A family finds an elusive dimension beyond the Gates of Lodore.

At what point does a tradition become a tradition? I guess, like art, it is in the eye of the beholder. And from this viewer—a mother who has admittedly run herself ragged keeping up with long established holiday and family traditions—I believe we are on the verge of beginning a new family tradition. One in which the only thing “ragged” in it is the shoreline or the rough braille of cliff faces.

In a day we will push off for our family’s second river trip, this one on the Yampa. Like Christmas morning or an Easter Egg hunt, all of us are full of anticipation. On one hand, we know what to expect—good food and company, thrilling rides through rapids, the lullaby of the river while sleeping. On the other hand, these are new rapids, new guides, and a different river than last year. It is fun to know what to expect— a wrapped gift—but to not know what is inside of it, yet.

The river trip that began this tradition “River Time” has a lot to live up to. Let’s hope this ride down the Yampa for five days propels this tradition forward for yet another year to come. Although, one day I may be cursing it as I find myself stuffing a dry bag, unrolling a sleeping bag, and hanging on tight, cocooned in the body of an eighty-year-old, all the while keeping up with my grandchildren, who will only know that this is part of the culture of their family. Not a bad thing to pass on—the river “gene.”

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