The Canyon

When my dad introduced me to “the canyon” — a deep chasm through which the river flows between steep walls maybe 200 feet or more in height — he often brought along an old Harrington & Richardson .22-caliber 9-shot double-action revolver, the only sidearm he owned. My rare visits in the years after his passing typically included something a bit more potent because if one runs into trouble down there, help is not coming.

The centerpiece of this magic place is a moss-covered waterfall, at the bottom of which is something of a wide “stair step” leading down to a big pool. I’ve used this as a backdrop for product review photos and it is magnificent. Over the years, others have found it and reacted as though they’d discovered the place. But my footprints preceded theirs by decades, and the ghosts of my dad, uncle and grandfather come here occasionally.

My brother spent a night down in the canyon on a rocky sandbar. He wasn’t hurt, he just wanted some separation from campers up above.
This canyon runs for about a mile and there are game trails coming down both walls. Once in my youth I started up one of these trails and spotted a fresh cougar track, which ended my curiosity about where the trail went. Hence, a .357 Magnum, long-barreled Ruger single action in .45 Colt or a Blackhawk in .41 Magnum just made sense.

Handguns carried on hips or even in shoulder or chest rigs are hardly unusual off the pavement, at least to anybody from around here.