Day 85. Dusty river

After spending the night in San Luis Rio Colorado, I hike a stretch of the dried out riverbed. I have seen pictures of what it looked like when the Pulse Flow of 2014 led some water through it and it was an entirely different world. Back then, kids were playing in the blue water and the insane amount of trash in the area had been cleaned up by residents welcoming the river back.

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Day 84. Paddling along the US-Mexican border

As Juan Butron takes us to the place where we will put in, below Morelos Dam, he tells us all the stories of what he has seen and experienced, when he was paddling along this section of the Colorado River, which meanders back and forth between Mexico and the US, along the border. For the first time on this trip I am getting nervous, as the stories all include violence and danger. Like one time when Juan went down on a science trip, collecting data with a his colleague Osvel. Mexican cops stopped them and he was held at gunpoint, while they were shouting at Osvel to put his hands up. But Osvel was holding the laptop with all the precious data, that would have fallen in the water, had he let go…

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Day 83. A river in conflict

Having seen what the situation at the border is like, I am still sort of confused about how to go about this next stretch, that meanders along the borderline. My only option to stay right on the “river” from the start, is to “illegally” cross the border time and again, and to launch at a spot, that is very hard to reach without a car, right below Morales Dam on the US side. That does not sound very tempting.

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Day 82. Resting

I am at the library again. Libraries have proved to be a great place of refuge on this trip. Books and focused silence create a good atmosphere to calm me down. Following my self created steps the other day, that I can now humorously look back upon, I have found some good places in Yuma, and am beginning to feel a little better.

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Day 79. Imperial shock

I suddenly start sobbing. „No way, this can’t be… is this? Really? No way!“ I keep repeating words like that over and over again. I am sitting in my packraft, looking down past the crest of Imperial Dam. Below, there is a little green lake, and then a small creek exiting it shyly in between some high reeds. The Colorado River? Really? The same river that has washed me through raging rapids in Grand Canyon only a few weeks ago?

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Day 77. My sandy beach in the desert

I start early and paddle steady. I reach my camp at around noon and then I enjoy the entire afternoon on my own little private sandy beach in the desert. The water down here seems clean and nice again and I dip into it over and over again. It is a great and relaxing afternoon. The Pichacho area is wild and quiet, something I did not expect to get again down here, so I enjoy it all the more. At night I awake to burrows groaning very near my tent. I actually get out to grab my paddle, that is still down by the water, in case I will have to fight them off. Of course, in the morning this seems funny to me, but that’s what nighttime sounds to you sometimes…

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Day 76. Too much sun

Started at 6:15. Late but with a real coffee (thanks to Lori). I paddle through sort of dirty water and there is lots of trash on the riversides, but otherwise it is nice and quiet. I take a lunch break with a nap on a sandy beach on the Arizona side, but leave soon as I am afraid to be trespassing on angry farmers land (I have heard they shoot sometimes). The sun is strong and I am getting very tired, staying groggy pretty much all day and not wanting to get into the water, where I can see all the outlets of wastewater from the farmland flowing in every other mile.

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