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Saying “Hi” from the Colorado River

I wonder what you are each thinking this trip will be about…

Did you come to be outdoors?

To have some kind of journey across the desert, maybe learn more about yourself?

To be around a group of new people, or to get away from something else in life?

Are you hungry to understand something deeper about these places, the people and animals that have called them home, the significance of water in the natural world?

“What will this trip really be about?” I also asked myself.

There are plenty of answers I could give. Hi, I’m Bradford, one of the instructors for the course. At this moment, I am minutes away from the drifting waters of the Colorado River; about a year ago, I was on the other side of the world, thinking I’d be spending most of 2020 around very different waters: the South Pacific, the Mekong, the Tonle Sap, the Kali Gandaki. I have spent years living outside of the US and coming back again.

The way people interact with place, the stories we tell about places, is one of my biggest passions.

Instead of staying in Asia last year, I came through ghost-like airports, flying back to North America. Since then, I have been living on the Western Slope of the Rockies, spending a lot of time outside in this vast natural area. The planet feels big here and people feel small, mountains become high-altitude deserts, and everything has been shaped by the rivers running off to the West and the South.

I was lucky enough to have the choice of where to be, and I chose here because of the landscape. The natural world makes me feel alive. The Southwest, the four corners region, the Colorado Plateau, the Colorado River Basin—somewhere in these ideas of place is my own idea of my favorite area on this continent.

Here in Grand Junction, named for the junction of two rivers, where I have been recently working in Public Health responding to COVID-19, I’m reminded almost daily of the water rushing down through this area and into nearby Utah.

I’m certain this course will be full of possibility. During this strange moment in history, the 15 of us traveling together will have the chance to make a lot of our circumstances as we follow some of the paths of the Colorado River.

In the end, the things in this course that we care about are the things that can change our lives. 15 strangers with a range of life experiences will come together and co-create this trip. I can’t wait.