Saturday, December 31, 2016

The Eagle River - Absolute Freedom

Eagle River at Edwards, Colorado

Emerging out of the lofty Continental Divide, the Eagle River descends freely from the remote rooftop of the Rockies. There are no dams to impede its progress so the wild waterway rushes uninterrupted through Vail Valley’s western slope.

Early Native Americans observed that it had more tributaries than an Eagle has feathers, which is how the river got its appealing name. During the Eagle’s 60 mile journey to its confluence with the Colorado, as the number of tributaries increases so does the river’s size and speed.

I encountered the Eagle River at Edwards, Colorado the morning after a terrific snowstorm. Still dark and blurry under the cover of dense clouds, the vigorous creek wound its way into a black forest of frosted pine trees.

Treading lightly along the frozen riverbank, the thin ice cracked ominously with every footfall. During the dead of winter, the river runs at its shallowest so the rough edges of exposed boulders were softened by caps of fresh snow.

Blanketed in black and white, the Christmas Card setting was therapeutically serene. Just like its namesake nesting in the steep cliffs above, the Eagle River spreads its wings and glides quietly through the landscape, evoking feelings of absolute freedom.

A wild waterway

Vail Valley

After a terrific snowstorm

Under dense cloud cover

Winding through a black forest

The river is at its shallowest

Exposed boulders softened by snow

A Christmas card setting

Therapeutically serene

Gliding quietly

Absolute freedom

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