Well, I just got back from four days rafting on the Lower Salmon river in Idaho*. It's been a family tradition to do a rafting trip almost every year since I was just a youngin'. For all who're wondering, a rafting trip entails a few things: 
1.) Driving 7 hours to the middle of nowhere
2.) Blowing up a 14' raft, assembling its metal frame, placing all the storage boxes and bags, and strapping them down tight
3.) Floating down the river until you find a decent campsite (no water pump, no outhouse, basically a sandy beach big enough for a kitchen and tents)
4.) Cocktails
5.) More cocktails
6.) The next morning, packing everything back into the boat and floating down to find another camp site. 
Rinse, lather, repeat. 
It's nomadic, rough, and involves a lot of heavy lifting. But it's worth it, somehow. After the first night you give up trying to sweep sand from your sleeping bag and any bugs that get into your coffee are just added protein. 
Despite all of this, I did manage to get some good sketches done! 
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On our second camp we found lots of sun-bleached cow bones! Which later led to the anonymous question, "Why is there a giant mandible on the table?" Why indeed. 
Perched on a half-fallen tree, I drew a quick and dirty still life of a vertebrae on a rock. The rock is still my favorite part-- all those pockmarks and edges were really therapeutic to draw. The bone, on the other hand, was difficult and too abstract for my stiff and sun-burnt hands to render. But man, that rock. Mmm, mmm. Good stuff. 

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I took very careful notes on grasshoppers. Just for you.
The caption above reads, "The hoppers here are amazing. Any step you take in the bushes, near the rocks, by the trees, it's a wave of grasshoppers leaping from you. Feels like how Moses must have felt when parting the Red Sea... but with more bugs, I guess. Just as epic, though. " 
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Goofy bugs.
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On the trip, it is customary to bring your dog(s). The new dog of the trip, Rueger**, was dumb and loving, as most labs tend to be. But at least he sat nice and still for his portrait. Good boy. 
This was when we had to latch all of our rafts together and use the motor to propel ourselves down the river after the current slowed down. This is usually my favorite part of the trip. We can all relax, trade snacks, read our books, lounge on the boats, and in my case, draw animals. 


More to come on this post after I help my mother unload the truck. Woo. 

* Population: farmers and big horn sheep. Mostly sheep. 
** Yeah I don't know what kind of name that is, either. 
 


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