Packs are carried down the cliff from the mesa-top cabins to the river’s edge. When the waters are low and slow enough we hoist the packs above our heads and carefully feel for soft spots and holes so that nothing we’re carrying gets soaked and ruined. By the time the river reaches up to our crotches, it is often moving too swiftly to stay upright, and we opt instead to ferry the pack across in our inflatable kayak.
Fording the San Francisco River, NM, with conference supplies.
Crossing the river seems like the easy part once we start up the mountain to the van, a steep mile long climb on a narrow deer trail through the ponderosas. The view, however, is spectacular, witnessing the mists from the rain soaked canyon rising in spectral clouds that glint with all the colors of the rainbow as the sun reflects on their drifting particles. From the top, we can see miles in several directions. From one short stretch the road we can even see the tiny cabins of Anima Sanctuary far below, appearing not isolated but nested, insulated, protected by the vast forested wilderness we can see surrounding it and the winding river that seems to serve as a moat holding at bay any forces of destruction.
Anima Wilderness Sanctuary – AnimaCenter.org
The above shot is from the sacred cliffs downriver from the Sanctuary which can be seen below the Gila Wildlands lettering. The retreats and workshops are not currently being offered, so busy are we with our books, magazine and events.
The next photo below is taken of the seventh crossing (counted from the nearest vehicle access the mouth of the canyon).
Our county and the feds have argued about whether or not this should be called a “road.” You decide.
Herbalist and friend Juliet Blankespoor visited us with her husband and daughter shortly before the last rising of the river, and soon we’ve been expecting a visit from Rhiannon’s dear pen pal Caille from North Carolina. She will hopefully be staying with Rhiannon while Kiva and I are at the conference, having the kinds of magical experiences that this place provides… and that young’ns are often best at opening up to.
As always, any difficulties that come this homesteading lifestyle seem like a small price to pay for living the finite days of our lives in the lap of the real and natural world that is our home, our teacher, our context and inspiration. We’ll love bringing the incredible Herbal Resurgence Rendezvous to the wild folk healer tribe, but we’ll sure miss this sacred enlivened canyon while we’re gone.
Wild blessings to you all, from Kiva, myself and our family.