in time for a Grass Valley wedding next weekend with more of our favorite people. 

Hello summer. And happy 28th birthday to my darling husband, I love you. Here's to another decade.