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The Gearboat Chronicles

Take you to our leader? Hold on, Morgan’s right over here…

If you’ve been rafting with us you may have been lucky enough to catch Morgan in an expansive mood. Now and then he’ll really get going on a subject and fill you in with all sorts of interesting detail. By “now and then” I mean when he’s awake.

I’ve heard him tell of UFO sightings around the Imnaha canyons. Sasquatch encounters in the Wenaha. Hells Canyon hauntings and Grande Ronde ghosts guarding their homesteads. And if you haven’t screamed on the banks of the Salmon River after listening to the saga of Skeleton Bob, well then you have yet to hear a proper ghost story.

Campfires on the beach after a day of rafting are hard to beat for tales of the unknown. But I’ve been spending some time in Sedona, Arizona, and you don’t even need a campfire here. Strange stories here aren’t even strange. The whole town is.

Sedona is known for its power spots and vortexes, where the earth’s magnetic fields rise and converge to create unusually high concentrations of souvenir stands, casting visible auras of t-shirts, refrigerator magnets, bumper stickers and cheap jewelry.

Damien Seuss, one of our rafting buddies who now lives in Flagstaff, comes down here to Sedona on climbing trips. He told me about his favorite camping spot, and how they usually have it all to themselves. Except one time, when he arrived to find the area jammed with vehicles. He asked someone what was going on and they answered, “Aren’t you here for the UFO landing? They’re coming tonight. Right here.”

Damien’s putting in for a permit on the Middle Fork of the Salmon. I might just try to sneak on that voyage if his permit comes through. And Sam has a Grand Canyon float trip coming up next month, with 18 days on the river.

It’s gratifying to hear talk of looking forward to river trips, and here it is early December. I’m also looking forward to rafting season, and once we’re around that campfire I’ve got some stories from Sedona that will make your souvenirs stand on end.