Observational Essay on Cedar River
Essay Preview: Observational Essay on Cedar River
Report this essay
Cedar River Abstract:Sutliff Bridge and Tavern is a very popular place that sits along the Cedar River just outside of Solon, Iowa. Sutliff is one of the very few places along the Cedar that has it’s own public boat ramp that embarks you into the adventurous river. My friend Kelli Vaughan as well as fifteen others including myself, all gathered to go canoeing/kayaking to help celebrate Connie Vaughan’s 80th birthday. Canoeing on the Cedar RiverWhile Kelli and I were unloading our canoe from the trailer, many of our group members were racing back and forth to get their supplies loaded into their vessels and some even yelling from a distance to have their partner grab items they forgot in the vehicles. The process of everyone entering the water in his or her canoe/kayak was very interesting; I could tell that some of the group members had never participated in such an event. People were struggling to stay balanced while in the water, holding their arms straight out as if they were trying to balance on a beam. Once in the raft some people could not even push off from the boat ramp into the water; instead, they rocked themselves back and forth until they got a push from someone on land. My partner and I were the last couple to embark into the dangerous waters; once we were situated, the gravitational force was now focused on the center of our canoe instead of our own two feet. The slightest movement would cause the canoe to tip from side to side, making the correspondence between my partner and I more crucial to the success of keeping our canoe afloat. This time of year the river was exceptionally low but the current remained steady and powerful. The brown murky water showed you the layout of the riverbed with every ripple across the plane of the river. With deeper depths the horizon of the water became flatter, darker, and sleeker like a flat piece of ice. While in more shallow areas the water’s horizon became lighter and harsher, the ripples became steeper as they hit the uneven bed of sand making the water look like rough sandpaper. As each ripple in the water hit the canoe, it made a “slapping” sound sending even more ripples back out to the open water from whence it came. The half submerged trees no longer had a rough texture to their bark; the bark was now smooth from the years of decay and erosion of sitting in the constant force of the current. Remnants of branches, grass and mud from upriver hung from the higher parts of the trees that were no longer in the water. As the water hit each tree, it made a roaring sound as it was diverted around each obstacle, the bigger the stationary object was the louder the roaring sound it made.
The wind had made it very hard to communicate with anyone other than your partner. With every twist and turn of the river, the powerful gusting wind hit us at a different direction. Most of the time the wind was coming straight at us making it even more difficult to paddle, even though we were traveling downstream it seemed that we were trying to go upstream. I noticed that each time the wind picked up, everyone bent their torso’s down in a way to be more aerodynamic, whether this helped or not no one really seemed to question the idea. Realizing and now understanding the challenge it was for many from before my time, this was the only efficient way to travel years ago. Mother nature was such a beautiful sight yet at the same time she was making our experience even more difficult than before. When the wind had deceased the river and land around us was full of life, fish swimming to the surface looking for food or just mere curiosity. Catfish were constantly approaching the surface; within a matter of seconds, they would belly role and vanish back towards the bottom of the murky river. I could tell when it was a catfish each time because the force of belly roll would drag the brown water down often times with pale white fish and would leave a distinct funnel in the water. Carp would come to the surface where the foam collected from the constant turning of the water; you could hear the suction from the fish trying to collect as much of the dirty river foam as possible. Turtles and snakes were often lying upon flat rocks or tree trunks near the water collecting sun. We could only get a few feet away before they catapulted back into the safety of the cloudy water. Often I would see what looked to be a small stick floating in the water, but came to find that it was a turtle or snake popping their cone shaped heads out of the water to scope out any threats in the area. Geese were not only bathing along the light golden sandbars but also flying overhead in “V” formation headed to their unknown destination. Nature had always intrigued me, which caused me to question why so many people do not have the slightest clue of the existence of such a magical aura. All of these interactions were occurring around me, what drove such a force, what made every creature and organism act the way they did? I was so deep in thought I forgot about the group I was traveling with; they had probably thought I was not enjoying our trip. Little did they know my mind was in a place most people did not even care to consider. This troubled me for majority of the adventurous trip, why was I the only one who seemed to take interest in the beauty of nature? There was no real answer to the question, the only reason that passed through my consciousness related to each individual’s past and atmosphere. I grew up on the Cedar River and witnessed the unpredicted forces that occurred within and outside her forever-winding banks. That had given me a sense of respect toward Mother Nature: while most people (such as this group) took this opportunity for granted, not by choice but by a lack of the opportunities I experienced in my past.